The First Annual Duster Awards: Best of the Worst in the NHL
As all the nominees for the 2010 NHL Awards have been announced, I got to thinking. What if there were trophies to be handed out to the NHL's worst from this past season.
While, we all know who the best goaltenders, defenseman. and goal scorers were, it may be a bigger debate on who was the worst.
Every NHL fan has the players they believe have no business playing the game.
Players who, when it comes to doing what they do on the ice, are about as talented as Steven Segal.
So being the innovative guy that I am, and always wanting to say what's on my mind (even though there really isn't much up there at times), I decided to come up with the First Annual Duster Awards for the Best of the Worst in the NHL over the 2009-10 season.
The term "duster", is used in a hockey sense, as a player that sits on the bench for the better part of the game collecting dust.
So here we go with my picks for the first, and quite possibly the last, Duster Awards.
The Alexandre Daigle Trophy (Biggest Bust): Jonathan Cheechoo
It may be fitting that the first annual Alexandre Daigle Trophy goes to a player from the same club that drafted Daigle first overall in 1993.
The Ottawa Senators Jonathan Cheechoo has been on the downward spiral since he popped in 56 goals playing alongside "Jumbo" Joe Thornton in 2005-06.
And, when the Sens acquired him in the Dany Heatley deal, there was hope he could find his form once again in Canada's capital.
The end result?
Cheechoo was about as effective as a Ashley Simpson trying to hit a Rita MacNeil high note, scoring a measly five goals in 61 games, and finishing with a team worst plus-minus rating of minus-13.
$3 million well spent indeed.
The Hardy Astrom Trophy (Worst Goaltender): Vesa Toskala
Though he seemed to find new life once he joined the defensive minded Calgary Flames, going 2-0, with a 2.26 goals against average and a .918 save percentage, Vesa Toskala was once again a disappointment this season.
Overall, he ranked 52nd amongst NHL netminders, with a 9-12-3 record, a 3.48 goals against average, and a .880 save percentage.
For a goalie who was supposed to be a No. 1 guy, and being paid accordingly at $4 million per to be just that, Toskala was only average at best.
There are coupons that save more than the Finnish tender, which is why he claims the Hardy Astrom Trophy, and was traded twice this season.
The Bob Stewart Trophy (Worst Defenseman): Sheldon Souray
You have to feel for the Edmonton Oilers, who seemed to be cursed ever since their terrific run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
This season, their No. 1 goalie (Nikolai Khabibulin) went down for the year after just 18 games. Their best player (Ales Hemsky) was injured after 22 games, and their best defenseman Sheldon Souray was brutal in the 37 games in which he played scoring just four goals and finishing minus-19.
To make matters worse, Souray was doing his best Chris Pronger impersonation in asking for a trade outta Edmonton, making their disastrous season even worse for the poor Oilers fans.
The problem is, at $5.4 million per, there may be a better chance at Rosie O'Donnell being voted the sexiest woman alive than Edmonton moving the squawking Souray.
Isn't it better to be part of the solution, then part of the problem, Sheldon?
Oh well, you make a lot of money, have a hot wife, and now the Bob Stewart Trophy, things are looking up.
The Ken Linseman Trophy (Most Hated): Matt Cooke
Ken Linseman was tagged "the Rat" through his NHL career, and for good reason, he could annoy the heck out of the opposition.
So what better way to honour him than with a trophy in his name for the NHL's most pesky forward.
This years recipient is Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke, who when he wasn't throwing dirty hits, and chirping at players, fans and refs, he was also scoring goals and is a pretty effective winger for the Pens.
That being said, he is still more annoying than a Paris Hilton interview.
The Michel Therrien Trophy (Worst Coach): John Tortorella
I don't think I have ever seen a coach that put's himself ahead of the team more than John Tortorella of the New York Rangers.
Seriously, his reactions on the bench, his interviews with the media, it is like watching an episode of Jerry Springer.
The Rangers have one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Henrik Lundqvist who posted a 35-27-10 record with a 2.38 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.
They also had a bona fide superstar in Marian Gaborik, who finished 10th in league scoring (42G, 44A), and a defense core that actually did a decent job this season despite being inexperienced for the most part.
Yet, the club missed the playoffs for the first time in five years.
And yes, they only missed the dance by a slim margin, but it should have never come to that point.
Maybe, Glen Sather should be the one to pay the ultimate price for firing Tom Renney, in order to bring in the Tortorella circus.
Either way, congrats on your award, John. You could win it every year as far as I'm concerned.
The Matthew Barnaby Trophy (Worst NHL Tough Guy): Daniel Carcillo
If he isn't beating up the Rangers Marian Gaborik, he is complaining about the Bruins Marc Savard chewing on his finger.
Daniel Carcillo could be a Chris Neil type of player, if he would let his hands do the talking for him.
I'll admit he can throw 'em, but he needs to pick his spots, and pickin' on guys who can't fight does nothing for his image as an NHL tough guy.
So he gets the Matthew Barnaby Trophy as the leagues worst.
You don't see guys like the Penguins Eric Godard throwing them with guys like Gaborik and Savard, and Carcillo can play the game as well.
Hopefully the 25-year-old will start to be pickier than Oprah at a salad bar, close his mouth, and start to fight the middle-weights instead of the light ones.
The Rico Fata Trophy (Worst Defensive Forward): Ales Kotalik
Now I suppose in fairness the Rico Fata Trophy should go to the Oilers Patrick O'Sullivan who finished the year a horrible minus-35, but that Edmonton team was diminished by injuries all year long.
So Calgary Flames forward Ales Kotalik takes home the hardware, simply because his minus-17 was more impressive as he did it on two pretty good defensive clubs.
Kotalik has about as much interest in playing defense as Jenna Jameson does in being respected by her parents.
And to make matters worse, he isn't very good at the other end either (unlike Jenna), as he had eight goals in 45 games with the Rangers, and a minuscule three in 26 games for the Flames.
Just think Darryl Sutter, for just $2 million more you could have kept Cammalleri...nuff said!
The Jaromir Jagr Trophy (Worst/Best Hair): Scott Hartnell
The Jaromir Jagr Trophy for the worst/best hockey hair is one of my favorite awards, and there is no better recipient than the Philadelphia Flyers Scott Hartnell.
Hartnell looks across between Sideshow Bob, and Ogie Ogilthorpe, which gives him the best style on the ice even though he can't seem to live up to his potential.
With hair like that though, he would be well-liked in any Hockey City, despite his offensive shortcomings.
I mean Scotty, 14 goals for $4.2 million ain't gonna cut it!