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View Full Version : Severe Ronaldstorm Warning: the Michigan Tech 2010-11 Season Thread, Part the Second



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Hatch_man
12-04-2010, 12:12 AM
IS Schooley injured or do we like doriott as a forward and Heinonen as our 6th defensemen??? And I didn't see Cramer ... I thought he suited up for all home games....:confused: Although Heinonen's penalty did create a nice spark for our team:)

MTUHatTrick84
12-04-2010, 12:30 AM
Tonight was the night I jumped off of the bandwagon, and decided that it is time for a new direction in the program. I have tried to be patient with this coaching regime, but then I realize that nothing has really changed. I remember there was a time when I was calling for the coach's head, but then I was convinced that we just needed more time, that we were a young team, that the system and players just needed to be in place. And I was willing to accept that. But I feel tonight exactly how I felt on 12/3/05. In the midst of this 8 game winless streak, I am getting that disgust again.

Now, this is an annual thing. Every year, we are awful in the months of November and December. Even in our "best year in ages", we were still 3-8-2 in those two months. For Jamie Russell's tenure at Michigan Tech, the Huskies have gone 14-75-10 in these two bleak months, a .192 winning percentage. That compares with the 69-174-35 record overall for the coach, which is a shade over winning 30% of Tech's games. Now, 30% isn't all that great for anyone, but for some reason, we are freaking horrible towards the end of the fall semester. Take away November and December, and Tech's winning percentage is .377.

Why is it that everybody seems to get better around this time of the year, or we seem to be worse?

When you see a trend like this, does that fall on the coach? Is there something wrong with his style? Do other teams make adjustments and find ways to stop Tech, while Tech is unable to match the changes opponents make? Is it a mental thing? There may be "fluky" things that happen in specific years, but an eight item sample set is pretty hard to ignore. Really, how do you make an excuse for 8 random sets that point to the same result?

We do well at retaining players. But, there is something to be said for maintaining a future, and not letting the team get too top (senior) or bottom (freshmen) heavy. And in this regard, the coaching staff set us up to fail. The freshmen classes of 2006-07 (5) and 2007-08 (4) were unusually small. Well, now those small classes would be our jrs/srs. So, at the maximum, we would have 9 upper classmen, and many underclassmen forced to play larger roles that they may not have developed into yet. And then we lose a few of those upper classmen to injury/dismissal, and the problem becomes exacerbated.

The plus side to this is that in two years, we will again be very top heavy and should be in position to make a bit of noise. The pieces are apparently there (and they should be with 17 underclassmen), they just need developing. The last three classes have been 9, 9, and 8 freshmen. Unfortunately, when we get to the point that these freshmen/sophomores are juniors/seniors, we won't have room to bring in larger freshmen classes. We will have a repeat of 2006-08. We may well get near or above .500 and look at future potential, but the cupboard will be bare when those players start to run out of eligibility.

So, we are a 'young team' right now, but the coaches did nothing to change that fact. You could see it coming for 5 years based on class size. You do not set yourself up for success when you only give yourself a maximum of 9 upper classmen to work with, and you have no buffer if those players do not stay on the ice for various reasons.

We are not an awful team. We are just in a run of playing awful hockey. And I think that is the frustrating part.

However, I am going to back and talk about the culture of this program (again, I know). I think losing has become acceptable, maybe not to the players exactly, but to everybody associated with the program. I could feel it tonight, and I am disappointed to say that I even felt it in myself. Things started to go wrong, and we shrugged and said, "Hey, this *is* Tech hockey". We have become detached from losing. There really didn't feel like any emotion was attached to it. It is hard to explain, just call it a gut feeling that I had. We started to fall apart at the end of the game, and there was nothing that was going to change that momentum. There really hasn't been anything to change the momentum of losing, and hence we go on these epically long streaks of ineptitude.

