Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hobey Hat Trick Announced

Your three finalists are: Ryan Duncan, David Brown, and Eric Ehn.

So there ya go. Michigan fans are understandably angry that T.J. Hensick didn't make the final three. I agree that he probably should have at least been a finalist since he led the country in scoring and all, but none of this year's candidates really separated themselves from the field. This year is evidence of how much early defections are hurting college hockey. There is another guy that has matched Hensick's 69 points. Unfortunately, Paul Statsny has scored those 69 points for the Colorado Avalanche, and not the Denver Pioneers where he would have been a junior this season. It reinforces my theory that T.J. Hensick will probably be the last player from a major conference to reach the 200 career point mark for a long time.(Scott Parse ended up 3 points shy of the 200 point mark)

That's not to take anything away from this year's candidates. All three were given tremendous opportunities, and all three seized them.

Ryan Duncan could have easily been a third line forward this season. If Brady Murray, Drew Stafford, Travis Zajac, and Rastislav Spirko hadn't given up their eligibility, most people would have never even heard of Duncan. Instead, he got the opportunity to tag along with two of the most talented players in college hockey and took advantage of it by having a career year.

Nobody has benefited more from Jeff Jackson's arrival at Notre Dame than David Brown. After showing tremendous talent in his freshman year, things went downhill quickly for Brown. His sophomore season was a disaster. He only won 2 of the 15 games he appeared in and had a GAA of 4.30 with a dismal 87% save percentage. But with Jackson at the helm, the Irish were able to turn things around. The amount of shots Brown faced decreased significantly under Jackson, and in turn, his numbers dropped as well. Jackson molded the Irish into an airtight defensive team that rarely gave up quality opportunities, and Brown was the beneficiary.

Eric Ehn had a great season at Air Force. He was among the leading scorers in the nation, and led the Falcons to the Atlantic Hockey playoff championship in their first league in the league. For the most part though, people didn't really notice. Ehn was mentioned as a potential Hobey candidate because of his statistics, but was never really taken seriously. Ehn did get one opportunity though, to show the country what he was capable of, when Air Force drew number one Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA tournament. His Falcons couldn't pull off the upset, but they gave Minnesota a run for their money, and earned the respect of the rest of the country. Ehn had a great season, but if that game against Minnesota wasn't as close, he wouldn't have gotten this far. He is an excellent player though, and definitely deserves to be recognized as one of college hockey's best.

It's tough to say who will win. I see definite pros and cons with each candidate, and like I said, nobody really separated from the field as a clear cut choice. If I had to choose to between the three, I would take Ehn, but I wouldn't be surprised if either Brown or Duncan took home the award.


Siouxnami said...

Hensick suffered because sportsmanship is a component of the award criteria. He show arrogance and poor sportsmanship during the UND game, and in interviews during and after the game.

Almington said...

Ehn in a landslide, his numbers were equivalent to the other top players (admititly against weaker overall competition) but when you add in all the off the ice stuff which is as important as the one the ice performance he just CRUSHES both Brown and Duncan. Ehn gets the benifit of all the early departures as the elite level players seldom return for their junior, let alone senior, seasons.

blockski said...

Hensick's sportsmanship might have prevented him from winning the Hobey, but it should have got him into the top three...

Anonymous said...

It'll be good for college hockey if Ehn gets it.

Anonymous said...

My prediction is that Brown wins it. "Storybook season", as Ryan Miller stated for the must-have. Duncan won't. He's a sophomore and the Hobey has only gone to (I believe) 2 underclassmen in nearly 30 years. I think Ehn's conference will hinder him. He's a junior and the committee may think, "Let's see what he does next season..."

Goon said...

AHA = to substandard competition.
Brown's team had the 40+ power ranking meaning they got well playin weak teams. Duncan should be the Hobey Baker winner.

Anonymous said...

Voting for Hobey is done before the first round of the NCAAs. Ehn's performance against Minnesota didn't factor in to his making the Hobey Hattrick.

Tornado Towers said...

Hilarious that "Siouxnami" would cite lack of sportsmanship as a disqualifier for T.J. Hensick. Coming from a fan of the team that embodies poor sportsmanship he should know it when he sees it.

All you need to know about poor sportsmanship can be found over at Siouxnami is a classic pot calling the kettle black. You would have to go a long way to find a more fitting example of poor sportsmanship, just check some of his posts. They aren't hard to find.

Duncan had a good season. Not deserving of the Hobey however. He had a decent year in the scoring department. His role was quite similar to Ryan Potulny last season. Potulny being the superior player to Duncan and he didn't even make the Hobey Hat Trick. Potulny didn't deserve to be in the Hobey Hat Trick either.

From a purely historical perspective 57 points hardly qualifies Duncan as the Hobey winner.

The knock on Potulny last year was he scored too many of his goals against lower level competition. The same could be said of Duncan. Half of his goals were scored against weaker competition. Check the record.

What was Duncan' plus/minus this season? Was it as bas as TJ Oshie's was last year? Oshie scored a lot but had a pathetic plus/minus.

Ehn gets my vote. He is the complete deal. Hobey Baker by the way was also a pilot.