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Thread: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

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    MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    In general only one team each season, heads home from their last game fully satisfied with their body of work over the last two-thirds of the year, the one carrying the national championship trophy. For the rest of the current 60 D-I hockey teams, their season ends with a meaningless win outside of any playoff picture or with a bitter loss leaving everyone feeling a bit empty and thinking "What if..." For the Michigan Tech Huskies, the 2016-17 season ended much like it did in 2015 with a first round loss in the NCAA tourney. Tech faced a tall order taking on the #1 team in the country at the time and a team that might end up being the national champion if the media knows anything about hockey.

    Over Pearson's first three seasons he posted a 43-58-15 record playing the hand he was dealt by the previous coaching staff. Not exactly anything to get excited about for most teams, but for Huskies fans those three season followed a three year span where Tech posted only 15 wins on their way to a 15-85-12 record. Pearson not only brought excitement back to the JMSIA in those first few years but also started adding notable wins such as a GLI title, a birth in the Final Five and the first two of five consecutive Winter Carnival series victories.

    In the three most recent campaigns, Pearson's Huskies have gone 75-34-14 and raised the bar even higher. Highlighted by two NCAA tourney appearances, a #1 national ranking, a WCHA regular season title and a WCHA playoff title, Mel put Tech back in the national spotlight. The Huskies are now poised to give next year's seniors the chance to be the first class to leave campus with 100 wins since 1978 if they can put together a 25 win season. (Tech's last four-year span of 20+ win seasons was 1972-1976 which included their 1975 national championship.)

    So now we embark on 5-months of speculation and looking forward to the puck being dropped again for the black and gold. In my opinion, the rumors of Pearson returning to Michigan, or going anywhere other than into retirement when he leaves the Huskies, are greatly overblown and simply wishful thinking by those in Ann Arbor. I see a coach that is doing a fantastic job rebuilding his alma mater with the overwhelming support of the university administration and is very happy doing so.

    Tech will have big skates to fill again this off season as a very large and talented senior class departs Houghton. The Huskies will hope to build the team from the net out, based on goaltending play which hopefully can improve on the mid-season form showed by Angus. Even if Tech struggles out of the gate next season, Huskies fans will only have to remember back to this season to know that even a team who starts 1-5-2 can make the NCAA tourney.

    Bring on season #97! Go Huskies! Go Tech!
    Ryan J

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Well said. It will be fun to see the new guys in the fall. If they are as good as last year's freshmen, the team should be better overall. The D will be solid. I think Sturos will be hard to replace, he really developed well and was a true leader this past year. Heinonen wasn't quite the same after the shoulder injury but also brought a lot of heart to this team... I still think L'Esperance can be a monster and go on to the NHL, hope he can just finish those shots a little more often. Looking forward to good things.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Well here's some subjects to discuss. Do we have a couple of scorers coming in.? Can we replace the great defensemen from this year. ?
    Will we have any defections.? I'm guessing we will.
    What areas do we need to improve on for next year? Face-offs, penalty kill, pp, coming out of the zone under under an aggressive forecheck? we really struggled with that imho.
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Next most pressing issue is the status of Matt Roy. Will the Kings come with an offer, or will he wait one more year before making the jump? Having four experienced defensemen back would be a big plus.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Who will be our captains next year? Just going by player interviews, none of next year's upperclassmen seem to project the confidence/determination of a leader. Then again, I would have said the same thing of Cliff Watson and Mike Neville last year, but they definitely stepped up. Watson in particular was starting to remind me of Brett Olson.

    I'll say Joel L'Esperance for captain, and Matt Roy and Jake Lucchini for alternates. If Roy leaves (don't!), Dane Birks.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Personally I'll miss Sturos the most. He's not flashy, and he is NOT graceful, but he was an incredibly hard worker. I don't know how many times he went in alone on a line change and caused turnovers that led to goals. I'll miss all the guys but you can't replace that kind of character. Kudos to #7!

    Gould week be a threat until someone puts him on a stretcher. He took a lot of abuse this year. Steman and Jackson both have great speed. I don't know who is faster but they create a lot of open ice. L'Esperance will be a beast. He is going to explode offensively. Lucchini will be dazzling with his hands, chirping every shift, and maybe losing more teeth. Smith was a pleasant surprise. We have some offense, just need to find the right combo and a spark. The D should be fine with Roy in charge. Beef needs to stop leaving the crease playing pucks.

