Brandon Montour was named to the All-Rookie team by the the Hockey East coaches today. This is a big honor for the former Minuteman and really is a testament to how dominant he was in his short time in Amherst. As I mentioned earlier in the week I personally did not pick Montour for my ballot for the Hockey East Writers & Broadcasters Association All-Rookie team as I gave the nod to those who played the entirety of the league slate. But I certainly can understand those would make their selections based on how they played in the league games, even if they didn’t get the chance to play in all of them.
I cannot however understand how neither the coaches or the Hockey East media could not pick Dennis Kravchenko for the All-Rookie team. When I made my picks for the HEWBA awards Kravchenko was the easiest choice save for Jack Eichel. Kravchenko was second among Hockey East freshmen for points in league games. Second of course to only wonderboy Jack Eichel. Kravchenko had 21 points in 22 games. Nearly a point a game. Forget about freshmen, those 21 points was 10th best among all Hockey East players for points score in league games. And aside from the scoring, Kravchenko made an impact away from scoring as well. His 233 face off wins in league games was second in the league, again to Jack Eichel.
It appears that in both the coaches’ and HEWBA media’s poll Kravchenko lost out to Alex Tuch from Boston College. Though Tuch had 10 goals to Kravchenko’s 8 in league games Kravchenko has 21 points to Tuch’s 19. Kravchenko had 0.95 points per game to Tuch’s 0.86. Kravchenko scored on 16.5% of of his shots while Tuch scored on 13.2% of his. Kravchenko had 6 power play points to Tuch’s 4. Kravchenko had 226 faceoff wins to Tuch’s 4 (no really, only four). And Kravchenko even had 22 blocked shots while Tuch had half that. But, Tuch is a 1st round draft pick who plays for Boston College while Kravchenko is undrafted and plays for last place Massachusetts. Did that play a role in people’s selections? I would say yes.
There weren’t a ton of positives to rally around for UMass fans this past season. Kravchenko’s performance as a freshman, impacting games going all the way back to the pre-season exhibition where he had two goals, was one of them. To not to see his efforts and accomplishments recognized by the two groups who follow Hockey East the closest, the coaches and the media, is frustrating and I would say insulting. Sure UMass had a bad year, sure the team finished in last place, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the accolades of those who played for the maroon and white. Kravchenko was beyond a doubt one of the best rookies in Hockey East this year, whether those around the league want to acknowledge it or not. Hopefully this snub stays with him as he plays out his sophomore season. He’ll have plenty of opportunity to reaffirm his skill in his second year for UMass against those coach who chose to ignore what he did this past season.
Matt Vautour has an update on the search for the athletic director with some names of the top candidates. A reader asked me today if I’m concerned that none of the candidates seem to have specific experience overseeing hockey. The answer is no. What I am looking for is an athletic director who can oversee and bring success to an entire athletic department. Someone who can set up the major revenue sports of football and basketball to win and bring revenue into the department, but can devote attention and the necessary resources to the other programs and set them up for success too. Hockey needs help right now. A lot of it. But so do other programs. I hope the new athletic director can get football setup in a good conference situation, help Derek Kellogg with what he needs to make UMass a perennial tournament participant, and get programs like hockey, softball, and lacrosse back to the winning ways we’ve seen in prior years.