And The Award Goes To…

Here’s a quick rundown of my Sens awards list, a little positivity in an otherwise glum season.

1. Player Of The Year.
Brian Elliott – Brian came into the locker room of a team not just on the ropes, but in the gutter. Elliott made his debut at the end of “the road trip”. You know, the one that cost the Sens any hope at the post season, the one that likely cost Hartsy his job, and the one in which the Sens limped home with a 1-6-1 record. Talk about a nightmare situation for a rookie goaltender to be thrust into. To make matters worse, he lost his first match (2-0 vs. Rangers) after the anemic Sens laid another offensive egg.
But then something strange happened. The Sens started getting reliable goaltending, and thanks in large part to the spark created by a young energetic kid, the tide began to turn. In the next 6 games, the Sens went 4-1-1. Elliott was instrumental in gaining those wins, and was one of the catalysts in the late season rebound of the Senators.

2. MVP
Daniel Alfredsson. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. Without Alfie, this team would be nothing, and it shows when he isn’t dressed for a game (hey “core guys”, if you disagree, or this hurts to read, prove me wrong).  Like the rest of the team, Alfie struggled this year, but for any player, let alone a 35/36 yr old winger, to amass 74 pts in 79 GP, on the 8th worst offensive team in the league, is impressive. Add to that his team leading plus – 7, #1 PP and PK roles, and the fact he missed only 3 games, all while contending with knee surgery, a broken jaw, and a wonky back, and Alfie is the definition of MVP.

3. Best Defenseman
This one was difficult, but at the end of the day I give the nod to Volchy. In January, without him in the line-up, the team went through a terrible road swing, and in most other matches he didn’t dress, the team struggled more often than not. He brings a consistent performance, a dedication to doing whatever it takes to win, and although he may not be an offensive stand-out, he is willing to do his best to contribute in this regard, and at least be available as a threat to shoot or pinch from the point.

4. Best Forward
Jason Spezza. I know this selection will rankle a good many readers, but lets be honest, he had a pretty good year, all things considered. He improved on his physical game later in the season, even dropping the gloves with Phaneuf. He improved upon his defensive play (which is still sorely lacking) and even earned some time on the PK, where he did quite well. His scoring remained solid with 32 goals, and if Heater had hit a few more open nets, his assists would have been improved as well. But, to me, most importantly, he hung in there, and when the team turned it around under Clouston, he was a big part of the reformation process. Will he ever take that all important “next step”? I honestly don’t know, but if he does, he will be among the best players in the NHL, and truly deserve his handsome salary.

5. Most Improved Player
Nick Foligno/Jesse Winchester. This one I call a draw. Both of these players, under Hartsburg, looked like marginal NHL’ers. Once Clouston came along, and clearly defined their roles, and seemingly placed them into “winning” situations, they each shone in their own way. Foligno suddenly become a hard fore-checking winger capable of forcing the opposition to turn over pucks all over the offensive zone, and was instrumental in making a true second line out of the theretofore mixed nuts that were the Sens bottom 9 forwards.
Winchester, once comfortable in a 3rd/4th line role, was able to excel as a fore-checker, boardworker, and all around agitator. Honestly, he was nothing short of spectacular, and even provided solid spot duty on the PK, and the 2nd line. He went from a disappointment, to a critical role player, and that deserves a great deal of recognition from fans and management alike.

Feel free to add your 2 cents…



6 Responses to “And The Award Goes To…”

  1. How about the prize for worst of the year:
    – Gerber wins it: for the 3rd year in a row, Gerbs fails to earn his paycheck.
    – I would give Kuba a tie with Volchy .. they were both down for the road trip.
    How about the most mystifying player:
    – Campoli: lots of people have difficulty figuring out if he is good or not or where he fits ..

    • Couldn’t agree more Sam. Kuba was my other choice, but, fair or not (and probably not) he just doesn’t show the passion for winning that Volchy does.
      Gerbs, aka “Jonah”, was definately a “worst player” candidate…
      Camps? Like his record on the Island, this guy can go either way, shift to shift. If he can settle it down (because I think he really does try) he’ll show steady improvement in his consistency, but he needs to accept a lessor role, and relish the challenge to grow into a bigger role, not the other way around, IMO.

  2. I seriously think that the road trip failure and gerber unable to hold the fort was good .. things had to be truly aweful for BM to think about changing his hand picked coaching candidate. All in all .. not too bad..

  3. GN .. it may not have been that aweful if BM really wanted deBoer and big Mel exercised some discretion and went for plan B. I guess we will never know this one .. From the last press conference .. BM and EM enjoy a very good and casual boss/employee relationship.

    • Yeah, that’s the thing, apparantly BM wanted Deboer, but Big Mel blew the face to face, leaving BM in the lurch…so imagine eating crow about your hire…when it was the boss who crapped the bed…like I said, would have been an interesting conversation.

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