On Postseason Polls


Last night, USCHO threw up their postseason poll, and as expected Duluth was on top. However, North Dakota got two first place votes, and just edged out Michigan, the team who ended their season, for the second spot in the poll.

This of course caused much consternation, mostly from Duluth fans, about the Bulldogs not being a unanimous #1. But should they be #1? In my mind, there are really only three ways to fill out a postseason ballot:

The first, which is the one that is seemingly used most often, is the four Frozen Four teams are ranked 1-4, with the champion #1 and runner up #2, and then they rank the best teams after that. This strikes me as pretty dumb, as it takes a 30 game season and bases a ranking on four (or three) games.  If we really wanted to pick who the best teams are, which polls should do, this seems a pretty silly way to do so.

Just as silly is to put the national champion at #1 and then rank the rest of the teams as they seem fit. Even though Duluth won the national title, I don’t think anyone outside the northeast corner of Minnesota would tell you they are a better team than North Dakota, Boston College, Denver, or probably a host of other teams.

Lastly, there is the method of ranking teams in order of quality, regardless of final finish. But then again, if a poll ranks North Dakota (or BC) #1 ahead of the team that won the national championship, that doesn’t really seem like much of a poll either.

I think the answer is that postseason polls seem like a pageview grab, regardless of tradition, but they really put voters between a rock and a hard place. I won’t be doing a postseason rankings because I couldn’t in good conscience put Duluth #1 seeing as I don’t think they were the best team in the country. I doubt Duluth cares about a final poll or rankings given that they, you know, won the national championship, but this year seems to be the strongest argument in while for the end of postseason polls.