    I think we'll be stronger next year. Waiting really sucks.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by manurespreader View Post
    Do we have a couple of scorers coming in.?
    Probably yes, but who knows who they are? I had zero expectations for Alex Smith given that he came out of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, but he put up 20 points. I have to think Jack Becker is most likely to have an impact. Marcus Russell next, just because he worked his way up to the USHL.

    Quote Originally Posted by manurespreader View Post
    Can we replace the great defensemen from this year. ?
    Doubtful, but with as many as eight coming in, a couple of them should rise up. My guess is Jake Gingell and Cooper Watson.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Another issue to me is blocking shots. We are not good at it. BU, now they could teach us a few things.
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Our two most immediate concerns should be whether or not we still have a coaching staff by this time next month, and whether or not Roy foregoes his senior year (I predict this will depend heavily on the former). Shawhan will undoubtedly apply for the NMU job, and if Red really does hang up the whiteboard, I would peg Mel leaving for Michigan at 60 / 40 (stay / go) until further notice.
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
    Our two most immediate concerns should be whether or not we still have a coaching staff by this time next month, and whether or not Roy foregoes his senior year (I predict this will depend heavily on the former). Shawhan will undoubtedly apply for the NMU job, and if Red really does hang up the whiteboard, I would peg Mel leaving for Michigan at 60 / 40 (stay / go) until further notice.
    Roy's not the only one I'd wager.
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by redwing61 View Post
    Who will be our captains next year?... I'll say Joel L'Esperance for captain, and Matt Roy and Jake Lucchini for alternates.
    I think for Joel's own good, you don't want him wearing a letter. I feel like a lot of expectation was heaped on him this year and he didn't rise to the level fans thought he might. Wearing a "C" or an "A" next year would only add to that pressure in my opinion. Let him lead with his play on the ice and don't put any more pressure on him to lead in other ways. Now if he comes out of the gate smoking and finds another level, sure throw an "A" on at Christmas break. Besides, the guys in the room know who their leaders are without looking at the front of their jerseys.

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
    Our two most immediate concerns should be whether or not we still have a coaching staff by this time next month, I would peg Mel leaving for Michigan at 60 / 40 (stay / go) until further notice.
    Nothing against FtB&G's opinion (as it is shared by many others as well) but I seriously don't see what is going to get Mel out of Houghton at this point. In the first couple years, maybe there was a threat because he didn't have the roots down in Houghton, and only had moderate success, but we do remember he is a MICHIGAN TECH ALUM, right? In the last three seasons he brought Tech a WCHA title two different ways and two NCAA tourney births. The year in the middle they didn't go to the tourney they had NINE losses. If the WCHA had been even average in non-conference that year, Tech would have been making their third straight tourney appearance this season. Pretty much everything the Huskies achieve now is something that hasn't been done in 10, 20, 30, 40 years, or more.

    I would really be interested to hear 4 or 5 good reasons why Mel would leave Tech after six seasons to go back to Michigan. I just don't see it at this point (other than retirement). Oh, and I'm eliminating salary from one of the things you can list. Yes, I'm sure Michigan can pay him more, but what is that salary worth in Ann Arbor? In my opinion, you have to pay him 30% more just to have the same value to what he is getting paid in Houghton. $250,000 goes a LOT farther in Houghton than it does in AA. When it comes to quality of life, I don't think there is any comparison between the two campus locations unless you really want to live in a big city.

    Short of winning two national championships in the first five seasons, whoever replaces Red will be viewed as a failure. Following a legend sucks, plain and simple. Unless you are twice as successful as they were you will regarded as a failure. You will be expected to exceed what came before you, even if the last great season was 20 years ago as the case is with Michigan. It was ok for Red to go 20 years without another championship because he is the legend. If the next person doesn't win one in five, they will be fired.

    In Houghton, Mel is already a hero and the 2nd best ever at Tech in the eyes of most. He is winning. He has the backing of the administration and he will get a very long leash even if things take a down turn for a couple years. He is leading the #1 sports program on campus and some might argue the premier program of any type in the Houghton / Hancock metroplex. At Michigan you might hope to be the 4th most important sports program on your own campus. Maybe I'm wrong and someone will convince me why I have reason to worry about Pearson leaving, but today I don't see it.

    Ryan J
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Mel has his pick of college coaching jobs at this point and has for a while. Without making a prediction, if he's still in Houghton next fall it will be a nice boost for our recruitment because those fears will be permanently put aside. (Assuming all the talk about Red is true). It will be fun to watch who ends up at NMU, Mich, MSU etc

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    If I were in Mel's shoes, I would be asking myself three fundamental questions. And really, these are the sort of questions everyone should be asking themselves when they're debating a job change.

