Friday, March 28, 2008

And Your MVP Is...

This season the winners of the major NHL awards are pretty clear cut, as in Ovechkin- MVP, Lidstrom-Norris, and most likely, Brodeur-Vezina. Yay. So after reading a couple weeks worth of people touting who should win what and how much, I've decided to come up with my own awards.

I know, I know, thrilling! Personally I can't wait for the ESPY's, or as I like to call it, "the most awkward awards show this side of Mississippi Teacher of the Year"

Why only a couple of years ago Lance Armstrong sent a chill through the likes of Lebron James and Ben Stiller when he pointed out mid-show that 70% of all people will get cancer by the age of 70. Lebron's reaction after hearing that was enough to put a hop in my step for weeks, as he sort of clapped while looking around with a confused glare as if to say "um, that was a joke right? RIGHT?!"

So here we go with the First Annual Dog and Pony Show Fake Awards!

The Roberto Duran "NO MAS" Award For Pugilism

Daniel Carcillo- Phoenix

-If you told me before the season that by the end of the year the Phoenix youngster would miss nearly a third of the season because of leg injuries and being sent down for disciplinary reasons, yet still crack the 300 penalty minute mark I would have hit you right in the babymaker.

Look out Sean Avery.

Here we are nearly all wrapped up and Danny C could, with a couple more game misconducts, crack the 350 barrier. I know, I know, this is a horrible reflection of society and, AND, who is going to think of the children?!

But really, without starting yet another pro/anti- fighting argument, I am actually surprised that a season flew by without Tucker Carlson and Bill O'Reilly pointing out how horrible and terrible Danny C is for fighting in hockey...just before they flipped over to the subject of the Iraq war and how we should be sending more poor people to fight there.

Seriously, I'm shocked. Let's move on.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Award For Excellence!
(Awarded to the player who didn't leave for the money, or any other reason. For some reason.)

-Mats Sundin- Toronto

If anything I'm awarding this to reactionary Maple Leafs fans, and especially Don Cherry for their total and utter abuse of Mats for having a heart and actually sticking with the Maple Leafs. Good job gang. You guys are awesome.

Seriously though, before Mats didn't leave I actually didn't like him so much because he always seemed to be a bit arrogant. Now, I love the guy. Thank you Mats for showing the rest of the league that having more millions on top of your millions means nothing if you screw over your team and fans while trying to avoid screwing them over.

Sometimes it isn't about the money, or listening to Leafs management.

It is about doing confusing things.

The Trevor Linden "He's still playing?!" Award

-Bobby Holik- Atlanta

I had completely forgotten about the guy until about mid-season when I happened to watch more than 45 seconds of an Atlanta game. And there he was nailing a player into the boards face first at about 4 miles per hour. Poor Bobby, so slow. So very, very slow...

2007-08 Participation Award

-Jordan Leopold- Colorado

43 games, 5g-8a-13p +5

Injured Oct 12, 2007- Hip
(Missed 2 games)
Injured Oct 25, 2007- Wrist Surgery
(Missed 21 games)
Injured Dec 19, 2007- Lacerated Thigh
(Missed 4 games)
Out Jan 18, 2008- Illness
(Missed 2 games)
Injured Mar 10, 2008- Concussion
(Missed at least 5 games)

Thanks for playing Jordan. You are awarded a box of gauze, a lifetime supply of aspirin, and a priest.

The Kitchen Sink
(Awarded to the team that traded for a Cup run a year too early)

-The Philadelphia Flyers-

Going into the season I was certain that the Flyers would ice a decent young team. And they did...Mike Richards and Jeff Carter showed that they are progressing nicely. Yet when it came down to playing the kind of consistent hockey needed to contend for a Cup, Philly just couldn't keep up because they needed to grow up a bit. What made matters worse, aside from debilitating concussions to Simon Gagne and Joffrey Lupul was GM Paul Holmgren's insistence on bringing back Peter Forsberg.

