A coach’s daily schedule in the postseason starts in the wee hours of the morning and finishes well into the night. In between exclusive interviews with ESPN and the local media, and conference calls with the NCAA, just about everyone is pulling him in a different direction. And he still needs to find time to coach the team.
Luckily for Michigan coach Red Berenson, he has one of the best staffs in college hockey with more than 25 years experience and 14 Frozen Four appearances between his two assistants – Mel Pearson and Billy Powers. He also has a complete staff to breakdown and disect a season’s worth of game film for Michigan’s three possible opponents next weekend.
“Obviously, we are building up for this all year,” Berenson said. “We have been taping teams off the (satellite) dish for months. We probably have more tapes of Minnesota than we do of Michigan.
“As a head coach, I have a lot of confidence and trust in our staff and know they take a personal pride in doing a good job.”
Berenson said that his coaching staff has a plan for who will handle what video responsibilities before the week begins, so that the work is evenly distributed.
Aiding Berenson and his staff is the modern availability of satellite dish networks, which broadcast college hockey games. These networks allow Michigan to readily scout and collect game film of opposing teams well in advance of a game.
Prior to this telecommunications tool, the staff would have had to request a game tape from an opponent’s opponent, which would likely be several months old. Now, the Wolverines are able to watch film of the last time their opponent played before every game.
But Berenson warns that tapes are not the end all, rather they are used to make Michigan more aware of its opponent’s tendencies.
“(Tapes) are done just so there are no surprises, but they will throw (in) some wrinkles in our game, and we may do the same,” Berenson said.
With a season’s worth of videotape to go through, Berenson has administrative assistant Brian Wiseman and video coordinator Ryan Rezmierski working overtime analyzing game film. Both came to Michigan three years ago and are familiar with the coaching staff.
The day before each game, Wiseman, who played for Michigan from 1991-94, and Rezmierski prepare a tape for the team to view that typically showcases tendencies on a breakaway or a forecheck. At the same time, they make an effort to inform the Wolverines of players that must be keyed on.
“We will show clips of individuals if we see that they are doing some special things out there, and we want our players to really pay attention,” Wiseman said. “We single (out) guys like (Minnesota defenseman Jordan) Leopold (a Hobey Baker Award finalist) to let our players know that he is an offensive threat and tries to jump into a play whenever he can but is still a great defensive defenseman.”
This scouting has already paid off for the Wolverines this postseason. The staff noticed that Denver goaltender Wade Dubielewicz liked to go down when a shooter came in close. That piece of insight allowed freshman Eric Werner to shoot high when he received a feed from junior Mike Cammalleri in tight for the game-tying goal.
“I think it is a great advantage that a program like Michigan has over some other programs that don’t have the resources to bring in outside help to do some of the work,” Wiseman said. “Normally, a lot of the burden would fall on the coaches themselves. It allows them to focus throughout the year on other things like recruiting and practice schedules or traveling.”
Coffee talk: Berenson will be available to talk with fans live on ESPN.com today at 1 p.m about Michigan’s upcoming trip to the Frozen Four.