Earlier today, College Hockey News named Marc Cheverie — Denver’s junior goaltender — its Player of the Year. Later that afternoon, the Hobey Baker Award committee announced that Cheverie was not among the top three vote getters.
We won’t know who wins this year’s Hobey Baker Award until April 9, but we now know it won’t be Cheverie. And that’s just OK with us.
It’s not the first time our Player of the Year was not selected among the final three for the Hobey. In 2006, we chose Minnesota’s Ryan Potulny as POTY. No other player since 1997 has had as many goals as him that season. The next year, we picked Michigan’s T.J. Hensick, who was probably harmed in the eyes of Hobey voters for an egregious penalty he took in mid-season that year. We didn’t consider that in terms of POTY.
The last two years, our POTY and the Hobey winner matched — Kevin Porter and Matt Gilroy. Although, personally, I thought Minnesota’s Ryan Stoa was the best player in the country — albeit he was hurt by playing on a team that didn’t make the NCAAs.
This year, our internal panel was really split down the middle. It wasn’t so much a heated debate as it was just a discussion on philosophy. Should Cheverie be discredited for having been a part of three straight losses to end Denver’s season? And should Geoffrion get a boost for playing hot down the stretch, winning the West Regional MOP, and leading the Badgers to the Frozen Four?
The answer to both questions is definitely yes, but by how much? We certainly wrestled with this question. I think if you asked who should win two weeks ago, then Cheverie would’ve won in a cakewalk. Certainly the postseason is important, but does a couple of games override the whole season? Why would Denver have been without him? The Pioneers saw a scary glimpse of that in November.
Personally, I love Blake Geoffrion. He is an inspirational player, a captain, great on faceoffs, a leader — he has improved tremendously, too, over four years. He is a living example of why staying in school makes sense for most players. He is so much better prepared now for the NHL than he was two years ago.
But in the end, we leaned towards Cheverie.