The Frank J. Selke Trophy is given to the best defensive forward in hockey, as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. It was won this year by Jonathan Toews, who narrowly beat out Patrice Bergeron. We don’t care about that though, because the results get hilarious further down. This is why I’ve never trusted democracy.
A notable example: 45th place finisher Eric Fehr, who received one fifth place vote, though that was probably just Greg Wyshynski screwing with all of us. Perhaps this RMNB post made an indelible impact.
Ted shields his eyes — as he should — while walking past the Stanley Cup. (Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla)
When the NHL lockout ended in the early morning hours of January 6, some wondered if the fans would come back. Having endured their third work stoppage since 1994, a fair number of hockey fans insisted they wouldn’t. But, in the end, fans showed up at the rink.
Despite its delayed start, this was a successful year for the NHL and the Players Association. Despite shooting themselves in the foot, the bleeding appears to have been minimal. Wednesday’s game between the Bruins and Hawks became the most watched game one of the Stanley Cup Final since 1997.
With the CBA sorted out for the next ten years and the sport doing well, the owners and the players are starting to reconcile.
Caps players seem to love America’s pastime. Some of them prefer a game of catch over the traditional pregame soccer kickaround. Some of them are filthy Blue Jays fans. Brooks Laich is a fan as well, and on Monday he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Laich also got an extensive tour of the O’s clubhouse from All Star closer Jim Johnson, a noted New York Rangers fan.
“He said ‘Just don’t bounce it,’ which is what everybody said,” Laich recalled Dickerson as saying. “I said ‘I’m gonna bring it in there’ and he goes ‘YES! Finally somebody’s gonna throw it! Bring the heat!’”
“It was awesome!” added Laich. “A lot of people asked me ‘Are you gonna be nervous?’ You’re used to preforming in front of people — maybe not in this environment but it was more exciting.”
The day after Christmas, Nicklas Backstrom was skating in a KHL game for Dynamo Moscow. Midway through the second period of a 1-1 game, Nick took a pass in the far corner. He attempted to spin around and take the puck behind the net. Instead, Backstrom was slammed into the boards by Milan Kytnár; his face hitting the dashers. Backstrom got up, clearly shaken. He left the game after one more shift.
Given Backstrom missed 40 games last year after being concussed by Rene Bourque, this was a scary blow. Dynamo, however, insisted that his brain didn’t take the beating. It was, they said, a bruised neck. Backstrom’s agent reiterated that. But then Alex Ovechkin said something funny when asked about his teammate’s injury: “Sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy.” Dizziness, of course, does not usually go along with bruises.
Hendy high-fives fans as he walks down the tunnel to the Capitals locker room. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Matt Hendricks is a beloved player in Washington, but by no means is he an essential one. The Caps know that, and he knows that. With his two-year, $1.65 million contract expiring on July 5, he may have played his last game as a Cap. Hendricks, though, hopes that’s not true.
“I hope I don’t get to that date in July,” he said Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex as the team cleared out their lockers. “I hope I’m back here in Washington.”
“We’ve been in the negotiating process over the course of the season,” Hendricks added. “It’s a business. It’s a big part of the business. You want to get what you feel you deserve and what you feel is right.”
Ribs salutes the fans after his overtime goal in game five. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
For perhaps the final time in DC, Mike Ribeiro is #swag. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
The Washington Capitals have been searching for a second-line center for years. Last summer, they finally got one. In a shortened season with the Caps, Mike Ribeiro was excellent — even when his team wasn’t. He anchored Washington’s power play, turning Alex Ovechkin – a guy the Caps have invested $123 million in — into a lethal threat. He stabilized the top six. He led the league in points on the man advantage, a huge source of the team’s scoring. He will soon be a free agent. The captain wants him back, though, and so does the coach.
Ovechkin speaks to the media at Kettler on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)
Alex Ovechkin played in 86 games between the NHL and KHL this year. Though the season was lockout-shortened, several Capitals stars were still bruised and battered. Nick Backstrom injured his neck in Russia, Brooks Laich injured his groin in Switzerland, and various others dropped off along the way. We know now Ovi was playing through some sort of injury as well.
“Of course, there were aches and pains,” he told Slava Malamud of Sport-Express in Russian after game seven Monday. “Won’t say anything about needles, but injuries are always there. There were enough hits and physical play.”
Alex Ovechkin was understandably disappointed when he met the media for the final time this season. The Caps had been eliminated from the playoffs just 15 hours earlier, the sixth career postseason defeat of Ovechkin’s career.
It wasn’t all sad though. As Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington began a question about the quality of this Caps team compared to ones in the past, an R&B song began blasting from the Kettler PA system — specifically “Ridin’ Solo” by Jason Derulo. In a surreal moment, the music kept thundering in the rink for almost a minute. Ovechkin, and most of the media, couldn’t hold a straight face. It was funny.
Jump below to listen to how the whole thing went down.
Alex Ovechkin sat on the bench, glaring down at the ice with his head between his hands. He looked defeated, because he was. His sixth visit to the Stanley Cup Playoffs was about to end in another disappointing loss, after another year failing to meet expectations.
After the game, Ovi stood in front the white board at the far end of the Capitals locker room and went off.
I am not saying there was a phone call from [the NHL], but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings; you know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit.
It was mid-March and Karl Alzner was on the Internet. Like most twentysomethings, he looked up silly videos on YouTube to kill time. He stumbled across one from early last year — it was of Peter Dill, a basketball player for Seton Hall. Dill scored a single basket in his two years playing for the school, but he did get very excited when his team scored. Alzner played the clip for Mathieu Perreault.
“The guy would just go crazy, pretend he had Thor’s Hammer and he’d be smashing the ground,” Alzner told me Saturday afternoon. “Perry, I could just see his eyes, like ‘this is awesome!’”
“We should do that after we win games,” Perreault responded.