Nice Things About Miami
By Elliot Olshansky - October 29, 2007
OK, so it didn't exactly take Nostredamus to predict that Miami would be the new No. 1 in the polls today, but it beats feeling like NostreDUMBus, as I did after trying to pick the first weekend's games.
Of course, I couldn't have predicted before the season that I'd be complaining if Miami made it to the top of the polls.
And I did, just a little.
Of course, that has more to do with North Dakota than it does to do with Miami. I understand how the poll works in the early weeks of the season - the best undefeated team is No. 1 - but it rarely seems so silly as it does with North Dakota, a team that has four shutouts in five games (ok, four and two-thirds). But I wrote about that yesterday.
All of that, of course, has nothing to do with Miami, and in all fairness, Miami has done plenty to earn the No. 1 ranking. The RedHawks are 6-0-0 on the season, with wins over Vermont, Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha. The RedHawks are scoring four and two-thirds goals per game, and allowing one and a third. Jeff Zatkoff hasn't been as mind-blowingly brilliant as Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, but a .951 save percentage and a 1.2 goals-against average are just fine, thank you very much.
Most important, though, the RedHawks have done all of this despite losing Nathan Davis to a separated shoulder in the first game of the season. Losing your best player - and not just a great scorer, but a fantastic two-way forward - is a tough blow, but Miami's absorbed it astoundingly well against some pretty tough competition.
Obviously, I haven't seen Miami in person yet, but there are certain things about that program that I can safely assume haven't gone away, things like work ethic, commitment to team defense, intensity, physicality, puck movement...you get the idea. Ryan Jones is the captain, and from what I've seen of him, he sets the tone for the RedHawks even more than Davis. So, Miami being this good without Davis is surprising, but not jaw-dropping stunning surprising.
But think about this: just imagine how good Miami will be when Davis comes back.
I really shouldn't write things like this late at night...fans of other teams reading it could have bad dreams.
Posted by Elliot Olshansky at 11:36 PM on October 29, 2007