There used to be a time when I would feel the emotion of a loss. I would need that "Tech Once" to get it out. I would feel angry or disappointed. Others around me would share that feeling. And now there is none of that, it is just an apathetic reaction to losing. Losing is what we are, it is what we do, it is what defines the Michigan Tech Huskies. I am torn on the idea of booing a team or making a symbolic gesture of disappointment, but I don't even think that we even feel the emotions of losing enough anymore to put forth the effort to voice displeasure. "Just another Tech hockey game." We go through the motions. We have become complacent with winning 30%.

I am not going to say that this culture permeates the team. I don't know what is in their heads or hearts. I am not going to call out individual players. But I will say that this team has consistently showed a propensity for breakdowns in the rememberable past, and maybe that is an indication that our players are not mentally prepared enough or have the concentration to focus through every second of every shift. Players are often out of position, and thus we make the opposing teams look pretty good at times. They show heart in coming back on some occasions, and on others things just snowball out of control (the 3rd period tonight is the most recent example).

There are many things that a coach cannot control. The coach cannot control injuries, for example. However, it is the job of the coaching staff to manage players and practice time in such a way that players know the system, know where they are supposed to be, know their responsibilities, know their assignment. I place at least a good deal of the blame for the consistent breakdowns (esp. defensive breakdowns) on the coaching staff, that perhaps the team is not as prepared as they should be. Nobody is going to play perfect, and passes will be missed, assignments will be missed, chances will be given up, and opposing players will make good plays, but it feels like Tech just gives the opponents too much on a breakdown of the system/missed assignments.

Most of all, the coaching staff controls the atmosphere and culture of the team. The players have a role in it, but in the end it comes down to the coach. The coach is the one that recruits based on playing skill and character and personality. The coach leads the team, in game preparation and demeanor. And in seven years, has there really been a change in the atmosphere or culture at Michigan Tech? I would think that there would be more appreciable results if there had been.

Five years ago, on that night when Tech was blown out by North Dakota and the program seemed hopeless, I was convinced that it was just a matter of the coaching staff getting their players into the mix and getting the system in place. Now, these things have been in place for a few years, and we are still seeing seemingly unending winless streaks.

I like Coach Russell. I think he is a no-nonsense coach that would go to bat for any of his players. I have no doubt in my mind that he is committed to Michigan Tech hockey, and wants nothing more than to build a program here that Coach MacInnes would be proud of. I have no doubt he dreams of the past glories that shine in the history of this team. I think that he is a character person, and demands the same out of his players (and dismisses the ones that don't follow suit). I have no idea what the graduation rate is for his players, but I would assume it is pretty good. He has brought in some very exciting young players (Seigo, Gordic, Furne, Johnstone, etc.) that I think will grow to be WCHA caliber players, if they aren't already on the cusp of it.

But even so, the results just are not there. Even after seven seasons, including one magical feeling one (in which, by the way, there really were only 1 game over .500), the program feels like it did in the past. A lot of potential, but not quite translating on the ice. Historical trends repeating themselves over and over.

I get the feeling that this team will show flashes over the second half of the season that will convince we need to stay the course, just as has happened in the past. And I am leery about that occurring. If we get our hopes up again, is it really going to be different this time?

I came on here to vent after the game and convince myself that it is time for change in this program. I certainly felt that way after the game, as anyone around me would know. And even now, after typing this, I feel like I am backpedaling a bit. Like I said, I want to like Russell, and I do respect him.

I have also come to learn over the last few years that you can be a fan of the program and not agree with everything going on. You do not have to agree with the coaching staff that is in place and can hope for a change, but you support them while they are there and do not hope that anything undermines them.

Thus, I may not agree with the current culture of the Michigan Tech Hockey program and our reactions as fans (including my own), but I still support the team and the coaching staff that is in place. I wish them the best and hope they make the most of the opportunity, and then let the cards fall as they may in regards to whether the coach stays or goes.

