Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mid-season Awards

Before I jump into my mid-season awards, here's a quick plea to the local NY media...

Football season is almost over (as a Giants fan, hopefully not until after Feb 3), the Knicks are a trainwreck, and juiceball doesn't start until April...so how about we see an increase in hockey coverage over the next few months? We've got three local teams in the playoff mix, and some interesting stories associated with each. You can help create an appetite for the sport by improving your coverage of it.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox. Now onto my random awards:

MVP - Rick DiPietro. OK, so this one is a no-brainer, and not even worth expanding upon. Or so you would think, but leave it to Al Trautwig of the illustrious Hockey Night Live! to disagree. He chose Bill Guerin as the Islanders MVP, bolstering the claim that he either doesn't know or doesn't care about Islanders hockey. I guess when you work in close proximity to Isiah Thomas, the insanity can be contagious.

Most Pleasant Surprise - the development of Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais. There was widespread support from the fans before the start of the season to cut ties with one or both of these guys to make room for Bryan Berard. I made my feelings to the contrary clear back in August. I'm glad to say, I was right (something which doesn't happen every day). Both players have raised their games to the next level this year, and continue to show improvement on both ends of the ice.

Least Pleasant Surprise - the disappearing act of Mike Comrie. Part of me hesitates being overly critical of our leading point scorer, a guy who has 50% more points than our #2 scorer. So the fact that he wins this award despite that speaks volumes. My concern at the start of the year was that he was going to take advantage of his one-year deal to put up monster numbers and then jump ship to a more competitive team. After all, this was the chance he's been waiting for - to be a #1 center in the NHL. Unfortunately, rather than work hard every shift to make the most of this opportunity, he's become prone to disappearing for long stretches. Also, he has a unique issue with skating - his speed moving towards the offensive zone is easily double that of his speed coming back to help out defensively. It's an odd phenomenon, but no doubt a big contributor to his team worst minus 12 rating.

Biggest Bummer - the injury to Jon Sim. I think Billy Jaffe is a good analyst, and so when I heard him say that Jon Sim had one of the best wrist shots in the league I took notice. Plus, his style of play seemed a great complement to the Sillinger line, and I was excited to see if they could be even more productive than last season. Unfortunately his season ended in the home opener, and perhaps not coincidentally the Sillinger line has failed to click thus far in the season.

First UFA to Sign to an Extension - Trent Hunter. We have 9 unrestricted free agents on our roster. They are: Hunter, Comrie, Vasicek, Fedotenko, Satan, Simon, Berard, Meyer, and Dubielewicz. At various points this season, Comrie, Vasicek, and Fedotenko all looked like "must sign" players, but over time much of that luster has worn. By a small margin, I choose Hunter. Last year, he was hands-down my favorite player on the team. Despite a disappointing year thus far, he's the first guy in the group I'd sign.

Best and Worst Trend of the Year - celebrities at the Coliseum. Kevin Connolly, the Duff sisters, Pat Sajak (??!!??)...what to make of this? I guess any exposure is good exposure. Plus I did get a kick out of watching Connolly seemingly challenge a Toronto fan to a fight. He's not a big guy, but it's easy to be bold when you have 15,000 people behind you.

That's it for the First Annual Islanders 360 Random Mid-Season Awards show. Due to the writer's strike, the ceremonies will not be televised this year.


7th Woman said...

HA! Very good Mike! Right on most accounts! Ricky was certainly a shoe in, and you're right about Hunter out of that group. Can't imagine how much more entertaining this would have been had it not been for the writers strike. Good job!

Plainview Patty said...

How could have Kevin Connolly at the Islanders game be a bad thing? It is bringing more guys to the game, because they are such Entourage fans.
And, the girls are coming to get a glimpse of cutie Kevin Connolly rocking his Islanders gear and glasses. So cute!