Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

On the NHL Awards: Shiny Objects All Around

As the NHL’s best and brightest prepare to descend on Las Vegas, it occurred to me that there are so many other things for which the league could hand out even more shiny things. Similar to the technical Academy Awards, the league could hold a second awards ceremony to honor NHL personnel who just did the little things throughout the season, like refraining from swearing, repressing violent impulses and using Twitter responsibly.

The “I don’t hit no man first” award: Named for the scene in Bull Durham where Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins take it outside in a fight over Susan Sarandon, this honors a player who demonstrates exceptional control over their violent impulses. In hockey, players don’t need to take it outside. They don’t even need to leave the ice.  For all the fights, boarding calls, general pushing and shoving, and bumps to the noggin, imagine what players would do to each other if there were no refs or rules stopping them. Therefore, this award recognizes the player who has demonstrated exceptional impulse control when it comes to all-out fighting and instead has limited himself to chirping, roughing or shoving opponents. 

The Lady F Award: Given to the player who demonstrates exceptional restraint in his use of the f-word. Said player would be chosen by a special panel of teammates, referees and opponents for his deliberate and thoughtful attempts to avoid using profanity on the ice.  This award still needs some work to determine what constitutes “restraint.”

Tweety Bird: Given to the player who makes the most responsible use of social media. For example, this year I would nominate Evgeni Malkin for giving us all free Russian lessons and for declaring things on Twitter such as “I am ready to Halloween!” and “I just heard tomato is fruit. True?”

Fore!: Awarded to the player who makes the best and most productive use of their off season. Golf only counts if it involves charity tournaments where large oversized hockey players don their mismatched, festive golf apparel to help attract large stacks of money from other similarly dressed gazillionaires. Among the other qualifying criteria for this award: hosting non-golf sporting events for charity, going back to school to get smart for life after hockey, posting notes on Twitter about your volunteer vacation so we can be inspired to do the same, and getting married to the nice girl next door and not a singer, actress or model.

‘Bite me. This coveted award would have four categories and be given to a GM, coach, owner and player and/or their family who give the best, most original soundbites/quotes and interviews to the media and who demonstrate exceptional respect for members of the media. This year, I nominate Jonathan Quick’s daughter and her post-Stanley Cup display of love and affection for her father and the Los Angeles Kings, and for keeping media and fans entertained long after the press conference had ended. Honorable mention to Darryl Sutter for keeping a straight face during said press conference.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com