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NHL 2012-13: Handing Out the 2012 NHL Offseason Awards

Rob KirkCorrespondent IIOctober 15, 2012

NHL 2012-13: Handing Out the 2012 NHL Offseason Awards

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    I hope you don't expect to see any of these trophies to be handed out here, because in case you didn't know, there's no NHL hockey. I hate to beat on a dead horse, but could someone please explain to me why the NHL owners and players aren't meeting with the frequency or intensity of people who want to get a deal done? If this keeps up, the NHL will become a novelty like the World Cup with soccer.

    Every four years, professional ice hockey in North America goes away to remind us that it is run by a carnival barker with no knowledge or insight to the actual NHL. That would be you Gary Bettman.

    I love my NHL, and I love my Detroit Red Wings, but I'm almost becoming resigned to the fact that as long as Bettman has one of the more important voices in the hockey world, there will always be turmoil on the regular. That being said, hockey players may need a bit of a reality check when approaching the negotiating table. Maybe some scab hockey could spice things up a bit? I for one wouldn't mind lacing up the skates again for a tryout in Hockeytown. Hey, it's for the good of the game, and I'm here to help!

    This (NHL) season has been a bust so far, and there isn't much to write about that is current and relevant. There are prospects and younger stars playing in the minor leagues and juniors, and NHL veterans playing in leagues overseas. There is some quality hockey out there, folks, you just need to look as hard for it as you did when you were trying to find the NHL on television.

    If the NHL was smart, it would work out a deal to televise some of the games that feature NHL players instead of rehashing last season's playoffs or some other overplayed re-run. I'll take hockey in the NASCAR uniforms they rock in Europe over the NBA any day. The quality is a half notch below the NHL, but well above the AHL or junior level.

    So here's your best of the best so far this (off)season. I promise there will be real hockey content included, with some pretty sweet footage of real, live hockey! Enjoy now!

Best Offseason Free-Agent Pickup

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    I bet you thought I was going to say something about the Minnesota Wild. Well, you thought wrong, pal.

    Clearly, the best acquisition was Jan Mursak by HDD Olimpija Lhubljana of the Austrian League (EBEL). Mursak has been tearing it up in Austria with four goals and 10 assists in only six games. For those of you scoring at home and reading this article, that is 2.33 points per game.

    I bet Ken Holland didn't know he had the "Next One" right under his nose in Grand Rapids.

Worst Offseason Pickup

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    When Metallurg Magnitogorsk signed Evgeni Malkin to play for their KHL club, they must have had pretty high expectations. Unfortunately, Malkin has only managed to produce two goals and nine points in 10 games. In what can only be viewed as an absolute disappointment, Malkin's .900 point-per-game clip is shameful. Possibly a healthy scratch, or a demotion to the fourth line could rattle the Russian's cage.

    He's no Jan Mursak, that's for sure!

    Do I need to include the word sarcasm in here? I think I do for each of the past two slides. You're welcome.

Best Disallowed Goal of 2012-13 (Performed in a Distant Land)

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    How could this goal not be allowed? OK, so it is a clear violation of the rules, but the creativity alone should make this a good goal. Datsyuk's return to Mother Russia to share his dangling and skill are a sad reminder to what we are missing on this side of the globe.

Worst KHL Goal Celebration by a No. 1 Overall Pick in the 2012 NHL Draft

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    Nail Yakupov will likely be lighting the lamp with some frequency when he eventually gets to put on his Edmonton Oilers sweater. Hopefully by the time he does, he can rehearse a couple of goal celebrations to trump this uncoordinated flop into the boards. C'mon Nail, you're better than that!

    Side note: Sergei Bobrovsky is in net here; where is Jay Onrait when we need him most?

Best Product Placement and Unintentional Endorsement from NHL Player

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    Tyler Seguin of the Swiss club EHC Biel takes the prize here as a walking—er...skating billboard for such fine products as Winox, Fanuc, Skoda, Quick Line and of course, Jungfraubahnen. That last one is some sort of non-nutritive, edible cereal varnish that I think I heard mentioned before. All right, I just made that up, but in addition to the five sponsors I mentioned, click here to see the official EHC sponsor list.

    For you sticklers to detail, the Jungfraubahnen is the transit system for the Jungfrau region, considered one of the most scenic in Switzerland.

Best 2-Goal Effort from a Player Wearing McDonald's Socks

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    Jason Spezza is also playing in Switzerland this fall, which means a potential showdown with Boston's Tyler Seguin. It also gives Spezza the opportunity to rock some of the finest socks in all of hockey, brought to you by McDonald's.

Best German Reality Video Featuring NHL Players

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    Look out, David Hasselhoff, these two fresh faces could steal some of your fans in Berlin. We'll assume that Claude Giroux and Danny Briere aren't going to let any videos like Hasselhoff's affect their collective popularity in Germany or North America.

    Eisbaren Berlin wasted no time putting these two front and center with a practice and press conference shortly after their touchdown in Germany. I'll just assume that they were featured on the webpage the second they signed. The Polar Bears are one of the DEL's top teams already, so the arrival of two top NHL players can help them against the likes of the EHC Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams. I'm absolutely not kidding about that name.

Best Tweet...so Far

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    No shocker here, as the king of all (NHL) media is still the most entertaining player in the league. His services probably aren't in high demand in Europe, but his adventures and conquests abroad could be priceless.

    Insult me all you want but I'm still tied for 1st in every single statistical category in the NHL right now.

    — Paul Bissonnette (@BizNasty2point0) October 14, 2012

Best Temporary Merchandise to Hit the Market

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    This is one of the creepier items I have stumbled upon while perusing the webpage for each team. The "Big Benn" scarf is not totally unique, though. Claude Giroux has his likeness splashed on the team scarf for Eisbaren Berlin as well.

    Are you paying attention NHL.com? I want my Rob Klinkhammer scarf, and I want it now!!

Filthiest Breakaway Goal

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    Anze Kopitar goes all "Forsberg-ish" for his new Swedish club, Mora IK, of the HockeyAllsvenskan, which is a notch below the Eliteserien in Sweden. Dig the throwback New Jersey Devil look, but it's only the second best duplicate in this clip.

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