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Hockey East Awards & Playoff Predictions

Without further ado, here are my picks for this year’s Hockey East awards.

First off, the All-Hockey East team:

Forwards
Bobby Butler – New Hampshire
Stephane Da Costa – Merrimack
Gustav Nyquist – Maine

Defense
Justin Braun – Massachusetts
Blake Kessel – New Hampshire

Goaltender
Carter Hutton – Lowell

The forwards were very easy picks.  Defense was harder.  I really admire how much Kessel stepped up his game this year and along with Butler he has been a huge part of what UNH was able to accomplish.  As for Braun, he’s simply the best two-way defenseman in the league.  Positioning on defense?  Check.  Make the hit when needed?  Check.  Knock the puck loose with a poke check?  Check.  Lead an offensive rush?  More often than you’d think.  Put the team on his back and score a bunch of goals in the most important games of the year.  Check and checkmate.  Carter Hutton was also a pretty easy pick.  Imagine if the guy got some goal support.

Now onto the awards themselves.

Rookie of the Year:  Stephane Da Costa
Like there was any other choice…

Coach of the Year:  Dick Umile
Mark Dennehy certainly deserves some consideration, but at the beginning of the year I wasn’t even sure UNH would qualify for home ice and they ended up winning the whole thing.

Player of the Year:  Bobby Butler
The numbers speak for themselves.  I’m sure I speak for all UMass fans when I say his knack for huge goals against the Minutemen will not be missed.

Ok, and now onto my fearless Hockey East playoff predictions:

Lowell at Maine:  Lowell 2-1
Sorry, but I’m not sure what is going on with this Maine team right now.  The question mark in net is way too big for the Black Bears and yet that’s the greatest strength for the River Hawks.  I think Mullins favorite Dave Wilson is good for one game for Maine but that’s it.

Merrimack at Boston University: BU 2-1
This one is going to be very close.  Close like UMass took Northeastern to OT in Game 3 of last year’s quarterfinals, close.  It’s too bad because Merrimack at the Garden would be extremely cool to experience.

Massachusetts at Boston College: BC 2-0
Believe me, I’ll be there rooting on the Minutemen, but BC is just playing too well right now.  I see two very tight games, but both in the Eagles favor.

Vermont at New Hampshire: UNH 2-0
Should be an easy one for the Wildcats.

Semifinals
UNH over Lowell 3-1
BC over BU 4-1

Finals
BC over UNH 4-3

Δ

James Marcou is listed as one of the ten best collegiate free agents drawing NHL interest by Hockey’s Future.

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22 Comments

  1. Ben (Flag Guy)

     /  March 11, 2010

    Wow the 2-0 against UMass is tough. I’m going to respectfully disagree and go with the optimistic 2-1. UMass played great in Conte and pushed it to overtime, and a brief lapse of defense resulted in a 2-on-1 and an easy goal. I think we have the ability to overcome BC for at least one game. (Also we have to win friday, because its my birthday)

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  2. This team had been bi polar all year, and I could see the series going 2-0 to either team. Same with 2-1. The real question is going to be what team shows up at the Conte?

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  3. hatsoff

     /  March 11, 2010

    A 7 seed has never beaten a 2 in the Hockey East playoffs. History hates this matchup.

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    • UMass came as close as possible last year. If anyone can do it, the Minutemen can.

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  4. RHHB

     /  March 11, 2010

    Justin Braun the best two-way defenseman in Hockey East? Looks like someone better tell Jeremy Dehner he doesn’t exist.

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    • justin

       /  March 11, 2010

      It’s like you smelled the “disrespect.” 🙂

      I don’t think you can go wrong either way…the injury cost Dehner a few games this season, which could argue for Braun. Although Dehner may be more valuable overall to UML (as you’ve shown on the site), so there’s that. Maybe we should just say fuck all Kessels and put Braun and Dehner together.

      Out of curiousity, are there any sites that track minutes played for college players? I’m not sure anyone had more TOI than Braun, which led to some less than overwhelming +/- numbers.

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      • RHHB

         /  March 11, 2010

        nope, sure ain’t. most, if not all, teams track internally but it’s not as exact a science as it is in the NHL when they have two or three people tracking it for each team every game. we know for sure though that dehner averages close to 29 minutes a night since blaise has said it several times.

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      • justin

         /  March 12, 2010

        In the USCHO preview for this weeks playoff series, Cahoon said that Braun was playing 35-37 minutes a night (!) when there were injury situations (Kublin being out). That’s absurd.

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    • I went back and forth between Dehner and Kessel. In the end I thought Kessel contributed a ton to UNH being champs.

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      • RHHB

         /  March 11, 2010

        that’s not what’s at issue here

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        • Both have similar numbers, Braun’s are a bit better offensively, Dehner’s better defensively. But, I would argue Dehner has a better supporting cast on D not to mention better goaltending behind him.

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          • RHHB

             /  March 11, 2010

            and we’d argue that being on a power play unit with a player that manufactures goals like marcou is going to help offensive numbers so it appears we’re at an impasse.

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  5. luke

     /  March 11, 2010

    roaggies tomorrow at 5…its the cool place to be

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  6. Ryan

     /  March 11, 2010

    stop aruging your both wrong. dehner is a good two way player as is braun, but colby cohen will be making the 1st team at defense. why? he is 2nd in the league among scoring D and plays for one of HE’s golden teams.

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  7. Ryan

     /  March 11, 2010

    and good list, but get hutton out of there. no doubt he has good numbers but when you play half the time in net that most of the other guys have then that could be an issue. beaudry 1st, hutton 2nd.

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  8. Arguing Dehner over Braun is like breaking down a Mercedes versus a BMW. You can’t go wrong either way. And get Colby Cohen right out of here. A good defensemen, but he scores all his goals on the PP. Which is fine. But he doesn’t create offensive rushes anywhere near as well as Dehner/Braun.

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  9. Ryan

     /  March 11, 2010

    1st team

    Forwards: Nyquist, Butler, Gibbons
    Defense: Kessel, C. Cohen
    Goalie: Beaudry

    2nd team

    Forwards: Marcou, DaCosta, Atkinson
    Defense: Dehner, Braun
    Goalie: Hutton

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