As promised, here is who I would have voted for on the All-WCHA ballot. No, I did not follow Roman Augustoviz' lead and choose David Fischer. You can also view the carnage from my Pre-season awards. Actually, not that awful minus Jordan Schroeder's disappearance this year, and Chay Genoway's injury problems.
Everyone is going to look at this a different way. My own personal criteria was a combination of looking at stats--yeah, I'm one of the biggest anti-stats guys out there, but for something like this, I think it's worth considering--what I saw from these players when I saw them play, and how they play the game--some things that disgrace the game like atrocious dives, and getting pulled out of handshake lines for picking fights definitely counted against a couple guys when tough decisions had to be made.
Anyway, here is who I selected:
F-Blake Geoffrion, Wisconsin
F-Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth
F-Rhett Rakhshani, Denver
D-Brendan Smith, Wisconsin
D-Patrick Wiercioch, Denver
G-Marc Cheverie, Denver
Pretty easy choices here. The only real decision for me was between Connolly and Justin Fontaine, and I think Connolly was a little more consistent and played a little better in the second half of the season.
F-Justin Fontaine, Minnesota-Duluth
F-Derek Stepan, Wisconsin
D-Garrett Raboin, St. Cloud
D-Mike Montgomery, Minnesota-Duluth
G-Brad Eidsness, North Dakota
St. Cloud is a much different, much better team when Raboin is in the lineup. Montgomery is a rock on defense. Colborne might have been on the first team in a different year with the way he dominated in the second half of the season.
F-Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud
F-Brett Olson, Michigan Tech
F-Chris VandeVelde, North Dakota
D-Ryan McDonagh, Wisconsin
D-Jake Marto, North Dakota
G-Joe Howe, Colorado College
Howe maybe isn't the most popular pick here since his numbers are as great, but there was no clear-cut candidate, and I think he deserves a ton of credit for making CC so much better than most people predicted they would be. Lots of good candidates for the last couple spots among the forwards. I went with Olson over guys like Jason Gregoire or Michael Davies because I was impressed with how many goals he was able to put up with little to no supporting cast. Defense was a little harder. McDonagh had to be somewhere on this list, but after that, nobody really stood out. I went with Marto since he had a solid year on a nice team.
F-Danny Kristo, North Dakota
F-Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College
F-Craig Smith, Wisconsin
D-Matt Donovan, Denver
D-Steven Seigo, Michigan Tech
G-Joe Howe, Colorado College
I'm surprised I didn't pick Tyler Pitlick too. Nobody has more respect for him, or enjoyed watching him more this year than me, but if we're just judging on this year alone, and not what they're going to do in the future, I think these three had better years. I was very impressed by Seigo this year and thought he was criminally underrated. This is a pretty tough lineup to crack when Nick Leddy, Andrew MacWilliam, Justin Schultz and Dylan Olsen all miss out.
Player of the Year: Marc Cheverie, Denver
I was the only person touting Blake Geoffrion as a player of the year candidate back in October, and I would have loved any excuse to vote for him, but when you compare how dominant Denver was with Cheverie in the lineup to how shaky they were while he was injured, I don't see any way I can vote for anyone else.
Rookie of the Year: Danny Kristo, North Dakota
North Dakota won their last seven league games, and Kristo had points in all seven games. There were some guys close to him statistically, but I don't think any of them had the same impact on their team's fortune as Kristo did.
Coach of the Year: Bob Motzko, St. Cloud
I almost went with Scott Owens for the same reason I mentioned above with Howe. CC may have run out of gas at the end of the year, but he got more out of his team than anyone possibly expected. An accurate preseason prediction of where CC finished this year probably would have been laughed at in September.
Instead I went with Bob Motzko. First, because of a tradition I started last year with George Gwozdecky, where my coach of the year choice goes to the coach most outspoken against WCHA officiating, and Motzko was the only coach to earn a formal censure from the league. But more seriously, St. Cloud was projected as a middle of a pack team, because of a terrible defense, and they had some guys on defense take huge strides forward which is what made them such a strong team.