Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WCHA Coaches and Media Polls Nearly Identical Again This Year

I can't speak for other members of the media, but I can promise you that I am not in cahoots with the coaches on this thing.

Todd Milewski, who is no longer on the Wisconsin hockey beat (stupid newspaper!) but is still very actively involved in covering this league (he also happens to be a super guy who is a lot of fun to chat about the game with), put together a media poll last year. The results were scary, as the people who accepted Milewski's invite ended up voting identically to the coaches.

We all figured it was a freak thing, something that wouldn't repeat itself.


The 2009-2010 versions of the WCHA media and coaches polls were released Tuesday, and it appears that great minds think alike.

We'll start with the media poll, which had 25 voters take part, representing all ten WCHA teams, as well as the "major" college hockey sites (USCHO, INCH, CHN, and WCH).

Team (first-place votes) Points
1. Denver (23) 248
2. North Dakota (1) 205
3. Wisconsin 190
4. Minnesota (1) 186
5. St. Cloud State 152
6. Minnesota-Duluth 118
7. Colorado College 101
8. Minnesota State 88
9. Alaska Anchorage 57
10. Michigan Tech 30

In case you're too lazy to read back, here's how I voted:

1. Denver
2. North Dakota
3. Wisconsin
4. UMD
5. Minnesota
6. St. Cloud State
7. Colorado College
8. Alaska-Anchorage
9. Minnesota State
10. Michigan Tech

The media picked Minnesota's Jordan Schroeder as player of the year, and St. Cloud State goalie Mike Lee as the league's top rookie (I voted for Schroeder and UMD's Dylan Olsen, respectively).

The Grand Forks Herald conducted a preseason coaches' poll for the 39th year. Here is how theirs turned out. Remember, the coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team.

1. Denver (8) 80
2. UND (2) 70
3. Wisconsin 61
4. Minnesota 58
5. St. Cloud State 55
6. Minn.-Duluth 37
7. MSU-Mankato 34
8. Colorado College 26
9. Alaska-Anchorage 20
10. Michigan Tech 9

Player of the year: Ryan Lasch, SCSU (3); Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota (3); Chay Genoway, UND (2); Rhett Rakhshani, Denver (1); Patrick Wiercioch, Denver (1)

Rookie of the year: Mike Lee, SCSU (5); Nick Leddy, Minnesota (2); Dylan Olsen, Minnesota-Duluth (2); Matt Donovan, Denver (1)

Strikingly similar again, as the only differences are with seventh and eighth place. Despite the resounding agreement this seems to imply, there is much question about how the league will shake out this season.

While Denver and North Dakota seem like the only true consensus picks, spots three through nine are fully up for grabs. In all honesty, about the only thing remotely close to a safe bet is that Michigan Tech will need a near-miracle to avoid the cellar. And even that is subject to change.

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