Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Conboy and Tropp have been suspended for the season and dismissed from the MSU hockey program. Comley appeared to leave room for Tropp's reinstatement, but Conboy had already decided to move on. Good. This is exactly the punishment I wanted to see. It's appropriate for the violent assault they perpetrated on Kampfer, but allows Tropp (who doesn't seem to be that bad apart from this incident) a way back into college hockey.

It sounds a lot like Carson Butler's dismissal in March of 2007 (man, that seems like forever ago) following the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre. You're off the team. Prove to me you deserve to earn back your spot. If Tropp keeps his nose clean and runs the 6 AM steps for the next three months, I don't have a problem with seeing him back in the green and white next October. He'll always carry the stigma of this incident, and if he breathes on Kampfer the wrong way he'll get jumped and then tossed from the game. Butler ended up being more trouble than he's worth and he's on his way to the "NFL draft". For his sake, I hope Tropp follows a better path.

There's been this bizarre strain going around how Michigan as a team and as a fanbase hasn't been "classy" about the incident, specifically referring to the language used by the student section in their "F*** you, State!" chant at the end of the game. The State News guy devoted some column inches to it and one of the first comments on the initial MLive story (I know, that's my own fault for reading them) was to the effect of "Stay classy, Ann Arbor". My response: "Classy" isn't even a part of the equation here; "appropriate" is.

I'm going to echo the sentiments of MSC, Yost Built, and MGoBlog. Your concerns pale entirely beside a college kid getting assaulted in front of our eyes. Whether you call the response "appropriate" depends on whether the standard is "safe for network TV" or "justified by the circumstances". Any reasonable person would call this the ideal time to deploy the F-bomb. There are reasons these words exist in the language and this one is there for people other than David Mamet, Fred Durst, and ODB.

Michael Rosenberg's column in the Free Press is kind of a mess. He's trying to humanize Corey Tropp as a local kid who made a bad decision, and brings up Bruce Kampfer's excursion into the locker room as if it's an equal point of comparison. We don't know enough to say much about that. But Bruce Kampfer didn't attack Tropp with a hockey stick while he was possibly unconscious. And Corey Tropp didn't just see his kid have his life put in danger for the second time this season. It doesn't make what Bruce Kampfer did right, not by any means, but the comparison is almost totally useless. The column would've been more effective if he'd only made passing reference to the incident. I can get that Tropp could well be a decent human being without trying prove that not everyone on either side is destined for sainthood.

Finally, security for the visitors' locker room at Yost is a joke. It's a freaking curtain. If the south door is open, it flaps in the breeze and you catch a glimpse of a guy riding the excercise bike. It's encouraging that nothing has happened up to now, but things need to change At the very least, a flimsy wall (with a lockable door) should be built there so you can't just lift the curtain and head on in. I'm hopeful that the NCAA might have a slightly more favorable opinion of Yost if that were to occur.*


*No, I will not be holding my breath. Thanks for the concern.

Kampfer Link Roundup

Michigan 5, FYS 3 - Yost Built game recap and response to the attack

Michigan completes Spartan Sweep, Kampfer injured (YouTube) - MVictors with the first video (better video)
MVictors stills and breakdown recap

What We Learned: Don't Trust the Spartans, Passerby - The Two Line Pass

"The most interesting hockey event of the weekend didn’t happen in the NHL, the AHL or even Major Juniors. Instead, that event is the gutless, appalling attack (there’s no other word for it) by Michigan State’s Andrew Conboy and Corey Tropp on Michigan’s Steve Kampfer late in the dying moments of Saturday night’s game, in which the Wolverines were beating the absolute piss out of the Spartans for two straight games."

Animals - MGoBlog

"Kampfer's mother went down to the State bench and started screaming. An usher came up to restrain her, and she cried out "that's my son." Another relative was looking around incredulously, crying, panicking, her hands waving in the air pointlessly. It's the kind of random motion you make when something has to be done and you're totally helpless."

Thank God - Yost Built on Kampfer OK

Brian posts that Kampfer will be fine

Bruce Ciskie at the FanHouse
"If Conboy and Tropp aren't suspended for the remainder of the season, justice hasn't been served. The Michigan State hockey team and the university in general should be embarrassed by that behavior, and they shouldn't tolerate the perpetrators putting on the MSU jersey again this season."
Western College Hockey:

"A few weeks ago, Rick Comley was whining about how unfair it is that officials kept calling penalties on Andrew Conboy. But the name 'Conboy' and 'self control' have never exactly gone together. I think a disgusting incident like this says a lot about Conboy as a player and as a person. I'm sure Corey Tropp feels really tough too taking a two-handed slash to a player laying motionless on the ice."


"And if you needed another strange twist to this sad story, Rick Comley's postgame interview was a lecture on class, because during the postgame handshake, some Michigan players gasp.....swore at him. Thankfully, Comley is not a 19th century woman prone to fainting spells, so he didn't end up in the hospital like Kampfer because of it."

