NHL Worst Awards 2011-12: Puck Daddy dishonors hockey’s blunders and busts
The NHL Awards voting is occurring this week, as the best skaters, goalies and coaches are given their due and, in some cases, an excuse to party in Vegas come June.
These awards are given for achievement, success and valor. Which leaves those who underachieve, fail and flop without their moment in the spotlight.
Fear not, also-rans. Your friends at Puck Daddy have you covered, much to your dismay.
Here are the NHL Worst Awards for 2011-12.
Tampa Bay Lightning 2, Philadelphia Flyers 1; Nov. 9, 2011. The infamous "stall" game by the Flyers, in which they combated the Lightning's 1-3-1 defensive system by ragging the puck in their own zone for long stretches of the first period. As the pivot for a wide debate about Guy Boucher's coaching and whether the NHL needed to change its rules, it was a success. As a hockey game, on national television no less, it was like watching a sit-in.
The Anti-Art Ross
This award goes to the player that played the most games with the fewest points scored this season. That player's name: Eric Boulton of the New Jersey Devils, who had zero points in 51 games. This is after a 10-point year (69 games) with the Thrashers.
Most Embarrassing Moment
Craig Smith had a great season for the Nashville Predators, and he's going to be an important part of their team, going forward. But in this Nov. 17 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he had his Patrik Stefan moment:
The horn goes off, the announcers celebrate, Smith raises his arms … and then there's a faceoff because the puck went in the netting instead of the open net. Ouch.
Most Embarrassing Moment, Media Division
Mike Milbury had an interesting year: Softening his stance on hockey violence because of concussions, that incident with a 12-year-old player after a youth hockey game and his quick apology to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby for call him a "punk" and making light of his concussion. Not sure what was more embarrassing: Milbury treating the fact that Crosby plays with an edge as startling news in 2012, or his groveling to the Penguins afterwards.
's injury was horrific: An errant stick to the face that injured his right eye and helped contribute to a concussion that may have ended his NHL career. Just a sad, scary situation.
Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals posted a .558 winning percentage in his 60 games as Capitals coach, which is lower than that of the man he replaced, Bruce Boudreau (.568, 22 games). He's been called out by scratched players and local media. His team couldn't find consistency and gave away leads. He used that infuriatingly inaccurate stat called plus/minus to determine his lineup. Of course, now watch the Caps upset the Bruins …
Dennis Veteri, the Philadelphia Flyers fan who is accused of beating an off-duty cop and New York Rangers fan unconscious outside Geno's after the Winter Classic. He'll stand trial for it, having already been convicted in the Court of Flyers fans; the verdict: "Thanks for helping with the image problem, moron."
Cheater of the Year
If you play the puck from the bench, you are the cheater of the year:
Congrats, Ryane Clowe, you crafty [expletive].
The Green Jacket (Worst Plus/Minus Award)
Eric Staal was robbed! Well, no, not really. Despite being minus-a-billion to start the season, Staal pulled it together under Kirk Muller to score 70 points and end up a minus-20. The owner of The Green Jacket this year: Milan Jurcina of the New York Islanders, who managed to go 34-under-par in just 65 games.
King Of The Penalties
The most penalized player in the NHL this season came down to the final weekend. Zac Rinaldo of the Philadelphia Flyers made it interesting with 30 penalty minutes in his final four games, but Derek Dorsett's 12 PIM in the season finale gave him the PIM WIN, 235-232. Rinaldo did win the NHL top spot for misconducts with eight.
The Colin Campbell Memorial Award for Supplemental Discipline
So … he's an expert.
After being suspended for five games after a head-shot on Gabe Landeskog, Andy Sutton then went out and hit Alexei Ponikarovsky of the Carolina Hurricanes with a leaping shot to the head, good for eight games. Total financial hit: $264,749. To his credit, he's yet to be suspended in 2012. Which means the process worked, we suppose.
While Dwayne Roloson's performance for the Tampa Bay Lightning was every bit as underwhelming and undermining, Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets pretty much sabotaged their season. Yes, he had a brief resurgence when it was discovered that he never knew he could wear larger pads. But his 16-26-3 record was his worst as a pro after he was handed a new contract by GM Scott Howson. His .796 save percentage while shorthanded made him the only netminder under .800 with at least 20 starts. Hey, silver lining: He was 2-2 in the shootout!
Worst Shootout Attempt
Devin Setoguchi, c'mon down:
As we wrote at the time: "With his team down a goal in the overtime shootout, Devin Setoguchi was the last hope for the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. He had already made an impact in the game: Assisting on a third-period goal and then scoring the game-tying goal with 10 seconds remaining in a strange sequence involving a non-call. Now, he could play the hero again … … or he could lose the puck, fall down on the ice, and then hide his eyes as goalie Carey Price skates out to touch the loose disc for a 'save' and end the game. Which is exactly what happened."
Worst General Manager
He fired the assistant coach as a scapegoat. He fired the head coach, and then named an interim coach that enraged the French-speaking segment of the media and fan base. He traded Mike Cammalleri during a game, after Cammalleri spoke up about the franchise's problems. Congrats, Pierre Gauthier of the Montreal Canadiens. Your prize: Being Pierre Gauthier, formerly of the Montreal Canadiens
Most Disappointing Player
There have been some high profile players, and free agents, that went bust this season. At one point, this award was locked up for Alex Ovechkin, before his late-season surge. But Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks had a spectacular tumble. Granted, the point totals for Corey Perry (60) and Bobby Ryan (57) were nothing special either, but the former potted 37 goals while the latter scored 31. Getzlaf? A career low 11 goals, and a 0.70 points per game average, down from 1.13 last season. He was also a minus-11, the first time he was a minus player in the NHL.
Most Disappointing Team
Terry Pegula said in Feb. 2011 that "starting today the Buffalo Sabres' reason for existence will be to win a Stanley Cup." So should the team just fold having spent tens of millions of dollars last summer, only to stumble out of the gate, rally to the bubble, and then fail in the last few games of the season despite having their fate in their hands? For being a tease before and during the season, the Sabres are the most disappointing team of 2011-12; hell, at least the Capitals and Sharks are still playing …