When I was in college, our theater department had made-up awards called the Snuffy’s (in honor of Snuffalufagus… instead of the Oscars) Anyway, it was funny to us. They were hardly serious, but just were a fun way to recognize the accomplishments and embarrassing moments of our cast and crew members. At summer camp, I remember having paper plate awards, because nothing is more special than a white paper plate with a sharpie award scribbled on it.
Last weekend in Milwaukee, I was given the great, fantastic idea of having Chasing Checkers paper plate awards, which we could even call “The Chubbys,” but let’s be honest, that sounds bit like a dirty joke.
So, all credit and inspiration goes to Ryan & Co. at the Admirals Roundtable, since this is an annual thing for them, and I’m merely stealing the idea (with permission, of course!).
I’m going to post the “awards” in two separate posts, so look later this week for part two.
There are also going to be a few reader’s choice awards, so please put your nominations/suggestions in the comments. If you are chosen as the award-giving winner, I’ll make you your very own paper plate award.
Special thanks to regular contributors Hayley and Tess, who both helped brainstorm the awards. I couldn’t have done it without them!
1 - John Muse – The What If Award - When injuries to half of the Hurricanes goaltenders and prospects happened at the same time, Muse stepped between the pipes and carried the team. Makes you wonder what would have happened if he had been able to stay in Charlotte… would there be playoff games in the Checkers future?
3 – Justin Krueger – Least Likely To Have His Own Bobblehead. Guys like Kruegs don’t score a lot of goals, or get in a bunch of fights, but night after night, he was on the ice getting it done. He might not be a superstar, but he was a consistent, reliable defenseman and a huge asset to the Checkers this year. If there is one player I’m most looking forward to seeing in his sophomore season, it’s this guy. I see incredibly great things in his future!
5 – Joe Sova- S to the Izzo – Sova was a mid-season addition to the Checkers, and in 20 games he was a -10. Sova’s a character guy who probably needs more time to get used to the Hurricanes organization.
6 – Bobby Sanguinetti – The Largest Strides Award – For a guy that missed a huge chunk of the 2010-11 season due to major hip injury, he came back and came back with a vengeance this year, accumulating 50 points in 60 games, which made him second on the team in overall points. Sangs was a fierce competitor and could definitely be the team’s MVP.
7 – Brett Sutter – Your Dad Was One of My Favorite Players Growing Up Award. Honestly, is there a more talented family in the NHL, and the Hurricanes had all three of the second generation in their system this year!
12 – Sean Dolan - READERS’ CHOICE AWARD. The notes I have about him involve phrases like best signing of the season, responsible, asset, awesome, etc. So, how would you sum up his season in the form of a paper plate award? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
15 – Matt Pistilli – Hot Stick – Early on this season, in an article here at Chasing Checkers there was a comment about Pistol’s Hot Stick. It didn’t make the final edit because, frankly, it sounded a little dirty. That remained his secret nickname all season, and rightfully so. He had two game winning goals to his credit. Two shoot out game winners, and all this from a guy who averaged less than two shots a game. “Hot stick” forever.
17 – Jerome Samson – I’d Rather be in Raleigh Award – A menace on the ice and probably accounts for almost half of the SOG for the Checkers. Unfortunately though, after being returned to Charlotte after an extended call up to the NHL, he just didn’t seem to have his head in the game.
19 - Zac Dalpe- Most likely to know where ALL the speed traps are on I-85 - On six different occasions, Dalpe spent time with the Hurricanes and Raleigh. I hate that drive up I-85, and I only had to do it once this year. This is a guy who was an asset to whichever team he was playing for at the moment, and gave it 100% no matter what.
20 – Riley Nash – I Wanna be Like Mike – This is a guy who it’s hard to say anything negative about. He’s a fierce competitor, and leader on the ice. He had 20 points in 58 games, plus played in his first NHL game, and racked up his first point with the Hurricanes. After he took over the reins from the Mike’s of Mike and Mike’s Mailbag, this seems like a fitting award.
25 - Chris Terry – The Ironman – This is a guy that in his third season with the organization, has missed only two games (due to a suspension I still say he didn’t deserve in early November). For the second year in a row, CT led the Checkers in points, shootout goals, and was a first-time All-Star representative in Atlantic City. If all of these reasons aren’t Terryiffic, I don’t know what is!
26 – Nicolas Blanchard – Million Dollar Smile - What he lacks in teeth he more than makes up for in talent. Blanch is one of the heaviest hitters on the team, and responsible for a two punch KO on an opponent. Blanchard was one of the most crucial members of the squad, as much for his work ethic and heart as for his contributions to the score sheet.
28 – Justin Faulk- Hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave. Selfishly, I’d love to keep him with the Checkers forever, but he’s phenomenal at the NHL level and had a great rookie year in Raleigh.
32 – AJ Jenks – Best Change of Scenery – Jenks is a guy who during his time with the Panthers organization, had underachieved a bit, and his reviews from the folks I know in San Antonio weren’t very favorable. But he proved that a change of scenery was all he needed. He arrived in Charlotte where four of his former teammates from Plymouth were already stars of the team, and quickly found a way to fit in and contribute. I have a feeling we’re going to see big, big things from this guy next year.
33 – Mathieu Roy - READERS’ CHOICE AWARD. The guy had 18 points, and was one of only five players to end the season with a positive +/- rating. He killed penalties, and was a part of the power play unit. There are plenty of possibilities for this guy, so submit your ideas in the comments!
35 – Justin Peters – The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Award – He was considered by many in the organization to be the Checkers number one goaltender, but had a losing record and relatively abysmal numbers. He could at times be a terror on the ice for the other team, stopping every shot he faced, but then, when you least expected it, he would fall flat and allow pucks as soft as beach balls into the net. When Peters he was on, he was ON, but there were definitely times he was daydreaming about barbecue from The Pit in Raleigh instead of focusing on his role at the AHL level.
36 – Evgenii Dadonov- Flight Risk Award – Person most likely to make you accidentally, and very awkwardly, make you scream “DADDY!” He’s also the most likely to pull an Oscar Osala and play in the KHL next season.