The Michigan-Michigan State football rivalry even rises up in the Detroit Red Wings’ dressing room, especially when former Spartans Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller played in Detroit.
Today’s Red Wings roster doesn’t have a former Spartan to verbally joust with former Michigan hockey players Dylan Larkin and Andrew Copp. But Abdelkader and Miller should know that at least a couple of Detroit players are representing for the Spartans even if they didn’t attend the school.
“I don’t know if my heart is with Michigan State, but just don’t think it’s with Michigan,” said goalie Alex Nedeljkovic said.
What you should know about Nedeljkovic is that he is from Ohio. That should tell you everything.
— Ron Bohning (@RonBohning) November 28, 2021
“I don’t know if I like anybody in the game, but it is probably more I’d just like to see Michigan lose,” Nedeljkovic said.
Nedeljkovic was clearly having some fun. Asked to name one thing he likes about the Michigan Wolverines, he said: “They have a nice golf course.”
The unranked Spartans face the No. 4 Wolverines tonight at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN). That’s a half hour after the opening faceoff for the Red Wings’ home game against the Minnesota Wild. Larkin and Copp will likely be able to see the end of the football game after their game is over.
“Michigan’s gonna win I hope,” Larkin said. “We have a game so I won’t be paying attention that close.”
But it seems likely the Red Wings will post the score on the scoreboard and maybe show highlights.
“I hope so,” Larkin said. Hope it’s a good score. I hope our crowd is not too affected by it. Obviously it’s a big game but hopefully our fans have been great this year. We’ve relied on their energy that they brought in the first few games. We’re gonna need that on Saturday.”
Nedeljkovic isn’t the only person in the dressing room looking for a Spartan victory. Finnish goalie Ville Husso professed not to know much about college football, but said he was going for Michigan State
He said he was siding with Michigan State just because Larkin and Copp went to Michigan.
“If I win, maybe I chirp them a little bit,” Husso said.
Larkin said it was “surprising” to find out Husso backed the Spartans.
“That’s my first bone to pick with him,” Larkin said.
The fact that Michigan is favored by more than three touchdowns didn’t faze Husso.
“It’s one game so you never know,” Husso said. “It’s a big matchup. The whole state of Michigan will be watching.”
Nedeljkovic was just having some fun. Does he believe Michigan State will beat Michigan.
“No,” he said. “I have seen Michigan State play this season.”