    1. Have I accomplished at Tech, the goals I set out to accomplish when I took in the job in 2011? Same goes for any overall career goals that are not dependent on my current employer.

    2. Do I see myself accomplishing any additional goals with the current level of support from my superiors? Do other opportunities on the table potentially support those goals better?

    3. Everything else being equal, and ignoring any compensation differences, where do I sense would I rather be?

    How he answers those questions, is anyone's guess.
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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by FadeToBlack&Gold View Post
    1. Have I accomplished at Tech, the goals I set out to accomplish when I took in the job in 2011?
    2A. Do I see myself accomplishing any additional goals with the current level of support from my superiors?
    2B. Do other opportunities on the table potentially support those goals better?
    3. Everything else being equal, and ignoring any compensation differences, where do I sense would I rather be?
    1. No - I believe Mel thinks he can win a National Championship at Tech.
    2A. Yes - I feel Glen and Suzanne are firmly behind Mel. I've seen Glen at pretty much every major hockey event. Glen knows a winning hockey team is a great ambassador and free advertising for Tech. As for part B of the question, could Mel win a National Championship easier by taking another job? Likely yes, but not at any of the schools that are currently available (and I'm including Michigan in that list). And even if he did, would it mean as much to him as winning one at Tech? Michigan hockey will always be the red-headed step child to football and basketball on that campus. And when it comes to part A of this question, Tech is the choice hands down in that regard.
    3. If you have seen any of Mel's Tweets about fishing, sauna, driving a front end loader to clear snow, the connection to the community, etc then I again feel his answer is Houghton.

    Further on 2A, yes, he can go to other programs that might give him a better chance to win. I won't dispute that fact. Some programs have an easier time recruiting (grade requirements, big city life, winning tradition, another conference, etc) and having Mel coaching that team would only make it easier. However when you go to those programs the bar will be set at the level of "Win a championship or you're gone..." I feel Mel could put up another 10 years of just 20+ wins seasons with a few key wins sprinkled in (win an in-season tourney, beat some top 5 ranked teams, win the WCHA a couple times, etc) without winning the big one and no one is going to pressure him to leave. He took the program from a dumpster fire on ice to a national contending program. After what Tech has been through since MacInnes left, who isn't going to be happy with contending for a conference title almost every year, getting to the NCAA tourney every couple seasons and generally winning more than we lose?

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    I hope Mel is happy in Houghton and sticks around, but related to a nation championship, if the WCHA is routinely going to be a one bid league, it's got to be a little frustrating that to just get a chance at the tournament you have to go out and win the WCHA playoffs.

    Steman coming back will certainly help next year. Will be interesting to see if Baltus can come back for another year.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonsJerseys View Post
    1. No - I believe Mel thinks he can win a National Championship at Tech.
    2A. Yes - I feel Glen and Suzanne are firmly behind Mel. I've seen Glen at pretty much every major hockey event. Glen knows a winning hockey team is a great ambassador and free advertising for Tech. As for part B of the question, could Mel win a National Championship easier by taking another job? Likely yes, but not at any of the schools that are currently available (and I'm including Michigan in that list). And even if he did, would it mean as much to him as winning one at Tech? Michigan hockey will always be the red-headed step child to football and basketball on that campus. And when it comes to part A of this question, Tech is the choice hands down in that regard.
    3. If you have seen any of Mel's Tweets about fishing, sauna, driving a front end loader to clear snow, the connection to the community, etc then I again feel his answer is Houghton.

    Further on 2A, yes, he can go to other programs that might give him a better chance to win. I won't dispute that fact. Some programs have an easier time recruiting (grade requirements, big city life, winning tradition, another conference, etc) and having Mel coaching that team would only make it easier. However when you go to those programs the bar will be set at the level of "Win a championship or you're gone..." I feel Mel could put up another 10 years of just 20+ wins seasons with a few key wins sprinkled in (win an in-season tourney, beat some top 5 ranked teams, win the WCHA a couple times, etc) without winning the big one and no one is going to pressure him to leave. He took the program from a dumpster fire on ice to a national contending program. After what Tech has been through since MacInnes left, who isn't going to be happy with contending for a conference title almost every year, getting to the NCAA tourney every couple seasons and generally winning more than we lose?

