Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No Tux Required

On NHL.com today Paul Kukla offers up his choices for what he calls the Tops with a Twist, a set of "awards" that don't get a shiny trophy and a big awards ceremony but probably should. He had some interesting selections...but here's what I would pick:

Best one-on-one offensive player: Vinny Lecavalier. He's big, he's strong, he's fast, and he'll score on you ten times before you figure out he's got the puck in the first place.

Best one-on-one defenseman: Nicklas Lidstrom, because at 37 years old there's still no one who cuts down the angles quite like he does...although if you're looking for pure fear factor, ain't nobody getting by Dion Phaneuf.

Assist man: Crosby my rear end. Give me Joe Thornton dishing the puck any day over ol' puffy lips, at least for now. Call me when Sid hits puberty, then we'll talk.

Best pure goal scorer: Have to agree with Kukla here - Ovechkin wins it, hands down (although there's another guy named Alex whose goals can be just as much a thing of beauty as AO's...)

Power-play specialist: I'm going off the beaten path a bit to say Marian Hossa; between him and Kovalchuk the Thrasher's power play was pretty scary, but give me a guy who can dish the puck as well as shoot it (and without the diva-like antics of Kovy, thanks).

Shorthanded specialist: Jordan Staal. He was robbed of the Calder, he deserves at least a little recognition for the fact that 7 of his 29 goals came when his team was down a man. Even more spectacular? He scored them sober. That's a good underaged boy, Jordan.

Need one save: I'm going to agree with Kukla again and say Marty Turco, especially after watching him in the playoffs. After years of playoff misery and "pulling a Turco" in the postseason he was, hands down, the best player on the Stars and was severely let down by his team. Caps fans, I would also say Olie but...well, it's pretty rare that the Caps ever need just one save to win a game, am I right? Maybe next year.

The guy you never heard of: Uh...the entire Caps roster beyond Ovie? I kid, I kid. I'll go with Boyd Gordon. Not so much in DC anymore, as we've seen what kinds of unheralded things he can do night after night, but I'd be willing to bet few people outside the beltway have heard of Gordo. Hopefully that will change when he raises the Selke in a few years.

Biggest impact on a new team: It pains me to say it, but the combined forces of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger would have to take this one in a walk. I didn't see Tkachuk making that big of an impact, to be sure.

When it gets chippy: Kukla said Boogaard, but clearly he's never heard of a man named Donald Brashear. The guy doesn't even have to drop the gloves anymore - he just says 'boo' and the opponent drops to the ice. Think I'm kidding? Ask Montreal's Aaron Downey...if he can still remember his name. (If you're faint of heart you may not want to watch that, by the way.)

Coach for a must-win game: Scotty Bowman. I'm probably supposed to pick an active coach, but none of them even hold a candle, sorry. And Kukla's choice of Tortorella? Please. The man's seen his team blow more "must-win" games in the last two years than anyone else. Clearly that traveling torture chamber has lost its shine.

Get under your skin guy: Sean freakin' Avery. I haven't seen such a talented pest since Dale Hunter...although at least Huntsy had a little class.

The home crowd: Montreal, tenez et prenez un arc. Vous ĂȘtes le meilleur.

...and a few new categories of my own:

Most overrated player: Gosh, so many to choose from out of this year's UFAs, but I'll go with Daniel "the magical spearing Hobbit" Briere. Sabres fans claimed he had heart but I'm convinced that was just reflected glow from Chris Drury. Too bad the Rags will probably beat that out of him soon enough, too.

Most underrated player: Olie Kolzig never quite seems to get the love and respect he deserves, and I'll wager a bet that playing in DC has cost him a bit of panache over the years. I don't care, though - Zilla, we love you.

Worst arena to play in as a visitor: There's no place scarier than the Joe in Detroit. Any place that you're surrounded by Red Wings fans and at constant threat of being beaned with an octopus is a scary, scary arena.

Worst arena to play in as the home team - Philly. I've heard rumors that the first word of young Flyers' fans is "booooooo".

Next contestant on Project Runway - Guess who? (Oh, come on, you know I had to. )

Any suggestions for more? Comments? Thoughts? Leave 'em!


Jordi said...

Oh poor Aaron Downey, can't remember a single thing poor soul.

Though I'd say the get under your skin guy is a tie between Avery and Latendresse. Seriously.

Victor said...

Does this count as yet another reference to the Diver, CC? Because I think you're this close to him getting a restraining order against you. ;~)