The NHL's Best (But Not Really) of 2008-2009
It is usually at this point of the season when people start to talk about the players who deserve each of the NHL's most sought-after awards.
Awards like the Vezina, the Hart, and the Rocket Richard; these are the awards that players are honoured to receive at season's end, and rightfully so.
Most people consider these historical awards as the best there are.
But I am not most people.
We seem to forget about the players who excel at other aspects of the game, who awe and amaze everyone with their performances, and do not get he credit they deserve.
So, without further ado, I present to you the NHL's Best (But Not Really) Awards for 2008-2009 season.
Please hold your applause until the end.
The Most Ridiculous Injury Award:
This one is a no-brainer, literally.
Nominees are not needed for this award, and it deservedly goes to Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic.
As the owner of one of the most lethal wrist shots in league history, Sakic apparently thought his wrist could withstand anything, so he stuck it in the blades of his snow blower.
Needless to say, the snow blower came out victorious from that battle.
He had to have surgery to repair three of his fingers as well as ligament damage, and has been out ever since.
What is even more shocking is that he was already sidelined with a back injury, and still decided it would be a good idea to partake in snow blowing the driveway.
If Sakic ends up retiring after this season, it would be a sad way to go out for the future hall-of-famer, but let's hope that he retires to somewhere without snow...
And Joe, hire someone to cut your lawn, please.
Runner-Up: Blues' defenseman Eric Johnson, who tore his ACL and MCL falling off a golf cart in training camp. He missed the entire season.
The Robin Hood Award:
This award goes to the player who shows great skill in stealing from the rich and giving to himself.
The winner this year is the goalie who has committed the most robbery, and I don't mean great saves.
New York Islanders franchise-goaltender Rick Dipietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension in 2006, and went on to do a great job of filling a seat in the stands this year (thankfully, in New York they have plenty of empty ones).
He suffered a knee injury on Oct. 31 and was forced to have season-ending surgery to repair it.
Something tells me team owner Charles Wang wishes he had spent all that money on something more useful, like a really big foam finger that points fans to the rink, seeing as they clearly do not know where it is now.
Or maybe he wishes he could use that money a different long-term deal, like for John Tavares maybe...
Runner-Up: Minnesota Wild forward Marian Gaborik. But he is hurt so much that the team doctors just think he is on staff.
The "You Got Screwed" Award:
What does a guy have to do to get a job in the NHL?
Apparently Scott Clemmensen did not do enough.
After New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur went down with an elbow injury, Clemmensen stepped in the hold down the fort, and ended up shooting the Devils up the standings.
He went an impressive 25-13-1, had two shutouts, and was top ten in the League in both Goals Against Average and Save Percentage.
You would think once Brodeur came back that the success Clemmensen had would at least get him the back up job.
Instead, Clemmensen was sent back down to the minors, while Kevin Weekes stayed with the Devils as the backup. This is Kevin Weekes, who is older and clearly less skilled than Clemmensen, and having a sub-par season (7-5-0), but for some reason got to keep the job.
For whatever reason the Devils rewarded Weekes for sitting on the bench, watching his counterpart steal the show, and then sent down the guy who kept the team’s season alive.
You might argue that Clemmensen would be better off in the minors getting more playing time, but I’m not buying it.
Just ask him if he would rather ride the bus to the games, or hang with the big boys in the NHL; I wonder what he would say.
Sorry Scott Clemmensen, but you have been awarded the “You Got Screwed” Award.
Congratulations, at least somebody appreciates the work you did.
The Best Score in Golf Award:
This award goes to the player that is able to rack up the worst plus/minus in the league.
This year the winner of this prestigious award goes to New York Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt, who compiled a nasty -31.
No word on if his application to play in the Masters’ this year has been accepted, but by then he will certainly have some free time.
Shout out to the runners-up: Milan Hejduk, Rod Brind’Amour, and John-Michael Liles who each have a -21.
The Best Quote of the Year Award:
Sean Avery takes the award with a landslide victory.
“Uh, I’m really happy to be back in Calgary. I love Canada. And I just want to comment on how it’s become, like, a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. Enjoy the game tonight.”
One day this quote will be engraved in stone and mounted in the Hockey Hall of Fame. A day no one in the NHL will ever forget and all because of two words.
Here are some other golden quotes from the season.
“I didn’t go to school. I dropped out at Grade 9. I didn’t learn to play the piano. I didn’t read ‘Moby Dick.’ I didn’t read anything.” – Sean Avery, again.
“If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net.”– Brooks Laich
Well said, my friend.
“That’s good. Now I’m the top-scoring European on the team.” – Miikka Kiprusoff
Kiprusoff said that after he assisted on a goal during a game in Buffalo. He was the only European on the team at the time. Funny guy.
"Every single day, you ask the same questions. You know the amazing thing? You've never asked me once about what we're doing in practice. 'What was that drill?' No one's ever asked that. It's always, 'What's Jason Blake going to do tomorrow? Where's Brian Burke having dinner tonight?' You don't really talk about the actual X's and O's of the game. I find that kind of strange. So, then I wonder, maybe you don't ask those questions because maybe you don't understand." – Ron Wilson
Between Avery and Wilson, you could write a book with just their quotes. Throw in Don Cherry and you have got yourself a series.
“He's never been fit enough to help us. We signed him to be a top two-line player, and that's kind of where it ended. The difference was, we thought the contract was a starting point, and he's viewed it as a finish line. It's been one thing after another. I can't watch it for...certainly not another two-and-a-half years." – Craig MacTavish
Ouch. Dustin Penner will remember this verbal beatdown from his head coach for a long time. Luckily for him he will be in Edmonton longer than his coach.
The “Vote for Rory, He Would Vote For You” Award:
Based off the infamous fans that started the “Vote for Rory Fitzpatrick” voting campaign in 2007 that almost sent the Vancouver defenseman to the All-Star Game, this award goes to the fan that has the best sign at a game this season.
This year the award goes to the Montreal Canadiens fan that came up with this gem,(See Article Photo) not sure if he wants Guy Carbonneau fired or not, but it is awesome either way.
The Best New Name in the Game Award:
This award goes to the rookie who has the best name in the NHL.
And we will be laughing every time we hear Cal Clutterbuck for a long time.
The problem for opposing players is that Cal will be going Clutterbuck-wild on them for years to come, as he leads the league in hits.
The “Just Like We Planned It” Award:
The Chicago Blackhawks fired coach Denis Savard four games into the season this year, a day after their first win of the season, as they began with a 1-2-1 record.
A move that seemed to be rather harsh so soon into the season sure has paid off after hiring Joel Quenneville as the new coach. The Hawks have gone 41-22-10 since then, and are battling it out for home-ice in the playoffs.
They knew what they were doing all along, obviously.
The Best Endzone Celebration Award:
Okay, okay, so Alex Ovechkin even wins in this award presentation too, but it's a no-contest.
His 'hot-stick' after goal number 50 was the best celebration we have seen in a long time.
And it was talked about way too much, so that is all I'm going to say about it.
Runner-Up: Alex Burrows with his 'bow and arrow' celebration in Los Angeles earlier this year on a shot from the blueline.
That’s all folks; give these guys a round of applause.
They deserve it.
And when you are watching the actual NHL Awards this year from Las Vegas, try not to yawn too loudly when the same names win the same awards for yet another season.
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