Category Archives: Mailbag

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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Mail Time! (Sorta.)

mailcat

In an effort to become more “in touch” with the community that follow along here at SIM, I have decided to go ahead and start up the ol’ mailbag feature, where you, the readers, send in questions about anything at all, and I answer them in a slightly amusing, yet informative way. There will be no set timeframe for when I will answer these questions, but if it’s important to me, then it will get answered more quickly than someone who wants to know “Why is the sky blue?” or “Is Greg Robinson’s hair real?” (The answer is yes…for both.)

For today’s inaugural edition, it’ll be all questions that I have been asked in person or via twitter (@chollis), as opposed to the e-mail stuff. However, if YOU have a question you want me to ponder and subsequently address, shoot me an e-mail at sleeplessinmichigan@gmail.com. Now then, on to your questions.

Chris,

What do you think about Hossa/Kopecky/Samuelsson/Conklin/Hudler all leaving the Red Wings this off season? Who’s the biggest surprise in your mind?

-Steve

Seattle, WA

If you’re surprised about this being the first question, you obviously don’t A) read the blog enough or B) follow Detroit sports. The Red Wings off season has been dissected more carefully than a frog in a freshman biology class. Opinions range from “extreme anger” to “they deserve this” to “they could lose everyone except Zetterberg and Franzen and STILL win the Cup.”

I’d say I am somewhere in the middle. I never had any doubt that Tomas Kopecky  and Mikael Samuelsson were out the door. Initially, I really thought we would keep Ty Conklin, but as the numbers situation kept developing, it quickly became obvious that we had nowhere to stash both him and Jimmy Howard, so losing Conks isn’t a huge surprise in the end. Which leaves us with the two head-cases: Marian Hossa and Jiri Hudler.

marian-hossa jiri-hudler-26

Quite frankly, we should have seen this coming with Hossa. He’s been a mercenary pretty much his whole career, and with the Wings inking Zetterberg and Franzen to long term deals, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Hossa. Except he started talking about wanting to stay. And we got greedy. Then, like a bad one night stand, Hossa rolled to our division rival, and the media claimed we were taking the “walk of shame.” Spare me.

Look, I can admit guilt and say I wanted Hossa to stay around. But as this mess dragged on, I quickly lost respect for him and realized that he wasn’t sticking around. Ken Holland and the Wings organ-i-zation did everything they could to keep him, and he just wasn’t willing to take the hometown discount. So be it. Happy trails.

Now, about Hudler…

MC,

Hudler? WTF?

David P.

Westland, MI

Look, WTF is right. Yes, I said I thought he was gone when the season ended, but that was under the assumption that we would get Hossa to stay. When Hossa jumped ship, Hudler seemed to be a pretty sure bet to stick around. Then Sammy bolted, and Hudler looked even better. Next thing ya know, we have arbitration on our hands. OK, it could be worse. Then, BOOM! Here comes the KHL throwing around boatloads of tax free money to a kid like Hudler, and he is outtie 5000. But before Wings fans can even be pissed, the NHL and USA Hockey are claiming foul and a hearing is in the works with the IIHF. Meanwhile, the Wings can’t sign any free agents because we still have to go to arbitration with Huds to determine his future contract, since he is still our property, plus the stink the NHL and USA Hockey are raising could wind up bringing “Happy” back this season. A bonafide “Hockey Cold War” is underway and the Wings are stuck watching the free agent market deplete.

To get to the point: let Hudler go. He wants the jingle, so let him make his jingle. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If a guy doesn’t want to be here, show him the door. We have so much talent waiting in line, and I guarantee you those guys will work for every friggin’ inch on the ice. Get Hudler out of town, sign a free agent like Mike Grier or P.J. Axelsson and get back to work.

Chris,

Are the Tigers the real deal this season? Is this the year we finally win the division? And what do you think our chances are of doing some damage in the playoffs (if we make it)?

Ace

Toledo, OH

So we are at the All Star break and are hanging on to a 3.5 game lead in the division right now. 75 games to play. I’m not convinced we win the division.

The Tigers have the talent to do it this year, and they very well may take the Central, but they have been plagued by inconsistency this entire season. Some nights, this team looks like world beaters. Other nights, they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. I think the starting pitching gives them a shot to win on any given night (except Armando Galarraga, who is so up and down that I am getting whiplash), but the bats still aren’t instilling alot of confidence in me. Here’s the good thing, though: Leyland has had plenty of time to get a good look at some of the younger guys, and he knows he has options as we head into the division race.

As far as the division goes, it’s all about who gets hot at the right time. The White Sox made a steady push heading into the break and we know the Twins will be lurking the entire rest of the season. But is it ours to take? Absolutely. Solid pitching and some consistent hitting should give us as good a chance as anyone else at winning the Central.

As far as the playoffs go, I think it’s too early to tell. If they started today, I don’t know that we make it out of the ALDS. The Red Sox, Yankees and Angels could all easily take us down, and the aforementioned inconsistent play would do us no favors. That said, there are 75 games to go and alot could happen. Let’s see how the division shakes out first.

Let’s wrap it up on a fun note…

Dude,

Worse GM: Glen Sather or Dale Tallon?

J

Scoreless tie.

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