East Notebook WCHA
Notre Dame forward Christian Hanson’s
dad barely batted an eye when some emboldened 7-year-old
greeted him with a movie quote full of curse words.
Dave Hanson gets that $#*@ all the time
while making promotional appearances stemming from
the crude 1977 cult hit movie “Slap Shot.”
Yes, the son of one of the fabled “Hanson Brothers”
– the most famous forward line in cinema history
– is now mucking it up in CCHA rinks.
“It’s pretty sweet,”
said Christian Hanson, a freshman center with the
Irish. “When I was 11, my dad took me out to
this celebrity hockey game in L.A., and guys like
Pavel Bure and Martin Brodeur were coming up to him
and getting his autograph and taking pictures with
him. I was just in awe of the fact that these were
guys I had on my wall at home, and they knew my dad.”
Despite his connection to the movie,
Christian Hanson says he didn’t see “Slap
Shot” until he was 12, when a parent popped
it in during a youth hockey bus ride. Offered the
theory that most people probably don’t see it
until that age – or later – because the
film’s persistently vulgar language isn’t
for really kids, Hanson disagreed.
“Actually, I think I was the only
one on the bus who hadn’t seen it before,”
But he’s seen it plenty of times
since then, and he counts himself among the flick’s
legion of fans. He’ll gladly share with you
how his father’s real-life exploits with the
minor-league Johnstown Jets were woven into the script
for the fictional Charlestown Chiefs and the goon
brothers that made his family famous.
Dave Hanson, who played briefly with
the Red Wings and North Stars after becoming a movie
star, now runs Pittsburgh’s Island Sports Center,
home of the Robert Morris Colonials. Christian said
his dad and the other Hanson brothers (Jeff Carlson
and Steve Carlson) still make about 30 or 40 promotional
appearances a year, including a current tour of Europe.
That’s down from the couple hundred of appearances
they used to make when it was Hanson’s full-time
job to play in charity golf outings and sign mementos.
Christian Hanson is a good sport about
living in the shadow of his father’s fame. “I
hope that it opens some doors for me and then I’m
able to get a reputation and have some success myself,”
Fighting Irish coach Jeff Jackson, for
one, thinks the younger Hanson has plenty of promise
as a player. Six games into Hanson’s college
career, Jackson already likes his big power forward’s
soft hands and understanding of the game.
“He has a lot of tools,”
Jackson said. “He just has to be intense all
the time and make the full commitment to fight for
ice out there. He’s not really the image of
a Hanson brother right now – not that I would
want him to be.”
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Full attention –
Even though Michigan State’s opponent this weekend,
Nebraska-Omaha, doesn’t carry the same cachet
as already-faced North Dakota, Michigan and Cornell,
the Mavericks should command just as much attention
from the Spartans. That’s because one of MSU’s
downfalls during the Rick Comley era has been losing
to teams it shouldn’t lose to (remember Findlay,
Wayne State, et al?). The Spartans already had a mini-letdown
this week, tying Ferris State on Tuesday.
So, in a way, this Maverick venture
might tell us as much about the Spartans as their
recent marquee matchups. They have to overcome the
stigma that they play to the level of their opponent.
“That criticism is very real,
and we have to endure it because it’s true,”
coach Rick Comley said. “We still have to prove
that we’re going to be good every night. I think
we’re in the process of doing that.”
The Spartans are in the midst of a frantic
stretch of eight games in 16 days, thanks to back-to-back
Tuesday affairs against Ferris State and Ohio State.
The good news for MSU is that ailing forward Nick
Sucharski and defenseman Brandon Gentile are ready
to make their season debuts this weekend. Senior forward
David Booth (rib) has been cleared to play by school
doctors but is seeking a second opinion before returning
lineup (a move Comley endorses). Sophomore forward
Chris Mueller (shoulder) probably won’t play
against UNO but should be ready for Ohio State. When
all of them return, only Tim Kennedy will remain on
MSU’s once-expansive injury list.
No more dancing
a Blue streak – If
games at Yost Ice Arena seem to have less boogie this
year, there’s a good reason: Michigan’s
tradition of the pep band director dancing during
the waning moments of a Wolverine victory has been
put to a halt.
Director of university bands Michael
Haithcock and new hockey band director Scott Bersaglia
agreed to discontinue the practice, which had been
going on for more than a decade, prior to the season.
Haithcock began to sour on the dancing as former hockey
band director Damon Talley evolved from a graduate
student to a full-time faculty member while in the
role. Haithcock’s decision to nix the whole
production was made easier by the fact that Bersaglia,
Talley’s successor this year, didn’t want
to get his groove on anyway.
“Really, there are three reasons,”
Haithcock explained. “Having 8,000 people scream
at a faculty member to dance isn’t very professional.
I can’t put on the job description that the
hockey band director has to dance. It’s not
fair. Second, I was tired of turning on the TV and
seeing Damon’s pelvis. The camera guys always
focused in on that part of the dance, and that’s
not fair to him. Third, it’s a student band.
The director is there to facilitate the enjoyment
of the crowd, not be the enjoyment of the crowd. I
can’t imagine Red (Berenson) running out onto
the ice to celebrate a goal with the team.
“If people are upset, sorry. It’s
my job to protect our faculty members, and I think
these three issues are substantial. The tradition
had outlived its usefulness.”
