The Mailman Cometh!

mailman

Just like this fine postal worker, I too am committed to reading the mail and answering those oh-so pertinent questions, no matter how strong the flood is. (Get it? Flood. Like “flood of mail”. Never mind.)

Without further ado, let’s get it on!

Dude,

You’ve been surprisingly quiet about the whole Patrick Kane beat down incident. What’s up with that? And what do you think about the love affair with the Blackhawks this year? Can they get it done, or is this an organization that’s headed into disarray?

J.P.

Joliet, IL

First things first, let’s talk about the expectations in Chicago. On paper, this Blackhawks team should pretty much blow fools out of the water. They can score and they can D up. They have good balance. They have plenty of youth and boatloads of talent. But, quite frankly, does anybody (outside of Chicago) really feel THAT good about this team right now? Yes, this team is fresh off of the WC Finals last year. But let me make something very clear here: there is a HUGE difference in making it to the WC Finals with no pressure on you, as opposed to making it to the conference/Cup finals with the expectations of an entire city and most of the league media staring you right in the face. Talent-wise, Chicago has the ability to do it. But take those expectations and add to them a ridiculously loaded division with at least one other up-and-coming  team of young guys licking their lips, as well as the gold standard franchise who just happens to be the two time defending Western Conference champion and your biggest rival, and all of a sudden, that hill is looking a bit steeper than it did before. And let’s not forget about the ‘Hawks “proven” goaltending in Cristobal Huet. I’m telling you right now, the Blackhawks can win the division. But don’t be surprised if they don’t.

As for “20 Cent” Kane: Look, I made dumb mistakes as a kid too. But none of them involved beating on a cab driver over a matter of two dimes. And for those of you who are shouting “but he locked them in the CAB!!!!” right now, I offer you this: I can say with a solid amount of certainty that if I got locked in a cab by an overaggressive driver, my first move would be to my cell phone to call the cops. If the asshole takes my phone or something, then it’s time to pull out my best Brock Lesnar impression and whoop some ass. Unless it’s the cab driver from The Bone Collector, in which case I would probably just scream like a sissy.

In any case, Kane made a mistake, he’s sorry, and he’ll just have to deal with whatever punishment he gets for the crime. And the probability that he’s going likely to see quite a bit of loose change on the ice this year. As for his future transportation, might I recommend a chauffer by the name of Johan?

franzen-steals-kanes-mouthguard

Next.

Hollis,

Michigan Football. 6-6. Right, wrong, or none of the above? I’ll hang up and listen.

Keith

Livonia, MI

Let me put it to you like this, Keith. Every person that has stopped me and asked me what I think about the Wolverines this year has gotten the same response: 6-6. So in a way, I suppose that makes your assessment pretty accurate. But let me caveat that by saying that I am infinitesimally more excited about this season than I was last season. I guess that’s what happens when you actually get talented players playing the important positions on the field, as opposed to a QB who might be able to lead a UM-Dearborn squad to an intramural flag football championship.

To be completely frank, I have no idea what’s going to happen this year. I expect this team to be much better than last year’s version, but they will still be  young at the skill positions, and depth issues continue to plague the defensive line. Tate Forcier has been excellent in practice so far, which is encouraging, but at the same time, he’s young and inexperienced and hasn’t competed in an actual game situation yet.

LON HORWEDEL,THE ANN ARBOR NEWS 
Incoming freshman Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier throws on the run while doing quarterback passing drills during Saturday, March 21st's practice at UM's practice field outside of Schembechler Hall.

According to SI, Michigan will go 7-5, but only 3-5 in conference. Not really encouraging. However, that would mean a win over The Slob and Jimmah, which would give me great satisfaction. However, that 3-5 conference mark doesn’t really do it for me. In Big Ten play, we get Indiana, Penn State, Purdue and the Bucknuts at the Hoose, and go on the road against Sparty, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Hmmm. You’re telling me that we can’t win four of those Big Ten matchups? Let’s dissect.

For the sake of the argument, let’s call the PSU and OSU games a loss. That leaves six games on the conference schedule. We *should* beat Indiana. The Illini Juiced us last year, and we never seem to look all that impressive in Champaign, so mark us down for an L there. Iowa will be a huge test, and a probable L, but stranger things have happened. OK, so here we sit at a probable 1-4 in the conference, with games against Sparty, Wisconsin and Purdue left. We hung with Sparty and Purdue, and beat Bucky last year, so these games are pretty much toss-ups. Best guess? Coin toss in East Lansing, win over Purdue and a tough L in Badger Country, where we never seem to do well. Which gives us either 3-5 or 2-6 in the conference. Depending on how non-conference play goes – 3 wins, with a 4th over ND very possible – we are looking at a CHollis projection of anywhere between 5-7 and 7-5, with the most likely outcome…6-6.

All of that just to wind up at .500. Here’s the key for the Wolverines, though: take care of business in the non-conference games. If we can enter conference play with a 4-0 record, all of a sudden that eight win season is viable. Long shot? Probably. But who knows how well this team will come together by then. For now, 6-6 it is*.

*I’ll update this prediction after I get a look at the squad on opening day. It’ll be nice to get back to watching football properly: from the stands.

Hey there!

How do you think the Lions will do this season? And do you think Matt Stafford is the answer at QB? Thanks!

Daniel P.

Sterling Heights, MI

Hang on…I’m counting. Right. I had 27 almost identical e-mails hit my inbox over the past 3-4 weeks. So to you, Daniel, and to your 27 cohorts, friends, like-minded fans or whatever you want to be called, here’s my prediction:

45428_Lions_Stafford_Football

The Lions will finish with a record of somewhere between “Not really sure” and “I could give a flying f**k”. It’s nothing against you, Daniel, and nothing against the Lions really. I would just encourage all of you readers out there who are even thinking about sending me a Lions question to READ. THE. “ABOUT”. PAGE.

Thank you.

And finally (been saving this one)…

CHollis,

I know you’re a Tigers fan living out in Seattle, but man, what happened the last time Seattle came and played in Comerica?!?!? I hope your friends didn’t give you too much crap!

Anyways, with one more series against the M’s left this year, you have a chance at redemption. With the season series tied 3-3 and three games remaining, will the Tigers allow you to proudly walk the streets in your “D” apparel, or will you have to take crap from your Mariners buddies?

Pete

Lansing, MI

Well, I didn’t take much crap from anyone since I’m not sure THAT many people really noticed, but I was still embarrassed nonetheless.

Anyways, here’s how I think it goes down this week:

  • M’s take Game 1: Porcello has been good. Hernandez is better.
  • Tigers take Game 2: Uh, it’s Verlander vs. Snell. Think about it.
  • Tigers take Game 3: Washburn hits the bump vs. his old squad and collects his first win of the season. It’s close though, as Rowland-Smith pitches a good one for the M’s (I saw him do it in person against the Yanks last Friday.)

Tigers win the season series 5-4. I triumphantly parade through the streets of Seattle in my Old English D and piss of the eight or so fans the city has. All is right with the world.

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