Up until Holmgren began chasing Forsberg around the globe in a series of visits and phone conversations that could only be deemed "stalker worthy", the Flyers looked like they might be able to play smart defense in front of Marty Biron. But after the incredible distraction of Forsberg the team seemed to come apart in mere weeks.

Note to Paul Holmgren, the trick to being a good GM is to lead your team to believe that they don't suck, and they don't need help, causing them to come together as a unit right before you get rid of half of them in trades. It's the nature of business- compliment someone just before firing them.

Also, bang up job getting Vinny Prospal at the deadline, next year he's due for 50 points.


The Just Shut Up Award

-The Red Wings loving media-

Thank you ESPN and the rest of you cow-towing ninnies for once again throwing all your eggs into the Red Wing's basket for yet another season of geriatric infused overrated hockey.

There are better teams than the Wings at this point in the season. Namely Dallas, San Jose, and Anaheim. And at least this year the rest of Central Division has played the Wings hard causing Wingnuts all over the web to point out how good and fantastic the Wings are because they aren't winning easy divisional games...they are winning moderately difficult divisional games. Good job.

Yet you wouldn't know it by reading the likes of George Johnson, E.J. Hradek, or listening to Barry Melrose, who puts up the most thinly veiled pro-Wings front of any hockey expert.

Do us a favor ESPN management, and at least make it seem like you like hockey enough to get more diverse reporters to do more diverse and in-depth reporting on other contending teams for a majority of a season, rather than rolling over and rehashing the same Red Wings related stories from last season because the marketers thought it would be a good idea.

Oh and bring back NHL Tonight before you look even dumber for dropping hockey in the first place.

Honorable mention for the Just Shut Up Award:

Bill Simmons-

For years Bill has provided the same pop culture infused blather on a weekly basis in regards to the worlds of Basketball, the Celtics, the Patriots, and the Red Sox all while living in Los Angeles...which you wouldn't know if he wasn't mentioning it 45 times per column.

This was all well and good because his columns make for easy reading should I end up drunk and surfing the web. But where he gets me is when he takes shots at hockey. The basketball writer craps on hockey. Mmmkkay. Good job finding the easy target there Bill. Here's some old Jay Leno crafted Judge Ito jokes for you puke out the next time you are stuck for something to write about that isn't related to a Real World/Road Rules challenge.

Oh for a world without Boston sports fans...that and his wife is a better writer.

And finally,

The 2007-08 DNP MVP

Mike Keenan- Calgary Flames

Has there been a coach who has created more pre-season speculation and discussion than Keenan?

I thought by now he'd be pumping gas somewhere, but surpisingly he did all his familiar stuff and came out with a team that could be a dark horse in the playoffs.

He lit a fire under Jarome Iginla. He crushed Kipper's spirit for the better part of the season. He made Alex Tanguay look even smaller. Everyone probably despises him.

But somehow it's kinda working!

He is Iron Mike. Captain Hook. The guy who keeps getting coaching and GM positions besides destroying every team with whom he has been involved.

The man traded Robbie Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi and change, only to then take a coaching job in the same division where Luongo plays!

That takes guts, and more than enough insanity laced arrogance.

That is why, come hell or high water Mike Keenan is the DNP's 2007-08 MVP.

I can only hope that when he eventually gets fired from Calgary the street fight between he and Brian Sutter spills out of the Saddledome for all the world to see.

OH, and my actual MVP?

It isn't Ovechkin. Or Malkin. Or Iginla. Or Brodeur.

In my book the MVP each year doesn't need to come from a top flight team. He doesn't need to post the best stats. He just needs to be absolutely indispensable. That is why this season I'm giving the award to Roberto Luongo of Vancouver.

Tell me, where would the Canucks be without Robbie? Last in the Northwest? Last in hockey?

No team relies more on a single player than Vancouver (except maybe the Wings with Lidstrom), and would certainly be down and out without Luongo. What with their total and utter inability to draft and start skilled players, score goals or play defense in general. Yet there they are vying for a playoff spot where they will most certainly reintroduce the world to 4 line trapping hockey. Giddyup!

Kudos for not flipping out on your team this year Robbie.

I wouldn't have blamed you if you did.

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