Should Torey Krug be in the Hobey conversation? His 29 points in 28 league games ties him with ND's TJ Tynan for tops in CCHA play. A defenseman last won or had a share of the league scoring title in 1986-87 (25 years ago) when Western Michigan's Wayne Gagne won the title as a blueliner.
I was somewhat busy wrapping up my visit to South Bend over the weekend and our SpartanNetwork app didn't work right, so I couldn't hear Coach Anastos' interview where he mentioned Mike Merrifield had "over two dozen stiches" to his right upper thigh area and will be out "several weeks". A bit of a blow to the top line. It appeared that Merrifield fell on top of an upturned skate of a Notre Dame player as he skated in toward the Irish net.
It's no wonder Merrifield couldn't put any weight on his right skate.
Which means one of two things, both of which are not ideal scenarios to fill out four lines. One is Leveille - who has not appeared to be on the same page with the rest of the team that last several weeks - goes on the third line and Dean Chelios takes over for Merrifield, or (2 and probably less likely) Jake Chelios takes practice as the fourth-line forward - leaving either 5 or 6 dressing defensemen, depending on whether Grassi can be readied for the Miami series.
The great thing is other players have stepped up. Walrod was a beast this weekend and was absolutely robbed by a once-in-a-season sprawling stick-save Friday night - or he would have had two of State's 5 would-be goals on the weekend.
I actually like State's chances against Miami. I like them better if somehow Merrifield's not down ... but unlike the January weekend, State has time to adjust to a key injury. We played with Miami on the Friday game, got blindsided with the Grassi injury and couldn't sustain the level required for overtime, then had to deal with the missing piece in Saturday's game.
MSU needs to win the faceoffs - something they couldn't do against Notre Dame and I think really put us on our heals Friday night - and they need to work just as hard as they did Saturday night.