Paula Weston's sidebar does not reference "F*** you, State", as Yost Built predicted, but does give the students a good tut-tutting for calling BS when a goal was waved off after review. Nobody in the building had any idea why that State shot needed a review; clearly not a goal. Or why the Rust goal would have been reviewed: Obviously a goal.

MLive and the Daily basically confirm that it was Kampfer's dad in the locker room. MLive doesn't mention their earlier assertion that he was there to confront Comley, but this time they agree that he was there for an "unnamed player". The Daily follows up that DPS specified the player was the one who had been ejected, which would mean Tropp. They also have a source claiming Mr. Kampfer admits he grabbed Tropp by the jersey. I'm no lawyer, but this may technically amount to assault. If Kampfer Sr. gets charged and Tropp skates free, that is an appalling joke.

Nicole Auerbach may be overly cynical in thinking the State players went after the head and neck because it's Kampfer. I think they were just going after a vulnerable place on any player.

Brian wants the banhammer.

MVictors: Mel Pearson was on WTKA with Andy Evans and said very little of consequence with regard to the incident, which is consistent with Red's remarks last night, but Mitera is ahead of the curve on his comeback.

Brian after the news comes out that Conboy and Tropp were suspended for the remainder of the season. And a little more on the subject.

Conboy and Tropp Suspended for the Season - Yost Built is more accepting of the punishment meted out.

It’s all our fault! It’s all our fault! - with a takedown of the Spartans' official recap and that State News guy with the DMB necklace.

Puck Daddy:

"It was an unconscionable attack in its brutality; the kind of snap aggression that got Chris Simon blackballed from the NHL; the sort of reckless disregard for both hockey code and human life that put Todd Bertuzzi on a years-long image rehab tour. We've seen gang beat-downs with more social etiquette than this."

I agree with the Maize n Brew stance on whether the law should get involved here, especially since Kampfer escaped serious injury.

Kampfer gives an interview to The Game/the Daily.

"It makes me sick to think that somebody could do that. It’s unnecessary. A shot to the neck that could obviously - I can’t speak for them and say that there was intent. But it’s uncalled for. I understand it’s a heated rivalry, and even more so now. It’s something that we’re not going to forget. The coaches have already told us that. And obviously I’ll remember that the next time we play them."

MGoBlog gets the news that the suspensions have been upgraded to dismissals.

Yost Built on the dismissal.

MLive puts on the journalist hat and talks to Red.

MVictors has the audio of appearances by Summers and Red

53 Seconds Left in the Third Period

Steve Kampfer via The Game/Michigan Daily
Photo: Michigan Daily

I've watched all five Michigan-Michigan State hockey games this year. In all but one, Michigan came out and blasted State off the ice. In that game, the only one played at Munn, Michigan scored three goals in the final five minutes to secure a 5-3 victory. On Friday, Craig and I went down to the Joe. We saw what we expected: Michigan dominating play, making State look shorthanded even on the power play, and another win. Surprisingly, the game didn't get all that chippy until the very end. Saturday was different.

I didn't have a ticket when I woke up, but I hit the Yost box office as soon as it opened and got a seat. Beer and stilton fries at Ashley's, then back down State Street. My seat was in the south end zone, row 5 just behind the goal State would be defending for two periods. The view was partially obscured by the goal judge's booth and by the fence over the tunnel, but it was a better seat than I was expecting. The students demanded to know "WHERE'S THE MIDGET?" when they saw Palmisano in net instead of Lerg.

36 seconds into the period, Rust beat the MSU defense and Palmisano, fooling him and putting the puck in over his left shoulder. After a weird interlude with a review, the goal appeared to be waved off. In reality it was for a Spartan shot that even I could see wasn't a goal. Weird review. We were confused to see the score put up as 1-0. Then Turnbull took a 3-2 pass from Kampfer and made it a 2-0 game. The anemic powerplay even came through. I saw Lebler doing a great job of screening Palmisano as the puck came around the blue line to Burlon and he uncorked one before Palmisano knew he had the puck. 3-0. At one point, the shots were 11-1 in Michigan's favor.

Unfortunately, the scoring didn't switch ends when the teams did. Langlais took a post hoc, ergo propter hoc tripping call for waving his stick at a State player who took two steps then fell, then Sprague did something I didn't see to get sent off. Schepke then sniped one over Hogan's shoulder. The announcer called it a shortie, but I'm sure it was 4-4 hockey. Then a total defensive breakdown off the faceoff let Andrew Rowe walk in and beat Hogan one-on-one. I had no view whatsoever of what happened at the other end of the rink a few minutes later to prompt a review, but the lamp never lit and the review was denied, so the score remained 3-2 after two periods.

Palmisano had straight-up stoned Hagelin twice in the first period, but at the opening of the second Carl darted past the State defense off the faceoff, took the pass from Rust and deposited it in the back of the net just 12 seconds into the period.

