Season 4, Episode 6 of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast from Tech Hockey Guide; The Rest Of The Story. This week, Tim Braun, Dustin Lindstrom, Rob Gilreath and Matt Cavender were joined by College Hockey News contributor and author of the College Hockey Insider newsletter Mike McMahon. In this episode they discussed Jess Meyer’s TheRinkLive article on Mel Pearson, Matt’s article on David Johnston, previewed Tech’s upcoming series against St. Lawrence University, and reviewed last weekend’s series against Bemidji State.
Mike McMahon’s background
Mike started things off by sharing a little about his background. He attended Merrimack College, and while there looked for a way to help with the hockey program. He talked about getting a position which was essentially a hockey operations position (before this became an official positions at schools) booking flights, travel and hotel rooms for the team. College Hockey News launched during his senior year and he started working there and has been there since.
Mel Pearson Conversation
A large portion of this week’s episode focused on Jess Meyer’s recent TheRinkLive article on Mel Pearson. Tim asked Mike for his thoughts and Mike started by talking about how Jess should have pushed back on Mel a little more. Mike also talked about how many of Mel’s claims in Jess’s story were refuted in the WilmerHale report. Mike said that it was a lot to unpack and that it was very much what he expected. The guys talked about how there was no real responsibility taken by Mel during the whole process. Matt talked about an audio clip in TheRinkLive article where Pearson claimed there would be information surfacing that would clear his name, but he is still waiting to see it.
The guys compared Mel’s handling of player injuries to Joe Shawhan, and the night and day difference between the two. Tim talked about recent instances where some Tech players were medically cleared to play, but Joe chose not to play them because he felt the players still were not 100% ready. Mike talked about coaches being salesmen and trying to get kids to come to their school.
The guys discussed the timing of Mel’s dismissal from the University of Michigan and how long it was dragged out. They were all surprised it took so long to fire Mel, and all of the guys wondered what “skeletons in the closet” Mel had on Michigan Athletic Department and Athletic Director Warde Manuel. Mike told a story about a press conference at the 2022 Frozen Four after Michigan was eliminated and how uncomfortable Warde looked when Mel was speaking. There was conversation reflecting back to the summer and all of the rumors that were flying around about who Michigan was going to hire as Mel’s replacement.
David Johnston Impressions
The guys transitioned over to discussing Matt’s recent article on David Johnstone’s time at Michigan Tech. Mike talked about how the story made him sad and he also talked about the unfortunate fact that it’s probably not a unique story across college hockey. Mike related the story to his own experience of having to trust other people with his kids as they get older and move on to different leagues and programs. Matt talked about how difficult it was to put the article together. The guys talked about how more and more players are beginning to feel comfortable enough to speak out against coaches in these situations. The guys also discussed how it seems that Joe Shawhan genuinely cares about his players and puts their interests above his own.
Insight into St. Lawrence
Tim asked Mike for his thoughts on St. Lawrence since Mike is an east coast guy. Mike talked about St. Lawrence being a very good skating team, but added that they can be prone to mistakes. Ultimately, Mike said that if Tech struggles to handle good skating teams they’ll struggle against St. Lawrence. Tim got sad that he might not have a fun time in Houghton this weekend if that is the case. Later in the episode, none of the regular guys had anything to add about St. Lawrence other than Rob commenting that he hopes there are less Tech turnovers.
The Joe Show
There was a brief conversation on The Joe Show from this week. Rob thought that Joe did a good job at tempering down fans expectations for the year. Dustin thought that Joe was calling some players out when Joe talked about needing to work on the stuff you’re not good at and commit to playing hockey. Tim talked about Tech playing two forwards at defense this past weekend over a freshman true defenseman.
Tim finally caved and agreed with Matt that the 3v3 overtime from this past weekend was fun. Matt’s assessment on the weekend was that Friday Tech was outplayed and was happy with how Tech responded on Saturday. He gave Tech a C- on the weekend. Tim was disappointed to see that Bemidji put up 40+ shots and the guys discussed Tech’s “no goal” call as a result of Arvid Caderoth interfering with the Bemidji goaltender. The guys also talked about the line brawl that occurred between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Cut for time
This week’s cut time for Patrons is approximately 35 minutes long. There was extended discussion on and reaction to Jess Meyer’s article on Mel Pearson. There was discussion on the timing of the University of Michigan firing Pearson. The guys discussed the transfer portal and how it offers players a way out of bad coaching situations. Dustin talked about farming. The guys talked about the Misfits body painting this past weekend. Rob talked about his recent travels. The guys played “guess the NHL team” and discussed The Russian Five book and documentary.
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