Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guest Commentary: Arnott and Tootoo (the hamsters) Explain the NHL Awards

A refresher: Arnott and Tootoo are the hockey-obssessed female hamsters who live with my friend, Beautiful Alice's son.  We are not sure if they're aware they are female, or for that manner, if they understand that they are hamsters. 

Tootoo:  Hello and welcome to our annual pre-awards show.  I'm Tootoo and this is my associate, Arnott.

Arnott:  Hi!

Tootoo:  Today we're going to explain the awards and then we'll give you our predictions.  AND, we have some special surprise guests! 

Arnott: Elvis is in the building!  Hahahahahahahaha!

Tootoo:  You're a funny one today, Arny! But seriously let's get the ball rolling here.  First up, We have the Hart Trophy...

Arnott:  I know!  I know!  It's the award for the best resting heart rate!

Tootoo: Actually it's...

Arnott:  Prettiest home-made valentine for your mom?

Tootoo: Nooo.  It's...

Arnott: Best hairline!

Tootoo baps Arnott down a nearby habitrail tube and continues.
Tootoo:  The Hart trophy is the leagues recognition of the overal MVP for the regular season.  This year's nominees include:

Arnott: (poking his head out of the tube) Alexander Ovechkin!

Tootoo:  Not this year.

Arnott:  Get out!  No Ovechkin? 

Tootoo:  Nope.

Arnott:  Sidney Crosby?

Tootoo:   Nope.

Arnott:   Are they even giving away the Hart this year?

Tootoo:   Yeeeees, they are awarding the Hart this year.  Here are the nominees:  Corey Perry from the Anaheim Ducks, Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks

Arnott: Is there another team that ends in -uck?

Tootoo:  Shh! And Martin St.Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. My prediction?  Corey Perry may have the numbers in his favor, but the judges might very well be hypnotized by Sedin's forehead.  Let's face it, Vancouver's coach has learned how to harness the power of the Sedins' foreheads.  That's why they win so much. 

Arnott:  Martin St.Louis is funnier.

Tootoo:   I agree.  Heck, I'd pay to see a buddy movie starring St.Louis, Marc Savard and Wade Belak. 

Arnott:  That would be awesome!

Tootoo:   Next up, the Vezina.

<b>Arnott:</b>  I can't figure out what that one's about.  The nominees are a vampire, Drew Carey and Pekka Rinne.  They just don't go together. 

Tootoo:  It's the award for best goalie.  A vampire?

Arnott:  Dude.  Look at the picture of the goalie from Vancouver.  He looks like Count Chocula.

Tootoo:   That's Roberto Luongo, not Count Chocula.

Arnott:  But I LIKE Count Chocula!

Tootoo:  (sighs) Anyway, the nominees are: Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks, Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins and our own Pekka Rinne from the Nashville Predators.  Our pick for the winner...

Arnott: Luuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Tootoo: You picked him because you think he looks like Count Chocula.

Arnott: Nooo…

Tootoo:  Arny…

Arnott:  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

Tootoo:  Actually, I think that, based on numbers, the more likely winner could be either Rinne or Thomas.  I give Thomas the edge because he had a stand-out season.  Rinne?  He’s rarely if ever less than spectacular on the ice, but his injury early in the season derailed him for a bit. 

Now, let’s take a look at the Calder.  The Calder is awarded to the outstanding rookie.    Logan Couture from the San Jose Sharks, Michael Grabner from the New York Islanders and Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes.  Once again, it’s numbers versus personality and on-ice fireworks.  Couture brings it in a big-shouldered, old school NHL way, but Skinner is the lost Glimmer Twin on the ice.

Arnott:  Are you picking the Calder based on fabulousness?

Tootoo:   Not really.

Arnott:  Really…  Whatever.  Next award.

Tootoo:   Next Award would be the Selke.  This award goes to the forward who is the best at defense.  And the nominees are:  Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Kessler of the Vancouver Canucks and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Backhawks.  Who do you like for this one?

Arnott:  You’re asking me?  Really?

Tootoo:  Yes.

Arnott:  Ryan Kessler.

Tootoo:   …and why?

Arnott: Comes down to the numbers!  And…

Tootoo:   And?

Arnott: Datsyuk looks like a Sedin and Toews has a scary stare. 

Tootoo:  (eyes Arnott for a moment, sighs and continues) This brings us to the Jack Adams Trophy, which is awarded to the coach that has contributed the most to his team’s success.  The finalists are:  Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators and Alain Vigneault of the Vancouver Canucks. 


Arnott: Nope.  You’ve got this one.  I’m just gonna listen.