This was followed a minute later by Turnbull making a horrible pass across the middle of the ice in his own zone. State just had to step in and take the shot. Hogan was caught and the puck went past him. Turnbull was furious with himself as he deliberately skated back to center ice. He set himself on the press box side of the circle, cussing himself out. Later in his shift, he skated in on the State net only to be dragged down by Brandon Gentile and ridden into the goal. With Turnbull pinned under him, Gentile smacked him in the face and pushed him around. When Turnbull finally got out from under, he was livid and smacked Gentile right back as they continued shoving. Inexplicably, Gentile didn't get an extra two.

Six minutes later, Palushaj was also taken down heading for the net. Again, no call. But Palushaj took Palmisano down with him. No call. Michigan kept the puck in the zone while chaos reigned in front of the net. Palmisano popped back up, looking for the puck, and Summers blasted one past him to push the lead back out to two. After the goal (and the subsequent review), Palmisano knocked the net off its moorings again to have another chat with Likens about what happened.

With only three minutes in the game, Conboy was deep in the Michigan zone with Llewellyn against the boards, then punched him in the face right in front of a ref. This was the second time Llewellyn had gotten facewashed in front of a ref without getting a whistle. Ridiculous no-call that should have put State in a hole for most of the remaining game. Instead, Llewellyn – never one to shy away from taking whatever revenge he can – hit Conboy as soon as he had the opportunity. I was then surprised to see both Conboy and Llewellyn heading to the box. He must have said one of the magic words, but not magical enough to draw a misconduct penalty.

Conboy and Llewellyn jumped out of the box as State was bringing the puck back up through the neutral zone. As Tropp approached the blue line, Kampfer stepped up and laid a solid open-ice hit on him. Tropp saw him comind and stepped into the hit, staying on his feet. Kampfer turned and headed back into his own zone, as Tropp had dumped the puck off. Conboy sucker-punched him high on the back and Kampfer tumbled over. Tropp skated over and slashed him as he lay prone on the ice. A scrum developed, with Miller going after Conboy and Conboy going after anything that moved (Tropp was ready to be all over anything that didn't).

Both Conboy and Tropp were first led to the penalty box. Then Tropp was escorted to the tunnel. We screamed at him as he went by. Then they decided Conboy was done too. By this time, I'd realized it was Kampfer who had again gotten jumped from behind and it was Conboy again with a dirty hit. As he passed under me, I screamed obscenities at him so loudly that one of the scratches came out and stared at me. The student section was going apeshit. Finally, Kampfer got to his knees, then Langlais and Wohlberg helped him off the ice.

I thought about it all going out on FSN with a sort of grim satisfaction. At least there'd be a wide audience who saw what happened; what goons Conboy and Tropp are. I wondered if the visitors' locker room was still just a curtained-off area under the stands and if some of the students were going to start something. The game ended, and after seeing that there wasn't going to be a brawl in the handshake line, I took off before anything else could happen. It was an ugly atmosphere.

I never want to see anything like that again. If I see a guy, regardles of team, go into the boards awkwardly or take a hit from behind, it never fails to give me that little jolt of fear in my chest that maybe this guy isn't getting up. And it's worse when it's Kampfer, and a hundred times worse when he takes a vicious slash when he's on the ground and entirely defenseless. It's a pair of cowardly acts.

Note: I know this post is ridiculously late, but it's my God-given right as a guy on the internet to shoot my mouth off about anything and everything.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Impending Hockey

What's that you hear? Is it an impending HSR liveblog of the Michigan-Bowling Green hockey game on Friday night? Why, yes it is! Our first experiment with Cover It Live went well, so we'll be firing it up again tomorrow night. The game will be streaming live on, so you can be anywhere around the world and still participate. If you like your hockey heavily pixelated but your Sega Genesis died in '98, this is the place for you.

Michigan Hockey Net has put up the results of the CCHA Captains' Poll, which is pretty self-explanatory (The CCHA polls its captains. Ta da). Wolverines figured in quite a few categories, no surprise, but Aaron Palushaj is apparently the league's best shootout shooter, which would seem reasonable if he'd ever participated in a shotout while a Wolverine. But hey, good to know we've got that in our lineup.

Actually, it raises the question of which three Wolverines you want out there on any given night. You'd be justified in just taking the top line of Palushaj-Caporusso-Wohlberg, but that leaves Carl Hagelin on the bench, the source of many a gorgeous goal. And what about Chris Summers? He's got a nice shot and has looked good on his breakaway opportunities this year. Rust was the king of those last season, but I haven't seen him get many opportunities. Brandon Naurato, in that same Captains' Poll, was a runner-up in the Best Wrist Shot category, so you'd want to see what he can do.

Anyway, it's a good problem to have when you have Michigan's offensive depth, but I'd still rather see us simply win all our games in regulation and keep it a hypothetical.