With two weeks to reflect on a dismal seven-game stretch, a passage Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson called one of the worst he can remember in his 30 years, the Wolverines (2-5) sat down individually with their coaching staff.

In each meeting, the point was to discuss two things: personal performance and individual development.

“We kind of divided the first half of the year up into segments — this is a seven-game segment and the next segment will be eight games,” Berenson said. “So where we are as individuals, how we performed and the things we have to do better.”

Each sit-down was filled with personalized, “honest feedback” based solely on games played. Even if for some, such as freshmen Alex Talcott and Cutler Martin, that sample size includes just two starts.

Experienced players like sophomore forward JT Compher, who is transitioning back into his natural center position after skating five games as a right-winger, were also told there are adjustments to be made.

“There’s just a sense that everyone can do more,” Compher said. “That was definitely the case in my meeting. I think that there’s a lot of room for improvement from what I’m doing right now and what I can be doing better to improve my play for the rest of the year.”

And whatever the experience level or skill in question, each player has had to develop a plan for improvement.

“It’s just been a real poor performance overall,” Berenson said. “And sometimes, you’ve just got to face it and say ‘OK, now what do we do?’ We’re doing that as a team, but we’re looking at every individual as well.”

Despite individualized attention, the team’s emphasis remains on defense.

Michigan will get a defensive boost with the return of senior Andrew Sinelli, who missed four games due to injury. Sinelli has seen time as both a defenseman and forward this season, and is expected to start as a forward on one of the top lines Friday.

“Whether he’s forward or ‘D,’ he brings good speed and a physicality that we’ve been lacking up front,” Compher said.

NO SHAVE MO-VEMBER: Two weeks into Novemeber, the Michigan hockey team, coaches included, boasts a little extra facial hair on the ice.

The second annual Michigan Moustaches for Men’s Health initiative, in partnership with the University of Michigan Health System and the Movember Foundation, aims to raise awareness for prostate cancer, among other men’s health issues.

And though several players have had to shave their moustaches early for job interviews, others have gotten especially creative. Junior forward Justin Selman has his shaved to a thin pencil moustache, taking a nod from former alternate captain Derek DeBlois.

“Some guys look terrible, some guys look pretty good,” Sinelli said. “So we poke some fun.”

Berenson said he dislikes this year’s upper-lip hair as much as he did last year, but is in support of the cause and his players enthusiasm nonetheless. The Wolverines are happy with their head coach’s commitment, but have a bone to pick with other members of the coaching staff.

“Make sure you get in there that (assistant coach Brian) Wiseman shaved his, and the boys aren’t happy about it,” Sinelli said.

MOURNING A MICHIGAN LEGEND: Wally Grant, a three-time All-American who tallied 146 points in four years at Michigan, passed away last Wednesday at the age of 86.

A native of Eveleth, Minnesota, Grant came to Ann Arbor in 1945 without a scholarship in hopes of earning a spot on the Michigan hockey team. His game-winning goal against Dartmouth in 1948 earned the Wolverines their first national championship.

Grant is credited with starting the “Eveleth Express,” a pipeline of skaters from the small town who helped Michigan win six NCAA titles in 10 years under coach Vic Heyliger.

In 1994, Grant was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He was a Legend of Michigan Hockey, a member of the University of Michigan Hall of Honor and the Dekers Club Hall of Fame.

“Although his career was outstanding, his relationship with the program was even more outstanding,” Berenson said in a statement. “He and his wife Mickey have been solid supporters in every regard. They’ve done whatever it takes to support this hockey team and all of the players and the program in general.”

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