Tootoo:  You sure?

Arnott:  I’m sure.

Tootoo:  All right, then.  All three are blessed with outstanding players, dedicated fan bases and supportive administrations and coaching staff.  However, we give the nod to Barry Trotz.  Of the three, the Predators culture most closely reflects the values and characters of their coach.  He sets the tone for everything that happens on the ice and in the locker room. Tippett was the rightful winner last year given the challenges he faced while taking on the head coaching job for Phoenix, but this should be the year for Coach Trotz.


Arnott: Right there with ya, big guy.

Tootoo: We’re running long, so we’re going to speed through a few of these…

Arnott: In other words, who cares?

Tootoo:   Arny! (shakes her head) Here we go:

The Masterton is awarded to the player who shows dedication and perseverance.  This year’s noms include Ray Emery of Anaheim, Daymon Langkow of Calgary and Ian Laperrire of Philadelpia.  We like Emery for a number of reasons, not the least of which was his part in making sure the Ducks got into the playoffs. 

The Ted Lindsay Award is another MVP title.  This year’s finalists are: Corey Perry of Anaheim, Daniel Sedin of Vancouver and Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay.    All of these guys are deserving of the award, but I honestly like Steven Stamkos.  He’s been undersung in some corners, but he’s an extraordinary, unselfish guy on the ice. I’d love to see him get it.

The NHL Foundation Award goes to the player who has demonstrated a commitment to making the world a better place by using his fame and talent to help others.

Arnott: I like this award!

Tootoo:  Me, too!  The nominees are: Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.   All deserve the nod but Mike Green is someone who walks the talk when it comes to environmental issues. We’d like to see him on the dias this year.

The GM of the year award has some stellar candidates as well. Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks, David Poile of the Nashville Predators and Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning  are all compelling choices.  As much as we’d love to see our boy Poile get the chance to make the winner’s walk; Yzerman’s rehab of the Tampa Bay Lightning makes him a shoo-in. 

The strictly by-the-numbers awards winners are:

For the William Jennings goalie trophy: Berto Luongo and Cory Schneider of Vancover.
The Art Ross Trophy for points scored after the end of the season goes to Henrik Sedin.
The Maurice “Rocket” Richard for regular season play goes to Corey Perry of Anaheim.

Arnott: Is that everything?

Tootoo:   There are three awards left.  But before we talk about those, let’s bring out our special guests.  Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to His Holiness the Doggie Lama Niklas Lidstrom the Shih Tzu and Sheba Weber DeYorkie.

 (Niklas and Sheba enter)

Tootoo: How does it feel to be up for three NHL awards, Niklas?

Niklas: Rewards?  Did I do something good?

Sheba: Maybe you saw a squirrel!

Niklas: Squirrel!?!?!?!  Where?

Sheba: Squirrel!  Let’s go get it!

(Tootoo and Arnott watch as Lidstrom and Weber run off to chase a hypothetical squirrel.)

Arnott:  Um.

Tootoo:  Well.  Okay then.  The final awards for today.  There’s the Bridgestone Messier Award for leadership and character that goes beyond being a good player.  The nominees are Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings.  (Tootoo sighs)

Arnott: Lidstrom.

Tootoo:   Yeah.  He’s definitely the right choice for this.  Next there’s the Lady Byng for sportsmanlike conduct. All three nominees and that includes Loui Erikkson of  the Dallas Stars, Martin St.Louis from Tampa Bay and, uh, Niklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings all deserve to walk home with the trophy, but we like  St.Louis’ grace under pressure makes him our choice for this one.

And finally, there’s the Norris for best all-around Dee-Guy.  The nominees are Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber. This one’s a toughie. 

Arnott:  No it’s not.  Who didn’t run off to chase squirrels a minute ago? 

Tootoo:   Remember, you can’t factor in post-season. 

Arnott:  Dang.

Tootoo:  Plus, Zdeno is a biter.  It could go either way.  With Lidstrom, you have the veteran who has been recognized time and again versus the young gun, Weber, who is beginning to grow into his role as an upper echelon player.  Thing is, the NHL loves tradition and continuity. I think Lidstrom will walk away with the Norris this year.

Arnott:  That wrap it up?

Tootoo:  Indeed it does!

Arnott: Nice job hosting this year.

Tootoo:   Thanks, homes!

Arnott: You up for draft coverage?

Tootoo:  Depends.  I’ve got three seasons of Dr. Who waiting for me on Netflix.

Arnott: Suh-weet!  I’ll bring the popcorn!

copyright 2011 Jas Faulkner