If one were asked to describe this website in one phrase, we think most people would immediately shout out, "respect for authority!"
So when middle management taps on the top of our cubicle wall and asks, "So, Game Time. How's it going?" We know that we're about to get an especially juicy task handed our way. After straightening our knit tie and smoothing the short sleeves of our shirt, we beam a confident smile and ask, "What can we accomplish for you today, sir?"
Well this week when Mirtle was done harassing us about our TPS Reports he handed us an assignment to come up with the Blues' nominees for all of the major NHL Awards.
"It'll be part of a bigger piece for all of the NHL teams as decided by SBN's hockey bloggers. It should really synergize our efforts and help us break the paradigm of the standard awards and really put us outside the box as far as Internet hockey discussions are concerned."
So we put away our design plans for our Jump To Conclusions game that we're working on and sat down and wrote a sweet little position paper on five sheets stapled together with our trusty red Swingline.
Here's Gary Bettman to announce our choices:
If we could translate angry German speeches, we'd tell you what he's saying.
NHL Award: Hart Trophy
Blues Nomination: Chris Mason
Justification: You could look at this nomination and immediately freak out because a goalie has been named as the top player for the Blues.
"They have their own award!" you'd scream.
"Seperate but equal is a dated and goalist concept!" we'd counter.
The fact of the matter is that had the Blues not made the hard decision to banish the likeable Manny Legace to the AHL and essentially name Chris Mason as the starter for the rest of the season, we'd be talking about the upcoming summer draft.
Mason has gotten the decision in every game since the MLK Day Miracle in Boston and has overcome an emergency-appendectomy-affected start to the season to go from a horrid 3-11 record to a 25-21-7. The math there is that he has gone 22-10-7 since his terrible start.
It's been a team effort to go from 15th in the Western Conference up to eighth (and becoming the hottest team in the NHL since Jan. 1), but all of that team effort would have created stories about "those scrappy Blues" rather than the stories about "these dangerous Blues" without Mason.
Team confidence comes from the net out. The Blues have that with Mason.
NHL Award: Norris Trophy
Blues Nomination: Carlo Colaiacovo
Justification: No, we didn't do this just to piss off Leaf Nation and the guys over at Pension Plan Puppets. The fact of the matter is that the Blues have not had a No. 1 defenseman since they traded Chris Pronger away for 40 percent of his market worth. In fact, they still don't have a No. 1 defenseman on the roster. One is on the injured list (Erik Johnson) and one is in juniors (Alex Pietrangelo).
So better days are ahead for the blue line, but for today, Colaiacovo is going to be our nominee for the award. Not only has he emerged from the pressure of the Toronto experience to become the defenseman he was projected to be when the Leafs drafted him in the first round (his 30 points lead the Blues for defensemen), but he has become a solid defender, too.
His tenacious defense has been appreciated by fans and teammates alike, but his acumen at the point on the power play has given the Blues something they were sorely lacking before his acquisition.
Next year he shouldn't get any consideration for this award, but in 2009, he's our best blueliner.
NHL Award: Vezina
Blues Nominee: Chris Mason
Justification: Come, on, man. Even Manny Legace voted for Mason on this one.
NHL Award: Selke
Blues Nominee: Jay McClement
Justification: The Blues have gotten to a point where they no longer have three lines worth of defensive/checking forwards, but the ones they have are quite solid and quite affordable, which is a nice combination (no offense to the $1 million checker, Jamal Mayers).
But of the group of Brad Winchester, BJ Crombeen, McClement, Dan Hinote and Alex Steen, it's McClement who quietly goes about his business, plays against the other team's best offensive guys and leads the top penalty killing unit.
On top of that, he has played every game (at least 16 more than anyone else on the above list) and is the heir apparent to the long list of Blues players who create a ridiculous number of shorthanded breakaways only to not capitalize on them.
McClement is the John Madden of this team.
NHL Award: Calder Trophy
Blues Nominee: TJ Oshie
Justification: This award caused the most confusion, as Patrik Berglund could have easily won it based on offensive production. Likewise, Roman Polak could have easily been named the Calder nominee due to his Jackmanesque ability to step right into the lineup and perform like a veteran blueliner. A big part of the Blues' late-season success can be attrributed to the solid performance of the no-name defense and Polak is a big part of that.
But in the end, the award has to go to Oshie, who has unironically been called Superman by the media and teammates. His jersey is out-selling everyone else on the team at a 3-to-1 clip. He has energized the fanbase and his teammates. And that's all off-ice stuff.
On the ice he makes every shift his personal playground. He has devestated key players with timely hits and detroyed teams with timely goals. He makes beautiful passes to set up his teammates and makes the little plays in the corners to earn the puck that he knows is rightfully his own anyway.
On top of that he has jumped into a major role on this team as a rookie. He plays the power play and the penalty kill. He's on to start games and he's on-ice to finish games. Unlike rookies of the recent past (David Perron, we're looking at you), coach Andy Murray has never felt the need to make Oshie a healthy scratch and never felt like he needed to be demoted to the fourth line to be taught a lesson.
He is counted on by his coach, his teammates, his ownership/management team and by the fans. he is the franchise.
Just think if he hadn't missed 24 games with an ankle injury.
NHL Award: Adams Trophy
Blues Nominee: Andy Murray
Justification: OK, so Mirtle didn't ask for this one because obviously everyone would have picked their own coach. Instead, we'll go back a week in time and I'll give you the question posed to us by the guys at The Committed Indian about our coach: In all seriousness, wouldn't it be a crime if Andy Murray didn't win the Jack Adams Trophy as Coach of the Year?
Nah, they should really give it to some fucking monkey coach for the Red Wings or the Sharks. Seriously, you could put a dead body behind the bench of a talented team like those and coast to a first place finish. Why the hell do guys like that get consideration anyway?
Andy Murray is a svengali in the Blues locker room. He has played head games with youngsters like David Perron and Patrik Berglund and gotten an unreal turnaround out of them. He's gotten a caveman like Cam Janssen to play smart hockey and play his role perfectly. He's called out veterans like Keith Tkachuk and had the team unite over it.
He has taken a team with almost 450 man-games lost to injury (to top players no less) and gotten them to go from last place to striking distance of the seventh seed. Plus, he looks like the Green Goblin and he sounds like he literally has gravel in his throat. You don't want to fuck with that; just give him the damn trophy.
Commenters, what do you think of the choices? Let us know down below in the comments.