Sunday, March 15, 2009

2009 MN Mr. Hockey

Congrats to future Gopher Nick Leddy on being awarded the 2009 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award. Well deserved and a nice way to wrap up a great season.

Of course, as there is any year (especially whenever a Gopher recruit wins the award), there is a certain amount of whining that goes on from some fans of a few other candidates.

For instance there is always the whining about Gopher bias to the award. Of course, this talk neglects a few facts. First, the Gophers have no more votes in the process than any of the other D1 programs in Minnesota. Second, out of the last nine winners, five of the winners were committed to a school OTHER THAN the Gophers (Ryan McDonagh, Brian Lee, Tom Gorowsky, Nate Dey, and Marty Sertich). I guess during those years, the conspiracy memo didn't make it around to the voters.

The other thing I would mention is I saw some commentary by one individual that discussed who was doing the voting. To paraphrase, the remark was essentially that "high school and media should vote. Not college coaches or pro scouts." The problem with this logic is that the award would be voted on in a less educated manner if this was how it was done.

How often do you think most HS coaches outside of the St. Cloud part of the state see Little Falls HS games? How about HS coaches from NW MN seeing Eden Prairie games? How about a coach from Rochester seeing Duluth East games? They would see these candidates VERY seldom.

HS coaches are going to (mostly) be limited to what they see in their own conference/area since they are hardly going to be traveling around the state to watch other teams/players during the season. They don't have the time or opportunity to scout a ton of players unless it is a team they will be playing in the near future. There is no way that HS coaches are going to have a fair idea of the other candidates that do not reside in their own area.

If anything, the HS coaching vote would probably be more biased toward metro area candidates since most metro coaches see a wider variety of HS teams than your typical outstate coach because the density of teams is much better in the Twin Cities.

Same thing goes for media. How many media people from Duluth do you think make it down to specifically watch a Twin Cities player like Nick Leddy? Or how about a Minneapolis area media person going to Little Falls to watch Ben Hanowski? Once again, VERY seldom. Much as it is with HS coaches, the media tend to be limited to their local vicinity when it comes to getting out and watching potential candidates. Not to mention, the media are the least educated about the game when it comes down to it. If anybody ought to be taken out of the equation for Mr. Hockey, I would pick the media.

At least with how it is currently voted on, the majority of the votes are cast by people that do get out and see the various candidates on more than one occasion. D1 coaches and pro scouts see these kids numerous times throughout the year because it is their job to scout these players (or other players in the same game). If anything, these are exactly the people that should vote on such an award because they can actually cast a vote with the knowledge that they have seen the candidates often enough to have a valid opinion.

The ironic thing about this year is that if it wasn't for a football injury, there very likely wouldn't even be a debate to be had as Zach Budish would have walked away with this award.

In any case, congrats Nick. It will be great to see you at the U of M next fall.