Best Player: Blake Geoffrion

first_imgIt might sound too storybook, too perfect, but Wisconsin’s best athlete this year was the senior captain of its best team.Almost any way you slice it, Blake Geoffrion was the most successful Badger to compete this year.The stats are there: Geoffrion scored 28 goals — third in the nation — to go with 22 assists, for a total of 28-22-50. Fifteen of those goals came on the power play — tops in the nation. He also won 59 percent of the face-offs he took during the season, many of those wins coming in crucial situations.His goals were clutch as well — he had four game-winning goals and also sealed a shootout win over Yale in dramatic fashion as the last shooter.And while outsiders may have focused on his outstanding offensive numbers, anybody who watched him throughout the season saw him blossom into one of the top two-way players in the country. In addition to manning his spot in front of the net on the power play, Geoffrion was one of the team’s top penalty-killers. If a shot was blocked or the puck was cleared, chances are it was him. Geoffrion’s aggressive work on the forecheck and skill in transition also helped him assist on three of UW’s five shorthanded goals.The hardware is there, too. A first-team all-WCHA forward, he was also named a first-team all-American and the most outstanding player of the NCAA West Regional. And while Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie was named WCHA player of the year, Geoffrion got the last laugh by winning Wisconsin’s first Hobey Baker Award.And while plenty of other Badgers had great successes — running back John Clay was the Big Ten offensive player of the year, and Trevon Hughes consistently came up big on the hardwood — Geoffrion did just a little more.It was mentioned Geoffrion was a senior tri-captain, but that title almost doesn’t do him justice. No offense to fellow captains Ben Street and Ryan McDonagh — both were crucial lead-by-example, behind the scenes kind of guys. But Geoffrion was the de facto spokesperson for the team, in no small part due to the fact his yapper moved as fast as his slap shots. The guy was the heart and soul of the team and often the first guy to come to a teammate’s defense after a late hit or cheap shot.Sure, the team swept Michigan Tech without him when he was concussed after a hit by St. Cloud State’s Aaron Marvin in February. But that only shows the depth the team had as part of a seven-man senior class that Geoffrion helped tie together.In college, the team captain isn’t necessarily the team’s best player. That Geoffrion was able to pull together such a remarkable senior season while excelling as a leader reflects not only how talented he was as an individual, but how strong the hockey team was as a whole. The combined success of the hockey Badgers and their Hobey winner makes the debate over UW’s best player in 2009-2010 no contest.last_img

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