Looking back on this year’s Frozen Four, I have to say it was one of the more interesting ones that I can remember in terms of competitive games and an excellent crowd.
Both semifinal games gave fans their money’s worth. Michigan State’s comeback against Maine kept things interesting throughout the entire game. And it’s hard to put into words just how great a game the BC-North Dakota semi was.
The second semifinal might have been one of the fastest, hardest-hitting Frozen Four games I can remember. The talent on the ice shined as bright as possible. All of the big names had excellent games. The last seven minutes of that game had me writing and re-writing my post-game story (we file one story the minute the game ends) time and again.
Saturday night’s title game matched Thursday’s BC-North Dakota game in terms of excitement but still couldn’t reach the frantic pace of play as the semifinal.
It’s hard not to feel good for Michigan State. Even as a writer who follows BC every week of the season, it was great to see Rick Comley win a national title. He is one of college hockey’s ultimate good guys.As for the game itself, I’ve had a difficult time measuring exactly how big an upset it was. Some said it was the biggest since Michigan State’s last win in 1986 (the first ever for the CCHA). Others said it was the biggest since Harvard beat Minnesota in 1989. I’d love to hear if anyone has perspective on this.
St. Louis certainly gave it the Boy Scout try in terms of hosting. There seemed as though there was a good amount of things for fans to do around the city and the few activities I passed by had plenty of fan participation. A part of me believes that the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants) seemed caught by surprise. Despite having hosted basketball regionals, bars, restaurants and hotels all seemed critcally understaffed to handle the rush that the Frozen Four delivered.
I will, though, say that the organizing committee did a nice job of pulling things together. The arena posed certain challenges (at least for the media, it did) but was also able to pull off the highest attendance in tournament history for the title game on Saturday (19,432). Wednesday night’s welcome reception at the Arch was a great chance to mingle players and fans alike (though, anyone who knows me knows that not serving booze gets the big thumbs down).
As for the Hobey, I was a little bit surprised. As the week started, everyone was talking about David Brown winning the award. In years past, the Hobey folks hadn’t done that admirable that job of keeping the winner quiet until the award was given. This year, it seemed that the “leak” was Brown as winner.
That led to the following conversation between myself and Dave Hendrickson:Dave: “I have no idea why the Hobey folks leak the winner every year.”Me: “If they wanted to screw around with folks, they’d leak the wrong name next year.”Dave: “Yeah, that would be funny.”Who knew that the Hobey folks are one step ahead (if they even leaked Brown’s name).
I’m still disappointed that Eric Ehn didn’t win. As I’ve mentioned before, when you look at the criteria, Ehn should win the award hands down. Duncan, in my opinion, is a good candidate, but there’s a part of me that question whether or not he’s even the best player on his line (T.
J. Oshie, Jonathan Toews). Regardless, the WCHA once again can claim some sort of supremacy in taking home the Hobey Baker. At least it wasn’t the national championship.
So another season of hockey is behind us. It seems strange not to see a game on my schedule this weekend (I haven’t taken a weekend off since January, right before the Beanpot).
We are, though, only 72 days away from the NHL Entry Draft. Hopefully I’d write a few blogs here and there in between. Until then, though, stay cool and enjoy the off-season!