This post, which is a lot longer than intended, is not an indictment of Jamie Russell. However, I believe that a person can put their entire heart into something, generally be good at what they do, be a good person, and have the skills and then end up not succeeding. Sometimes, even a dedicated person and a person who bleeds black and gold is not exactly the right person for the job.

FadeToBlack&Gold
12-04-2010, 12:51 AM
I think that essay pretty much sums up the thoughts of the moderate majority at this point.

FadeToBlack&Gold
12-04-2010, 01:34 AM
I feel that Russell and his various assistants have generally been pretty good at recruiting potential talent, but perhaps not so good at developing said talent. We've seen several freshmen (Bunger, Royer, Robinson, MacLeod) have a promising rookie year, then plateau or even regress. After two and a half years, there is still no explanation for why we've sustained all the key injuries that we have - you can blame bad luck only to a point, and then it's a question of how you're creating that bad luck. The last three seasons now, our lineup has had little to no consistency after mid-October, and that wrecks line chemistry.

Manurespreader sent me an email with his report on the game, and he thought most of the players showed little heart and the score "could've easily been 10-1". I know that Jamie cares and asks himself dozens of "How?" and "Why?" questions every day, because if he didn't he would've been canned already. However, I think even the players can only put up with so much losing while remaining positive, and perhaps some of them are getting to a point where they're tired of playing for him and are just going through the motions out there. Maybe that's why we're seeing freshmen putting up points and trying, while upperclassmen who should be taking charge and leading in Olson's absence, are instead floating.

One thing is clear - Olson is the real captain and leader on this team, and without him they are burnt toast.

mtu_huskies
12-04-2010, 01:42 AM
just got home, this is sad to see. I'll have to read the gamer to see what happened but it seems like the same old, we're injured, young and aren't getting wins.

FadeToBlack&Gold
12-04-2010, 01:47 AM
Might as well drag this one back out...except this time I'm pretty close to joining the mob.

http://i6.***********.com/albums/y227/association330/villagers_with_pitchforks.jpg

manurespreader
12-04-2010, 09:21 AM
Is this re: the discipline problems/possible suspensions? Or just the fact that we suck?
we suck. we suck real bad. we suck real, real bad.

The Troll mtu86
12-04-2010, 11:12 AM
At least it wasn't 12-4.

Forget about Levi & Ben. Someone needs to recruit that Ryan Doucet kid!!

It was a rough night for Copper Country hockey. No doubt about it.

MTUHatTrick84
12-04-2010, 11:31 AM
I feel that Russell and his various assistants have generally been pretty good at recruiting potential talent, but perhaps not so good at developing said talent. We've seen several freshmen (Bunger, Royer, Robinson, MacLeod) have a promising rookie year, then plateau or even regress. After two and a half years, there is still no explanation for why we've sustained all the key injuries that we have - you can blame bad luck only to a point, and then it's a question of how you're creating that bad luck. The last three seasons now, our lineup has had little to no consistency after mid-October, and that wrecks line chemistry.

Manurespreader sent me an email with his report on the game, and he thought most of the players showed little heart and the score "could've easily been 10-1". I know that Jamie cares and asks himself dozens of "How?" and "Why?" questions every day, because if he didn't he would've been canned already. However, I think even the players can only put up with so much losing while remaining positive, and perhaps some of them are getting to a point where they're tired of playing for him and are just going through the motions out there. Maybe that's why we're seeing freshmen putting up points and trying, while upperclassmen who should be taking charge and leading in Olson's absence, are instead floating.

One thing is clear - Olson is the real captain and leader on this team, and without him they are burnt toast.

I think the fact that Olson and Baker are the sole leaders on this team, and nobody (except maybe Cousens) has stepped up in their leadership void goes back to the fact that we only had the potential for 9 upperclassmen on this team given the size of recruiting classes at the time.

