Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hobey Watch

My Top 3
1. Kevin Porter
2. Ryan Jones
3. Ryan Lasch

Mannino drops off my list after a rough weekend. I still don't feel like there's a solid number 2 candidate in the field.

INCH Hobey Tracker

Is here.

1. Gerbe
2. Porter
3. Lasch

CSTV Hobey Tracker

Is here.

1. Porter
2. Gerbe
3. Jones

Porter is still the unanimous choice. Jones is closing in on Gerbe for second.

Elliot Olshansky made a case last week in favor of Nate Gerbe being a candidate. In my mind, it's not an issue of not liking Gerbe, or thinking he doesn't live up to the tradition of the award. Gerbe shouldn't be a Hobey candidate for the same reason he can't be in the Daughters of the American Revolution. He doesn't meet the criteria for the award. It's as simple as that.

On a very different note, I received an email question from a reader in Canada who questioned whether the award hurt college hockey's image, since past award winners have been kind of hit-or-miss at the NHL level(Sejna, Lessard, Krog, etc.). He asked if it would be better if the Hobey Baker, or a similar MVP-type award, went to younger players that looked primed for great NHL careers(Statsny, Toews, Kessel, etc.).

My response was that I think it would be hard to justify giving an award to players like that because even though they have blossomed since leaving college, they weren't the best players on the ice while in college. But I don't think that hurts college hockey's image, so much as it helps it.

If there seems to be one hard and fast rule in hockey development, it's that it is always better to play against older, stronger competition than it is to dominate against kids your own age. Even the OHL acknowledges this fact. A big reason that John Tavares was granted "exceptional player status," and allowed to enter the OHL a year early, while John McFarland, who also applied, did not was because Tavares had played up a year against older competition, while McFarland did not. They determined Tavares was more ready for the next level of competition because of it.

That's what the NCAA provides to top prospects. They're not able to dominate right away because they're going up against bigger, faster competition, but it has certainly served many of them well at the next level.


Anonymous said...

Just look at all the Heisman trophy winners that faltered in the NFL. You can apply this to baseball as well.

blockski said...

I was about to say, has the Heisman hurt college football's image? Of course not.

Since you mentioned that the initial writer asking the question is a Canadian, I'm going to assume that they don't fully understand or appreciate the role of collegiate athletics in the US, especially as they relate to professional leagues. I remember trying to explain to a couple of europeans how many Americans like collegiate sports, often preferring them to the pros. They couldn't understand why anyone wouldn't want to watch the highest level of competition.

College sports are so tied to place, to the school, to tradition, and to the overall experience, that it's hard to translate all that context to someone who's not familiar with it.

rr said...

Blockski hit it right on the button. Case in point being Lane MacDonald. Hobey winner from Harvard. His dad was a former NHL player and Lane had NHL level talent. But he didn't have any interest in advancing to the NHL. (at least that is what I remember)

Apparently winning a National Championship and a Hobey Baker award was the pinnacle for him. (and graduating with a degree from Harvard) More power to that line of thinking.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Lerg is THE Hobey candidate as the big time clutch goalie from MSU.