Because I will be swamped with the World Series this coming weekend, I am going to give out the New York Rangers’ monthly awards for October a few days prior to the end of the month, but the rest of the awards for the season will be given when the month is over—these are just special circumstances. (And due to my bad luck, I’m sure all these players will reverse themselves before the end of the month.)
“Keystone Cops Award” for Bad Defense
Winner: Michael Del Zotto
This award really could have gone to any number of defensemen on this team, namely Steve Eminger. But because Del Zotto plays more and is counted on for better play, the award goes to him. He has really struggled thus far and has looked out of place at times. It’s hard to believe that he is a +4 on the season.
“Banana Boat Sun Burn Award” for Bad Goaltending
Winner: Martin Biron
Though Henrik Lundqvist has had his share of clunkers this season, Biron’s performance against the Thrashers last night gives him the win for this award. It was not entirely his fault, but Biron has been exposed for what he is—a semi adequate backup goalie. I think we can strip him of the Vezina that we bestowed on him after his first game.
“Chris Higgins Cloak of Invisibility Award” for Scoring Struggles
Winner: Alex Frolov
I was one of many people who did not want Alex Frolov on this team, and with two goals in eight games, he has shown to be the most invisible forward out there. Both goals he scored were flukes and we have yet to really see anything to get excited about from him. I was really hoping that he would step up in Gaborik’s absence, but he has looked the same all along. Although he is more visible than Higgins was at this point, he is being counted on for some production and the numbers he is putting up are not cutting it. If continues at this rate, we may need to rename the award after Nikolay “Don’t Call Me Nikolai” Zherdev.
“Gordie Howe Award” for All-Around Best Play
Winner: Sean Avery
Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows I am not a fan of Sean Avery, but you also know that I am a fan of giving credit where credit is due. Avery is off to a fantastic start this season and if he keeps it up, he will have a career year. With a goal and six assists so far, he has been very active on the score sheet and also getting back to his game of pestering opponents. He also leads the team in penalty minutes with twenty-five.
“Aaron Voros Award” for Streaky Play
Winner: Derek Stepan
Unfortunately, the best thing Derek Stepan did this season was also the worst. The kid has talent, there is no doubt in that, but an opening night hat trick had fans thinking that he would quickly become a superstar. He has since not scored a goal and really has not contributed much aside from two assists. I am not going to get on him, though, because he is a rookie in the learning process of NHL hockey.
“Iron Curtain Award” for Most Shots Blocked
Winner: Dan Girardi
Next to Michal Rozsival, Girardi has been this team’s best defenseman. He also leads the team in blocked shots with 24 and is showing some justification for the contract he was signed to this summer. We can only hope that he will continue to play this well for the rest of the year.
“Vasily Zaytzev Award” for Team Sniper
Winner: Brandon Dubinsky
With injuries to key players, Dubinsky has been thrust into an important role and is leading all players in ice time. He is also putting a dent on the score sheet, as he leads the team in goals (4) and points (8). Perhaps he has finally developed into the power forward we have been waiting for all along.
“Glass Balls Award” for Most Injured Player
Winner: Marian Gaborik Chris Drury (View update)
This is not meant to pick on Gaborik, but he has missed the most time due to injury this month. I just thank God that it isn’t a groin issue. Gaborik is expected to be skating and playing sometime next week.
UPDATE: It was brought to my attention that Chris Drury should have won the award because he has not played a full game yet. To be honest, I forgot he was even on the team when I was thinking of these awards. I will now change the award to him, because of that reason and I thank the reader who pointed it out. (I’m just going to leave the original context of the article as it was, even with the change.)
Have an idea for an award? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!