x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Presenting the rest of the NHL season’s best

Some of the year's most memorable moments do not get the recognition they deserve

Matt Hendricks, centre, of the Nashville Predators collides with Tom Sestito, right, of the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on December 3, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee.   Frederick Breedon / Getty Images
Matt Hendricks, centre, of the Nashville Predators collides with Tom Sestito, right, of the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena on December 3, 2013, in Nashville, Tennessee. Frederick Breedon / Getty Images

As the regular season winds down, speculation rises as to who warrants the big awards – Hart, Calder, Vezina and Norris. But not everything that is memorable is rewarded. With that in mind, we present the Prizes That Really Ought To Be Prizes.

Worst use of goalie pants

It is overtime in Buffalo. A rebound ricochets high into the air off the stick of the Phoenix Coyotes’ netminder, Mike Smith. The puck lands in Smith’s goalie pants. Smith has no clue where the puck is. For a better view of the situation, he retreats into his own net. The puck has now crossed the line and it counts as a goal – the rare and elusive “buttgoal” – and the Coyotes lose 2-1.

Best epic meltdown

In a January game, the Calgary coach, Bob Hartley, sends out his tough guys for the opening face-off. The Vancouver coach, John Tortorella, responds in kind. The players, naturally, instantly brawl. We are two seconds into the game and 21 penalties have been called. But that is not the epic part. No, that comes between periods when a frothing Tortorella makes his way to the door of the Calgary dressing room to get at Hartley. A melee ensues. The league suspends Tortorella for 15 days without pay.

Worst timing

Four days after trading Tim Thomas to Dallas, the Florida Panthers give out 7,500 Tim Thomas bobblehead dolls to their fans.

Line-stealing award

Anaheim’s Corey Perry scores against Pittsburgh, and the Fox Sports West announcer John Ahlers says the goal went “into the top shelf, where your mother never dusts”.

I believe he meant maid. Also, I believe that this was a Saturday Night Live skit. (It was: go to YouTube and search “Ray Romano Sportscenter”.)

Worst promotion

Under the “Biscuit in the Basket” promo, Carolina Hurricanes fans who say “I’m a Caniac and it’s Bo-time” are entitled to receive one free Boberry Biscuit at any area Bojangles. Clearly, hockey’s growth prospects lie with Carolina hill folk who are feeling a mite peckish.

Worst attempt at diplomacy

“I will take your Swedish head and turn it into a Swedish meatball!” – Jack Edwards of television’s NESN offers thoughtful analysis as Boston’s Jarome Iginla tussles with Phoenix’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Best Twitter fight

When Vancouver’s Tom Sestito is expelled from a game after one second for fighting, the ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann mocks him as “essentially a six-foot, five-inch, 228-pound boxing hobo on skates”.

Sestito’s 13-year-old sister, Victoria, upbraids Olbermann, tweeting that her brother’s pay rate is “probably just a little bit more than your liberal left-wing [backside] makes”. Olbermann replies: “Nope, it isn’t.”

rmckenzie@thenational.ae

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