February 10, 2013 - 6:14pm
BY MICHAEL LAURILA
We’re back again for the fourth installment of the Michigan hockey Alumni of the Week blog. Some of the same faces are appearing from last week, but there are also some new faces of former Wolverine players who had notable enough performances this past week in the NHL.
First up is Max Pacioretty. Pacioretty, who missed four games two weeks ago due to an appendectomy, returned to the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday. The left wingman, who is a 2008 Michigan graduate, tallied two assists this week. Despite the Leafs finishing the week with a pedestrian 1-2-1 record, Pacioretty made a presence on the ice, as one of his assists came during Toronto’s lone victory of the week. Before his appendectomy last week, which sidelined him for a full seven days, Pacioretty had four assists on the year. Last season the New Canaan, Conn. native finished with 33 goals and 32 assists. Despite the shortened season due to the lockout and a slower start than usual, Pacioretty appears to still be one of the Maple Leafs’ top producers.
One of the less heralded players in the NHL, Al Montoya, is the backup goalie for the Winnipeg Jets and next up on our list. Though Ondrej Pavelec has a stronghold on the starting goalie position, Montoya has made the most of his appearances so far. He is 2-0 on the year with an average of 2.67 goals allowed per game. Montoya appeared in just one game for Winnipeg this past week, but it was a shutout victory — his first of the year. Montoya was an ’05 grad and three-year starter for the Wolverines, and also became the first Cuban-American to play in the NHL when he started his career with the Phoenix Coyotes. Since teams have back-to-back games more regularly during this modified season, backup goalies will play a more important role than ever, as it is difficult for one goalie to play every night.
And last but not least is Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano. The 2007 Michigan graduate, who is playing in just his second season for the Ducks after spending his first four with the Edmonton Oilers, has had a decent start so far. He has four assists on the year, but it took him until this past Saturday during the Ducks’ shootout victory over the Blues to tally his first goal. Considering that Cogliano has notched 71 goals and 106 assists in his five-year NHL career, production will likely start to come in less sporadic spurts.
And that’s all she wrote for this week’s blog. Look back next week for another installment of the Alumni blog. We might even look at some of the more recent Michigan graduates who are playing in the AHL for some of the NHL teams’ affiliated organizations.