Thursday, April 10, 2008

Odds of the odds mattering: Slim to None.

In our Michigan bubble, it's often difficult to remember that players named something other than Chad Kolarik or Kevin Porter score goals. The first hour and a half of the Frozen Four has hurtled the boys here at WCBN towards this realization. I want you to think of the Gerber Baby. He's cute. He has that little whisp of hair and some shiny spittle on his lip. The image he emits is harmless and innocent. Nathan Gerbe, whose name might remind one of that commercialized infant, is nothing like the Gerber Baby. Other than he will someday cash in.

It is now 6-0 in favor of the Boston College Eagles. My boys and I, like many of you may have, predicted a UM vs. North Dakota championship. This Fighting Sioux shlacking at the hands (talons?) of the Eagles, has only gone to show one thing: we don't know anything. This is why I have stuck to broadcasting rather than writing blogs or previews. Previews require a gamble and a forecast of the future, while play-by-play and color commentary only require a 3 second attention span. It happens, we say it. Done. So, why even acknowledge the difference between calling things as they are and expressing our gut instincts or stats-based predictions? Why take note of our now preposterous assumption that North Dakota would breeze past Boston College? Because we all assumed Michigan is in the championship. Crap.

I sincerely hope that the Wolverines have caught wind of the wind beneath the Eagles' wings (too much?). The ever-intimidating Fighting Sioux, led by unflappable goalie Jean-Phillipe Lamoureux, are being pounded, and anyone thinking that the Fighting Irish haven't taken note, are mistaken. The beauty of single-elimination rests in an underdog's opportunity to throw the odds aside, and screw the bracket. Boston College's scoring tonight began with a fallen defensemen whose slip directly led to a 2 on 1 goal. Michigan is no stranger to witnessing funny bounces. The CCHA semi-finals game against Northern Michigan, which saw three Michigan goals bounce off of Wildcats, serves as evidence that the Wolverines have been on the lucky side of bounces for the duration of the season. Lucky bounces help amass a spectacular record. One must remember, however, that fortune can be fickle.

Notre Dame needs one good bounce to blow up this Michigan season. It can be a redirection. It can be a stupid pinch by a defenseman. It can be an unfortunate slip. Any number of things can put an overmatched Fighting Irish team in the lead, and it can come at any time. Michigan will need to play with a sense of urgency to come even close to matching the desperation with which Notre Dame needs to play. The Pepsi Center is not a college arena. There are few fans to hate the Wolverines, but there are fewer fans to help them. Notre Dame has pushed from a near-16th seed to at least 4th place. What're two more games? Paper stats mean nothing. Ask the Detroit Tigers so far. Ask Michigan football associates for the last half decade. But more importantly, ask the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. They're rankings were as impressive if not more so than the Eagles. They were more impressive than the Eagles. But that doesn't mean they'll advance.

Six goals through two periods, I hope the Eagles throw in three more so that the Michigan Hockey team can think about the odds of a team scoring nine goals in the Frozen Four. They'd probably assume that they were pretty small. Just like the chances of beating Big Blue that we've given to Notre Dame.

As a final note, the belief is that if one game of two is a blowout such as this Boston College game, odds are that the second one will be a nailbiter. Odds are that I'm not buying into the odds. I'm just going to take my 3 second attention span, and call the game. Hopefully, we'll see Michigan on the other side.

From the Pepsi Center,

Christian "Desmond" Montgomery

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