It seems to me that it has been a hallmark of this era to have players split two different ways. There are heart and soul players who would do whatever it took to play hockey the right way and lead this team as they got older (Batovanja is the first player that comes to mind, though there are others), and players who had potential and instead, for whatever reason, just played out the string towards the end. I also agree with the comment that the potential doesn't seem to grow in many players, and instead they regress or plateau. Is this an indictment of the coaching staff, or do we have players that just hit their ceiling and go as far as they can go? We tend to get older freshmen, so perhaps they come to us at the end of physical development and they don't grow as they progress. Is it a work ethic issue with some of the players? I am not in the locker room, so I have no idea.

I like numbers, as they seem to bring sense out of the randomness. I went and looked at the longest winless and undefeated streaks that Tech has had per season under Coach Russell. The longest unbeaten streak in the tenure is 5 games, which happened twice (3-0-2 both times), earlier this season and also in 04-05. The longest winless streaks are pretty hard memories to stomach, but they were 13 games (twice, 04-05 and 08-09) and one epic 15 game clunker (last season). If you average it out, Tech gets a 3.6 game unbeaten streak every season, and goes off on a 9.6 game string without wins.

Year/Longest Unbeaten/Longest Winless
03-04/3/7
04-05/5/13 (also a 1 win in 19 game stretch)
05-06/4/10
06-07/4/6
07-08/4/5
08-09/3/13
09-10/1/15
10-11/5/8 (and counting, but hopefully stops tonight)

Tonight is the night this winless drought needs to end. If it does not end tonight, it might be a while before it does. After this weekend, we travel to Nebraska (9-3-1), play a game at NMU (who is 7-3-1 since we last saw them), go to the GLI and face Michigan (8-5-4) and then either Sparty or CC (perhaps it might end there?). Once we are done with the holiday, we go to SCSU (losing record, but you know the history), before we finally come home to face St. Lawrence.

If we don't stop the slide tonight, it is likely that this winless streak will jump into double digit games, which would be the 5th time in 8 seasons we have pulled that feat. That is more than a quarter of the season (more than a third in some cases) that passes by without jumping into the win column.

The unfortunate thing is that us diehards will still show up to the games no matter what happens. We are addicted to Tech hockey. Even when the drug doesn't give you a high anymore, you come back and hope that it lives up to the few times it brought you pleasure. We leave disappointed, but always come back, in case the next game is the next fix that we need.

I have never once wished that I was a fair-weather fan. It was never concievable for me to just blow off a hockey game if I was in Houghton, or if I could come back for the series. It is not in my nature to understand the parts of the crowd that show up when we win, and then vanish when we lose. We can't even give away 675 hockey tickets to watch this team right now.

I told Yager last night that "I don't know what is more sad, the fact that half of the arena is empty, or the fact that more people showed up than I expected".

The standing part of the Misfits has shrunk from 2+ sections, to about half of Section L.

Things are, in a word, bleak right now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it has always been there. It really doesn't seem to get any closer. It is like a car coming the opposite way on the Seney Stretch, you don't know whether it is a mile away, or 15. We have young players that have all the potential in this league, but in the past we have had young players show flashes of brilliance too. It feels different this time, but it has felt different in the past too.

We are patient, we stay the course. The eight years later, you wonder if maybe you have held on for a couple of seasons too long. "There will be great upheaval if we change coaches, and it will take a couple of years to get back to stability". But, what has stability brought us thus far? 6-25-7? 5-30-1? 3-7-2?

This is not 4-34-0. Not even close. But is it still where we want to be?

Is there an appropriate way to show displeasure in the losing streak and history of the last 8 years at the game, yet still be supportive of the team and the people in place? Being a fan does not mean blindly accepting everything that happens in the name of being a fan, but you don't want to be a ********* about things either.

techcodemonkey
12-04-2010, 11:44 AM
IS Schooley injured or do we like doriott as a forward and Heinonen as our 6th defensemen??? And I didn't see Cramer ... I thought he suited up for all home games....:confused: Although Heinonen's penalty did create a nice spark for our team:)

Schooley is out, and if Cramer didn't dress last night, then that possibly confirms my second guy I heard on....the rumor mill says broken fingers for Cramer....