    Ryan
    JJ while I applaud your enthusiasm, you don't have the whole picture. So my advice would be to pipe down for a while on this subject and just wait and see what happens.
    I do agree we will get more and better recruits once this is put to rest.
    We also know just where we are as a program and what level we need to get to in order to win. I don't think we can match the level of recruits that UND or BU get. The only way forward is to find players who can develop into the top skill kind of guys and who are willing to put in the work to get there.
    IMHO we have to be better in most parts of the game.It's not a big jump, but we have room to improve and we need to.

    I like the coaches' position about playing the toughest teams we can and I hope we continue that. I also hope we get a better mix of home and away games. BTW, we open against Union at the ice breaker next fall, correct? any other people have any schedule infomation?
    I thought this year, there we plenty of games for me to go see here in the lower. In years past that was not always the case. Some of those games became defacto home games there were so many Tech people. It's not just playing tough teams but you have to win those games. the loss to MSU early in the year hurt us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonsJerseys View Post
    1. No - I believe Mel thinks he can win a National Championship at Tech.
    2A. Yes - I feel Glen and Suzanne are firmly behind Mel. I've seen Glen at pretty much every major hockey event. Glen knows a winning hockey team is a great ambassador and free advertising for Tech. As for part B of the question, could Mel win a National Championship easier by taking another job? Likely yes, but not at any of the schools that are currently available (and I'm including Michigan in that list). And even if he did, would it mean as much to him as winning one at Tech? Michigan hockey will always be the red-headed step child to football and basketball on that campus. And when it comes to part A of this question, Tech is the choice hands down in that regard.
    3. If you have seen any of Mel's Tweets about fishing, sauna, driving a front end loader to clear snow, the connection to the community, etc then I again feel his answer is Houghton.

    Further on 2A, yes, he can go to other programs that might give him a better chance to win. I won't dispute that fact. Some programs have an easier time recruiting (grade requirements, big city life, winning tradition, another conference, etc) and having Mel coaching that team would only make it easier. However when you go to those programs the bar will be set at the level of "Win a championship or you're gone..." I feel Mel could put up another 10 years of just 20+ wins seasons with a few key wins sprinkled in (win an in-season tourney, beat some top 5 ranked teams, win the WCHA a couple times, etc) without winning the big one and no one is going to pressure him to leave. He took the program from a dumpster fire on ice to a national contending program. After what Tech has been through since MacInnes left, who isn't going to be happy with contending for a conference title almost every year, getting to the NCAA tourney every couple seasons and generally winning more than we lose? Ryan
    Let me add this, Glen AND Suzanne are 200% behind tMel and the hockey team. I've had several personal discussions with them. It's not even about the free advertising. Community and Alumni.

    Put it this way, if they need more funds for hockey they can get it.


    No tMel Pearson show?

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    Quote Originally Posted by giwan View Post
    Let me add this, Glen AND Suzanne are 200% behind tMel and the hockey team. I've had several personal discussions with them. It's not even about the free advertising. Community and Alumni.

    Put it this way, if they need more funds for hockey they can get it.


    No tMel Pearson show?
    MPS will be on Wednesday morning at 9am this week, as Mel is out of town.

    And I for one doubt he is in Ann Arbor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John J. MacInnes View Post
    MPS will be on Wednesday morning at 9am this week, as Mel is out of town.

    And I for one doubt he is in Ann Arbor.
    Thanks. My guess tMel is either on a break or recruiting. Knowing Glen it would not be a surprise for him to be asking tMel what do you need to get past this next step. Glen is really good, he gets it. From my experience he's the kind of CEO that walks the factory floor to really see whats going on.

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    Re: MICHIGAN TECH 2017 OFF-SEASON - We're Adding to the Trophy Case & Keeping Pearson

    I don't want to overstep any bounds or violate any rules, but if it comes out that Red is retiring, would it be acceptable for fans to form a letter writing campaign to Mel to tell him how much we appreciate what he's done and how much the community supports him and to politely ask him to stay in Houghton? I mean, I am sure we could get a huge outpouring of support for him and if he see's that maybe it will make any decision easier.

    I will say, he seems to truly love this team, school and community in a way and at a level I have never seen before by a coach. I know Jamie Russell did as well and it showed, but Mel really seems to be at another level. His opening the doors to the ice for fans to come on to celebrate the MacNaughton last year and the Broadmoor this year as well as his interaction with fans and the community and how he brings the team into the community, like I said, I have never seen any coach anywhere this involved and invested in the community and to me it shows a true love and passion for where he is and a belief in what he is doing. I have to think this bodes well for our chances at retaining him until he retires.
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