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Monday, November 26, 2007

A week in Hockeytown

My trip home to Michigan for Thanksgiving began in rotten fashion.

My alma mater, Michigan, lost for the sixth time in seven years to Ohio State. Two days later, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr confirmed what everybody had been speculating - his retirement.

Despite the Wolverines' lousy start, including falling victim to the biggest upset in college football history, and his record vs. the Buckeyes the last seven years, Carr was a class coach who will be missed.

It speaks volumes about Carr's person when he quotes poetry during his news conference. There's more to the man than football. It's not often the media applaud a coach at the end of his news conference. Carr is one of the last of a rare breed of coaches. The Michigan philosophy preached, the team, the team, the team, and Carr embraced it.

As for Michigan's next coach, I don't think it's going to be Les Miles. I've a gut feeling that it's going to be Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly (right). He coached Division II Grand Valley State in Michigan to two national championships then took a Central Michigan team from 4-7 to 9-4 and a MAC Championship three years later.

Despite growing up in Michigan, I've never attended a Lions Thanksgiving game. Hockey, on the other hand, is pretty big in my family. We spent the day before Thanksgiving watching the Red Wings take on the St. Louis Blues.

There's a lot of talk in Detroit that the Wings will have a sub-par season's attendance because of all the financial difficulties and employment hardships in the state. There were a lot of empty seats, more so than usual. We were less than 10 rows from the top of the arena, and the tickets were $50 each. I don't understand how the NHL can price out the average fan like it does. They've worked out the CBA with the players, so that it's more cost effective for teams. Salaries may be more cost effective for owners, but fans aren't seeing any trickle-down effect.


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