Postcard: It ain't easy being Green
The hockey gods,
on the whole, are pretty nice guys. They gave us frozen ponds, hat
tricks, and bubble hockey, among other delights, so they’re
certainly not all bad.
tempt them by asking: What more can go wrong?
focused their vengeance, it seems, on Michigan State this fall and
early winter. So after learning yesterday of two (not one, two!)
Spartan defensemen defecting to the major junior ranks, it’s
hard not to ask that question – but by now, the consequences
are clear. Everything can get worse.
To review, Michigan
State lost the winningest coach in the game’s history in the
off-season, followed by the best college goalie since Dryden. Its
grittiest forward, Brian Maloney, was recovering from a lacerated
The season started
with a 5-0 loss to Denver, considered a low point for all of one
week, until the televised 10-4 debacle at Northern Michigan. Another
week brought a blown lead at home – but a win – against
Lake Superior State. Then losses to Niagara and Bowling Green, the
latter part of a four-game winless streak.
Shaw and sophomore Duncan Keith provided the latest blows, as college
hockey lost two more players to its version of free agency, the
major junior ranks. The college game inevitably winds up in the
role of the small market team in this equation.
Shaw was the
team’s seventh defenseman, but Keith could be a major blow.
He was the club’s third blueliner, behind sensational seniors
John-Michael Liles and Brad Fast. A sort of Liles-in-waiting, Keith
was a home-run hitter: he could make an amazing play, or, most often
in his own zone, swing and miss badly.
From the sounds
of it, even as he made his debut with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets
Friday night, he knew that he had struck out. Keith’s father,
David, told Neil Koepke of the Lansing State Journal that
Keith wanted to return to MSU.
he felt the pressure by the Rockets, our family adviser and myself,''
David Keith said. "He signed the contract with the Rockets
and it seemed to be a good situation. But then six hours later,
he was devastated.
he really wanted to go back to MSU because he really liked it there.
I said, 'Why didn't you say something when I was going on and on,'
and he just said. 'Dad, you weren't listening.' I feel very badly
about all of this.''
temporary change of heart gave Michigan State some hope Friday that
they could appeal to the NCAA to have his eligibility reinstated
(Keith had already signed a contract with Kelowna, making him ineligible,
but until he played a WHL game there was some hope that he could
return). Now that he’s skated for the Rockets, that appears
Are the hockey
gods finally sated for whatever slights they felt coming their way
from East Lansing? Who knows – maybe this weekend’s
Great Lakes Invitational will answer that question.
ask if it can get any worse.