Great Weekend Getaway
at Northern Michigan (Fri.-Sat.) The Wolverines only managed a split
during their last foray onto Olympic-size ice,
and you know the Berry Events Center will be
rockin’ for this series, U-M’s first
visit since 2002. So the ingredients are there
for an upset (or two). But to do so, the Wildcats
will need sounder defensive coverage than they
exhibited against Michigan State. The Wolverines
boast the top two freshman scorers in the nation,
Andrew Cogliano (7-8—15) and Jack Johnson
While you’re there:
To extract the last drop of enjoyment from this
year’s autumnal colors, take a hike up
Sugarloaf Mountain. It won’t be the same
by the time the next series rolls around.
Superior State’s 10-0 win over Western
Michigan last weekend was the Lakers’
largest margin of victory since beating
Michigan State 11-1 in 1994. More important,
however, is the fact that LSSU’s sweep
of the Broncos was its first CCHA sweep since
Penn State’s head-to-head win over Ohio
State in football is looking pretty
big right now, the Nittany Lions also have a
leg up on Ohio State in hockey. PSU’s
club team has an indirect win over the thought-to-be-fearsome
Buckeyes. Penn State stunned Robert Morris in
an exhibition, then Robert Morris beat Western
Michigan, which swept Ohio State two weekends
ago. It’s just one of several early season
embarrassments for the Buckeyes, who are tied
with Nebraska-Omaha for the most league losses
(four) and with Notre Dame for the most overall
losses (five) among CCHA teams. Ohio State has
outshot its opponent in all eight games, but
has just two wins in part because of star goalie
David Caruso’s suspect play. His save
percentage is just .890.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson
has noticed the same thing about slumping junior goalie
David Brown as many fans have: He’s displaying
negative body language. “It’s apparent,”
Jackson admitted. “I’m working on him
every day. He wants to do well, but he gets frustrated.
Confidence is a fragile thing right now.” Jackson
said Brown will continue to share time with freshman
Jordan Pearce “until somebody steps forward.”
• Miami senior forward Chris Michael
is a power-play whiz, so much so that 19 of his 27
career goals (70 percent) have come with a man-advantage.
“That’s something I can never explain,”
Michael said. “It was never like that until
I got here. It just seems like the game slows down
on the power play – and I’ve also gotten
some lucky bounces.” The first-place RedHawks
visit third-place Lake Superior State (and its 82.2
percent penalty killing) this weekend.
• What a great night for offense
Friday. Half of the league’s 12 teams scored
five goals or more, including a 10, an 8 and a 7.
Other tidbits from the box scores ... Michigan and
Notre Dame combined for 13 goals by 12 different players
Friday. Only U-M freshman Andrew Cogliano scored twice
(the last two goals of the night). ... Meanwhile,
Lake Superior State had four two-goal scorers (Jeffrey
Rainville, Trent Campbell, Troy Schwab and Dan Eves)
in its 10-0 romp over Western Michigan. ... In the
same game, backup Broncos goalie Ryan Mensing allowed
four goals on six shots.
• Quotebook: Northern Michigan
play-by-play announcer Dave Danis on the officiating
during Friday’s loss to Michigan State: “(Referee
Brian Aaron) needs a big red nose and floppy feet.”
... Michigan State coach Rick Comley to the Lansing
State Journal about facing NMU, his former squad:
“I’m not afraid to tell you that I don’t
like to play that team. Just too many feelings there.
I like to beat them, but I don’t like to play
set a school record with 77 penalty minutes against
Ohio State on Friday. But that number was dwarfed
by the Buckeyes’ 101 PIM. And that number was
dwarfed by OSU’s school record. According to
SID Leann Parker’s diligent research, the Buckeyes
amassed an NCAA-record 150 PIM at Northern Michigan
on Jan. 30, 1981. The game included five players from
each side ejected for fighting and the OSU goalie
getting five and a game for butt-ending.
• Bowling Green goalie Jon Horrell
and Alaska Fairbanks forward Kelly Czuy were out of
their teams’ lineups last weekend, but for different
reasons. Horrell’s knee needed stitches after
being cut by a skate during practice last week. He
is expected to be available against Notre Dame this
week. Czuy, meanwhile, was left home by coach Tavis
MacMillan as the team traveled to Ferris State. The
coach was not happy about his lone senior’s
disposition. “It was a tough decision to make,”
MacMillan told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
“Kelly has more talent in his pinkie than a
lot of players on this team have in their whole bodies.
But Kelly is also going to have to learn to use his
skills the right way, and be unselfish and stay out
of the penalty box. He’s going to have to learn
to simplify his game rather than try to do everything
himself and get in one-on-one battles.”
• Other dress-list casualties
last weekend: talented, young defensemen Joe Grimaldi
(Nebraska-Omaha), Wes O’Neill (Notre Dame) and
Chris Zarb (Ferris State). All three were healthy
scratches for one game. Ah, the messages sent early
in the season.
• Bowling Green has rescheduled
its oozed-out home game against Ferris State for 7:05
p.m. Jan. 16. Although we were previously told the
game would start where it left off – 0-0 at
the beginning of the second period with FSU on the
power play – it’s the CCHA’s call,
and the league has yet to make it.
A variety of sources were utilized
in the compilation of this report.