As part of Inside College Hockey's A-Z series this pre-season, Paul Crowder has been profiled. INCH seems to be doing a relatively good job writing these A-Z player profiles. It has got to be substantially more work than it first appears so I'm not going to be critical in any way. But I can certainly add some information.
Crowder's 24 points last season were the most by a Seawolf rookie since 1992-93 (Alaska Anchorage's first go-round in the WCHA) when the immortal Petri Tuomisto scored 26 points.
Nice information. It's likely that I wouldn't have tracked down that nugget. Potentially more interesting is that two other rookies trailed closely: Josh Lunden at 20pts and Kevin Clark at 17pts. Having three rookies perform well enough to be close to a 15 year old statistical high bodes well for the next three years eh?
Mike Eidelbes (pronounced IDLE-BUS ... and by the way a perfect name for writing about hockey) goes on to characterize the team positively:
Despite a 10th-place finish in the WCHA last year, the Seawolves have plenty on which to build. UAA won the season-opening Nye Frontier Classic, beat rival Alaska thrice to capture the Governor's Cup, swept a series from eventual Frozen Four participant North Dakota, and sat two games above .500 on New Year's Day before losing 13 of its last 17 games.
One team accomplishment he missed was the win on Gopher home-ice during the WCHA playoffs (a first for any WCHA team since they started playing at Mariucci). But a tidbit like that is usually only embraced by folks like us that follow the program closely. The highlight of the article for me is the summary of Shyiak's plan for Crowder this year.
And finally Shyiak's direct comments about Paul:
Crowder, naturally, will be crucial to the Seawolves' continued growth. Specifically, Shyiak would like to see the forward, who typically looks to pass first and shoot second, to take the puck to the net and fire away. He'll also encourage Crowder to use his skating ability to gain more speed through the neutral zone on the rush, forcing defensemen to make a hasty decision — either step up and have Crowder run you over or sidestep you, or drop back and give him the time and space to create scoring chances.
"His greatest attribute is consistency, and he's very, very coachable. He's great on faceoffs, is a good penalty killer, has solid defensive awareness and is an effective fore-checker. He can play the finesse game, but he also likes to hit [and] play a physical brand of hockey."
All in all (as I said before) a very well done profile which exceeds what I'm capable of doing due to my lack of "media" credentials. I'll just continue to hang my hat on my observations of Paul's excellent use of a tool that seems to be missing from many young players; a quality backhand shot. Pretty close to half of Crowder's goals last year came on the backhand.