Ah, the NHL Awards.
That beautiful time of year when people argue about the Vezina Trophy and how every goalie who isn’t their favourite is a sieve. That adorable time of June where people actually have passionate opinions about the Lady Byng Trophy for some reason. That lovely time of the season where we yell and scream about Drew Doughty winning the Norris Trophy or not until we finally see who actually won and we yell some more.
It’s also that time of year where obnoxious bloggers such as myself come up with our own version of the NHL Awards.
Without further rambling, here are my 2016 NHL Awards. Read the rest of this in Will Arnett’s voice and it’s pretty much exactly like the real thing.
THE BEAT ME TO IT AWARD
Alright, time to be super original and write about my own personal NHL awa-
AW COME ON! The graphic design is clean and everything. Ugh. Screw it, I’m writing it anyway.
THE TANK KING AWARD
This award goes to the team that showed excellence not just in being #bad this season but also #NotGood. The nominees aren’t necessarily the league’s three worst teams. No, no. The nominees for this award had to show a unique and almost impressive amount of futility en route to being terrible.
And the nominees are…
Boy, from about December onward, nobody could touch these guys. They sank faster than a phone falling under a car seat. The Canadiens messed up by not starting their tank soon enough. In that sense, they couldn’t even tank right. They weren’t even that good at being bad despite actually being bad. You have to respect that.
On the surface, the Leafs’ tank was a success. They sold almost anybody above 21-years-old for picks, they played young guys, and they finished last place, and got the first overall pick. The Leafs did commit one giant sin though: They finished better than they did the year before. That’s right, the 2014-15 Leafs had 68 points while the 2015-16 Leafs had a nice 69 points. Any team that does better than they did the year before couldn’t possibly be accused of tanking and is therefore a reputable, noble organization.
So the winner is…
The 2014-15 Buffalo Sabres. MAN they were bad. Seriously? 54 points? C’mon.
THE JOHN SCOTT AWARD FOR BEING JOHN SCOTT
And the nominees are…
John Scott is named John Scott, which makes him the perfect candidate for this honour.
And the winner is…
John Scott. How did John Scott begin this past season? When you answer this question, really be honest with yourself. Giant dude, fighter, most people were shocked he was even still in the league, right? He ruined Kevin Westgarth’s modelling career, he attacked Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel, and he laid some questionable hits.
By all accounts from former teammates and fans of teams he used to play for, he seemed like a nice guy. One of the last true enforcers probably playing in his final NHL season. That’s all.
I’m sure I don’t need to run through what happened next, but the way it ended, Scott was last year’s hockey hero. He stood up to the league, he stood up to people who treated him like a joke (myself included), and he made the 2016 NHL All-Star Game in Nashville a must-see event. So must-see in fact that supposedly they’re going to make a movie about it.
Scott was everything this season: A good sport, excellent promoter of the game, cod-kisser, a fan-favourite, and a real-life Disney movie. John Scott is the real MVP.
THE HOCKEY TWITTER AWARD
Social media is an interesting beast. Imagine if there was an app on your phone where you could press a button and your favourite candy magically appeared, but every now and then a troll appeared instead, stole your candy, and insulted your mom. That’s basically what Twitter is and Hockey Twitter is no different. Let us take time to acknowledge those who made Hockey Twitter, and all of hockey, a better place with their efforts.
His real name is Sean McIndoe but Down Goes Brown or DGB is how most of the hockey world has known him for years. After cheering for the Toronto Maple Leafs his entire life I’m sure winning something would be a huge thrill for him.
DGB is what I like to call “Angeringly Perfect”. Everything he writes is always funny, clever, thoughtful, fair, and something I wish so badly I came up with myself. This goes for his long-form writing, which you can actually read on this website now, all the way down to his tweets.
He has been around and killing it since Day 1, since the Bloge Salming collabs, since the Leafs were bad both before and currently. DGB was one of hockey’s earliest adapters at the dawn of the blogosphere and injected something into sports talk that many had forgotten: Humour and fun. He simply gets it.
I refer to Sasky as the Dos Equis Man of hockey. She always corrects me by saying “Dos Equis Woman.”
There isn’t much Sasky hasn’t done. She helped grow the Australian Ice Hockey League, came to North America, and has been quickly taking over ever since. Whether it’s her previous work with the CHL or NHL, or her current work with the CWHL, Sasky is someone who has truly made hockey her life. In fact, she’s back visiting Australia with John Scott, Ben & Jenny Scrivens, and band of other hockey players at the #IceHockeyClassic.
There isn’t a thing Sasky Stewart does that isn’t dedicated to the growth and benefit of hockey for all people, in all forms, in all places.
Stephanie Vail aka the artist known as @myregularface has changed the game in sports media. She just started making GIFs and the entire hockey world got to benefit from it.
She could have easily stopped at simply capturing goals or the biggest plays of the game but that’s too simple. That doesn’t capture the heart, the emotion, that many prefer to see in sports today. She captured the rare, the odd, the silly, and the funny. Many have a hard time capturing those things with words and she does it with GIFs.
As is often the case, the hockey world didn’t treat Stephanie or her rise to prominence with proper respect. She gave the hockey world a wonderful gift. Each game she covered, each tweet she posted, was a gift to be appreciated. As can often be the case in a social media world, people began to treat her like an app. It wasn’t good enough that she was providing this wonderful service for free. People began demanding certain clips, a certain timeliness, not taking a second to think that the “Hockey GIF App” they were barking at is an actual human being. A talented and dedicated one, at that.
And the winner is…
Hockey. Us. We’re the winners.
We get to enjoy the work these people do. We get to enjoy the laughs that DGB’s wit gives us every time without fail. We get to enjoy the impact of Sasky’s infectious energy on the entire sport. We get to enjoy the thrill of a goal, the disbelief in an amazing save, and the smile we get when a young fan freaks out because their favourite player just tossed them a puck, in record time and before we even knew it happened, because of Stephanie.
I’m sure your timeline is full of people who have made hockey more enjoyable. Maybe they make some money blogging or maybe they’re doing it just because they love it. Maybe they’re a friend, maybe they’re a stranger. Maybe they’re a player, GM, or coach. Whoever it is, thank them for being awesome.
Now let’s enjoy silly season together!