Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Best Player in College Hockey

I've been pouring through stats and rosters quite a bit this season. There are several things I think I've noticed. I posted my freshman "batting average" in the WCHA (and I'll recalculate that again later in the season) because there quite simply are a lot of WCHA freshman performing really well. I also took a look a couple of weekends ago at the league using the "points lost" model. Those were both interesting to see I thought. This weekend watching games and looking at stats left me with two things in mind to write about. I've always liked when a "little guy" performs well, so in the next couple of days I'll post something about the WCHA's "little guys". But tonight after seeing the word "Hobey" here and there I thought I'd give my impression of who the best player in college hockey is this year. I have no idea if he is currently a Hobey Baker award "candidate"; I don't follow that during the year. Like most people I just wait to hear who they gave it to at the end of the season.

I've seen the Gophers play pretty much everytime they've been on FSN this year. Wooger's "thousand yard stare" did put me to sleep in my recliner during at least one of those games. But I think what I've seen out of Tyler Hirsch leaves no doubt in my mind that he must be the best player in college hockey. Ok. I haven't seen "so and so" from LahDeDah State or "Prescott Winthorpe" from GenericIvy College. I'm way out west and way up north. But I simply can't imagine that there is a player anywhere in the country that plays as elegantly as Tyler. Lemme 'splain what I mean by elegantly.

The kid has passed up I don't know how many legitimate (including more than just a few gimme's) scoring opportunities to pass the puck to someone else. He's been benched twice for a total of 4 games and yet he is currently 3rd in scoring among WCHA players ( and his 1.57pts/game puts him near the top 5 nationally). He sees the ice better than ANY other player on the sheet. He makes delicately tight sweet little passes. He is obviously unselfish. I really haven't noticed one way or another if the kid backchecks effectively. If you're a defenseman approaching Tyler on the rink and his head is up you might as well not even bother trying to get to him. Before you do the puck is going to be on someone else's stick for a scoring chance. That's what I mean by elegant (and the crowd will have their breath taken away). There's no doubt in my mind he is the best player on the Gopher's team this season (yeah yeah ... Okposo, and Barriball and blah blah ... they're freshman ... they don't have near the seasoning and smarts that Tyler shows ... what about Wheeler? Well ... he's a prototypical NHL bound power forward but can't hold a candle to Tyler in terms of talent. So yeah ... Tyler is the best player on the Gophers). And with them being the best team in D-1 then it will be nothing short of a ripoff if Tyler Hirsch doesn't get awarded the Hobey.

*He doesn't qualify for my All-WCHA Little Guy team; he's an inch too tall.


LetsGoDUHockey said...

Hirsh will never win the Hobey due to the "incident" and his academic problems.

Donald said...

I wouldn't disagree. But the way he sees the ice is special and what his does with the puck is unique.

Anonymous said...

Just to give the proper credit, Wheeler doesn't play on the same line as Hirsch and they have only been involved on the same scoring play one time all season. Wheeler's numbers are not a product of Hirsch.

Donald said...

My BAD. I meant Stoa. I'll correct it.

Donald said...

One of em is 6'3" and the other is 6'4". And their numbers are so similar ... Anyone can screw up 17 and 29. Can't they?

Anonymous said...

Outstanding college hockey player.

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