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Vote for Hobey

The online fan vote for the Hobey Baker Award began last week without a lot of fanfare. The past few years, the fan vote has been plagued by automated voting giving certain players a bazillion votes. This year, the Hobey committee offers this stern warning:
"Automated or programmed voting is not allowed. In the spirit of Hobey Baker himself, all voting should be conducted in an honest and ethical manner. If further automated voting is evidenced, then the fan vote will not be included in this year’s selection process. We thank all college hockey fans for participating in this year’s Vote For Hobey."
OK, first the spirit of Hobey Baker himself? Back before the delightful Fire Joe Morgan gave up blogging to focus on a new TV show starring Amy Poehler (*shudder*), they had an interesting observation on the evolution of video technology in baseball:
"If you could go back in time and take Nap Lajoie into a room after Rube Waddell K'd him on three pitches and show him a glowing box with a video replay of the at bat, he would call you a demon, slit your throat, tear out his eyes, and generally freak the f--- out."
I feel pretty much the same way re: Hobey Baker and computer voting fraud.

Second, is there an emptier threat than saying you're going to cut the fan vote out of the award? The fan vote counts for 1% of the final vote total, making it essentially meaningless already. Has the fan vote ever made a difference in the voting? It seems that most years, the recipient of the fan vote doesn't even make the top ten. Would anything really change if they stopped bothering with the fan vote?

Of course one thing that amuses me in all this is that they supposedly picked the 50 top players in college hockey this year. The most notable omission from that list of 50 is the guy that was allegedly the best player in college hockey two years ago. Either college hockey has come a long way over the past two years, or the committee's mistake in 2007 is becoming more apparent. Maybe they would be better off giving the fans more power.