Net Difference

By Elliot Olshansky - February 21, 2007


You know, all season long, I've been saying that it will be very difficult for a goaltender to win the Hobey Baker Award. Well, it would appear that I was just plain wrong. After all, two of the top three players in this weeks Hobey Watch are goaltenders, as John Curry moves up to third following a very impressive weekend against New Hampshire.

And that's not all...for the first time this season, I voted for a goaltender at No. 1.

Yes, this is my ballot from this week, folks:

1. John Curry
2. T.J. Hensick
3. David Brown
4. Eric Ehn
5. Nathan Davis

As you can see, David Brown got back onto my ballot for the first time in over a month. Brown, you see, shot my "he doesn't lose games, but he doesn't win them" criticsm to hell when he shut out Alaska on the road (and that's one long road) for a 1-0 win to clinch the CCHA regular-season title.

However, I think it might be just a bit more surprising that Mr. "A Goalie Won't Win the Hobey" voted John Curry in the top spot this week.

I think I hinted at this a bit in my analysis last week: even though T.J. Hensick is on pace for a 60-point season, his goal total is likely to be on the low side as Hobey candidates go (although a couple more nights like his two-goal performance against Lake Superior at the Joe could change that). Whether that's going to make a difference to voters is something I really don't know, but I think it could open things up for a goalie to win the Hobey this year. Based on what Curry has done for the Terriers this season (and what they've needed him to do), the former walk-on is that goalie, as far as I'm concerned.

Call me crazy, but I think this is our Hobey Hat Trick here, barring a major meltdown by one of the goalies (and somehow I doubt that will happen to either, as both have been the model of consistency). Last year, the Hobey Watch got the Hat Trick wrong, picking Ryan Potulny over Chris Collins. Of course, our voters were voting in terms of who should win, rather than who would win, but the real issue was that the panel didn't include a candidate from the East. Given that the Hobey voters come from all over, I think you'd have to have a real down year in the East to get an entirely western Hat Trick.

Given that, I think John Curry is the best Hobey candidate out of the East, which should put him in the Hat Trick. That leaves Brown and Hensick. Of course, Nathan Davis was looking like the frontrunner not too long ago, but of course, that changed when the RedHawk junior cooled off and his team did the same. Hensick has a good hold on that spot after the way he and the Wolverines have come on, and while he's the most vulnerable of the three, I think the senior Wolverine will hold off Davis. That leaves Brown, who's been in the mix from the beginning, and he's not going anywhere.

So, who wins? Someone very deserving. You could have a "rags to riches" story, either Curry's transformation from walk-on to All-American and then some, or Brown backstopping Notre Dame from the CCHA basement to the regular-season title and the No. 1 ranking in the span of two years. Then, there's Hensick, who was a Hobey finalist two seasons ago, and made the increasingly rare decision to stay in school, and it looks to have paid off for him. My pick is Curry, but I have no problem with any of these three guys.

Posted by Elliot Olshansky at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2007
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