Huskiefan906
12-04-2010, 11:45 AM
I hope Schooley is back in tonight.

Defenseman playing forward has happened 3 straight years now.

Time to man up and win 2 of the next 3 with one of those W's tonight.

techcodemonkey
12-04-2010, 12:09 PM
http://i768.***********.com/albums/xx324/btbenedi/headonplatter.jpg

Here's to wishful thinking

MTUHatTrick84
12-04-2010, 12:47 PM
I am trying to remain "classy", or something, but I still think that there needs to be a way to show that things are not acceptable as they are. An idea that occurred to me is that it might be possible to "make a statement", but not overstep the bounds of good taste.

I don't know how this idea would go over, but how about this: The student section tonight, at the beginning of the game, sits quietly for the first 30-45 seconds of the game. After that, we stand up, and be as loud as possible and go about the rest of the game as we normally would.

It would be noticeable, a group that normally stands and usually does the same cheer at puck drop does something completely different. 30-45 seconds is long enough to be noticed, but not too long as to make a complete negative statement. It is more classy that booing loudly or chanting "Fire Russell". It is more of a silent protest than a vocal indictment of any one person or entity. We show our displeasure, that we show our support by being there, but aren't happy about direction.

And the main thing, 30-45 seconds is short enough that we will still be less than a minute into the game when we start the usual chanting/cheering. We get right back into the swing of things, and show our vocal support. We aren't giving up on the team, we are still here, and we are still fans through this.

I don't know, something that popped into my head. I don't know how well it would go over, but figured I would throw it out there anyway.

geezer
12-04-2010, 01:09 PM
At least it wasn't 12-4.

Forget about Levi & Ben. Someone needs to recruit that Ryan Doucet kid!!

It was a rough night for Copper Country hockey. No doubt about it.

I missed it, but today's game sounds pretty evenly played on the radio*. Was it the world's worst case of bus legs?

*3-1 Cal final, ENG
And speaking of Calumet, word out of the paint store is that MTU has been talking to Ben Storm, the 6 1/2-foot-tall d-man that makes a habit of passing directly to opposing forwards on the breakout. He'd fit right in. (if he doesn't get a better offer from football, his brother has been doing well in that sport)

Huskiefan906
12-04-2010, 03:19 PM
Tonight should be a Tech team playing with the the utmost urgency.

They need a win so very badly..... Look what UAA is doing......

I'll be anxious to see if they can focus and take care of CC tonight.

Let's go Tech....

crazypotatoes
12-04-2010, 03:58 PM
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it has always been there. It really doesn't seem to get any closer. It is like a car coming the opposite way on the Seney Stretch, you don't know whether it is a mile away, or 15. This is probably the best summary of Tech hockey I've ever heard.

Here's my new solution for Tech hockey:
TAKE THE FALL. ACT HURT. GET IDIGNANT! (http://mightyducks.ytmnd.com/)

melmac
12-04-2010, 04:13 PM
Here's to wishful thinkingDude... that's just... creepy...

FadeToBlack&Gold
12-04-2010, 04:14 PM
Dude... that's just... creepy...

I was thinking the same thing.

techcodemonkey
12-04-2010, 04:29 PM
I was thinking the same thing.

it was the only picture of him that was large enough resolution to even attempt to hack-shop it

Yager
12-04-2010, 04:40 PM
IS Schooley injured or do we like doriott as a forward and Heinonen as our 6th defensemen??? And I didn't see Cramer ... I thought he suited up for all home games....:confused: Although Heinonen's penalty did create a nice spark for our team:)
Cramer apparently broke his finger from what I have heard.

Also, word out of the Dogulass House is that the Lode theater will have been sold again come Monday morning.