With outdoor hockey games becoming more common for the Michigan hockey team, one might expect coach Red Berenson to have already had his fill.
As evident by Berenson’s remorse over the recent Winter Classic cancellation , which would’ve pitted the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium, that’s not the case.
“I think these outdoor games are good,” Berenson said. “We’ve had a good time with them, and our team likes them. … Hopefully it’ll happen, but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen this year.”
The Winter Classic’s cancellation means the Great Lakes Invitational will move from Comerica Park, where it was supposed to be held outdoors for the first time ever, back to Joe Louis Arena where it’s traditionally held. This year’s tournament will feature Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan on Dec. 27-28.
“That’s too bad,” Berenson said of last week’s change of plans. “It’s more than too bad. … For the Big House, and the whole city of Detroit and the hockey experience they would’ve had in Comerica (Park), that’s too bad. It won’t be the same.”
Berenson, who Red Wings general manager Ken Holland called a “great Red Wing” in July, had planned to be a part of the festivities, specifically by skating in the event’s alumni game.
TROUBA VERDICT IN: The Wolverines received some much-needed good news Monday when Berenson was informed by CCHA officials that freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba will not receive further punishment for his hit on Northern Michigan’s Reed Seckel in Friday night’s shootout win that earned him a five-minute major penalty.
“They reviewed the tape and they thought the DQ was the right call, and it cost him the last five minutes of the game,” Berenson said.
Trouba also was assessed a game disqualification for the third-period blow to Seckel’s head, meaning he was also forced to sit out Saturday night’s 4-3 loss. Seckel appeared to be seriously injured on the play, but responded by scoring two goals in the Wildcats’ win in the finale.
Trouba’s absence left a major hole in the Michigan defense on Saturday, and though senior forward Jeff Rohrkemper filled in strongly, Trouba’s return will boost the Wolverines.
“He’s played really well for a freshman with a lot of hype and high expectations,” Berenson said. “Like any young defenseman, he’s made some mistakes, but he makes up for them with his effort. He’s really a bright spot.”
SERVILLE PROGRESSING: Michigan’s depleted blue line should regain more of its depth this weekend.
Sophomore defenseman Brennan Serville, who suffered what Berenson called a “facial concussion” against Miami (Ohio), should be back for this weekend’s series against Michigan State, according to Berenson.
Berenson said before the defense can live up to its high preseason expectations, there need to be enough healthy bodies.
“We’ve got to get everybody healthy, number one,” Berenson said. “And then start jelling like we thought we would. Hopefully Serville’s back.”