The 2010 Alternative NHL Awards

The NHL Awards will be handed out next month in Las Vegas, but for the fifth season in a row, it's time to hand out the Alternative NHL Awards, which celebrate hockey's greatest rulebreakers, recognizing the most frequent occupants of the penalty box by their individual specialty.

Take a walk back through history by reviewing the awards from 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006, or jump right ahead to this year's big winners...

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Boarding


Blake Comeau

#57 / Right Wing / New York Islanders

6-1

207

Feb 18, 1986



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Blake Comeau 61 17 18 35 -2 40 0 1 2 0 133 12.8


Not only did Blake Comeau lead the league with 5 Boarding penalties this season, but three of them took place in the offensive zone, which must have driven Isles coach Scott Gordon nuts. Atlanta's Christoph Schubert, Dallas forward Steve Ott, and San Jose's Ryan Clowe were next with 4 Boarding calls each.

Charging


Ben Eager

#55 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks

6-2

230

Jan 22, 1984



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Ben Eager 60 7 9 16 9 120 0 0 2 0 68 10.3

Eager and Philadelphia's Ian Laperierre led the way with 3 Charging calls apiece, but Eager did the trick in just 60 games, as opposed to Lappy's 82. This is Eager's 2nd such honor, having also led the league in Charging (while playing just 23 games) in 2007-8. Tone it down, pal!

Cross-Checking


Kurtis Foster

#6 / Defenseman / Tampa Bay Lightning

6-5

220

Nov 24, 1981



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Kurtis Foster 71 8 34 42 -5 48 3 0 1 0 165 4.8


Joni Pitkanen

#25 / Defenseman / Carolina Hurricanes

6-3

210

Sep 19, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Joni Pitkanen 71 6 40 46 -11 72 1 0 1 0 161 3.7

Foster & Pitkanen both notched 6 Cross-Checking penalties in just 71 games, earning them a tie for this title. Nashville's Ryan Suter and Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell also had 6 calls, but played more games.

For Pitkanen, this championship comes after years of hard work. He finished 2nd last year, and 3rd in 2007 before finally making it to the top. See kids, persistence pays off!

Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass


Roman Hamrlik

#44 / Defenseman / Montreal Canadiens

6-2

207

Apr 12, 1974



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Roman Hamrlik 75 6 20 26 -2 56 2 0 1 0 100 6.0

Montreal's Hamrlik sent 5 free pucks into the stands, and went to the penalty box for it. Carolina's Pitkanen and Phoenix defenseman Zybnek Michalek were just behind him with 4.

Diving


Jordin Tootoo

#22 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators

5-9

200

Feb 02, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jordin Tootoo 51 6 10 16 2 40 0 0 1 0 101 5.9

Tootoo took 2 Diving calls this year (how appropriate) in just 51 games, edging him ahead in this battle ahead of Jon Sim, who also was whistled twice for Diving, but played more games for the Islanders (77).

At a team level, Washington and Dallas led the way with 3 diving calls each.

Elbowing


Shane O`Brien

#55 / Defenseman / Vancouver Canucks

6-3

230

Aug 09, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Shane O`Brien 65 2 6 8 15 79 0 0 0 0 37 5.4

The Canucks' SOB was called for Elbowing 3 times this season in 65 games, giving him the award here over Dallas' Steve Ott and Phoenix's Martin Hanzal who played more.

Fighting


Zenon Konopka

#28 / Center / Tampa Bay Lightning

6-1

213

Jan 02, 1981



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Zenon Konopka 74 2 3 5 -11 265 0 0 1 0 41 4.9

This is probably the one penalty that guys actively attempt to rack up, and Konopka's 33 Fighting majors are the most in a single season since before the Great Lockout of 2004-5. Brandon Prust, who split time between the Flames and Rangers, and Ian Laperierre of Philadelphia came next at 25 fights each.

Goaltender Interference


Alexandre Burrows

#14 / Left Wing / Vancouver Canucks

6-1

188

Apr 11, 1981



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Alexandre Burrows 82 35 32 67 34 121 4 5 3 0 209 16.7

A truly multi-faceted pest, Burrows ran the opposing team's goaltender 6 times this season, just ahead of Scott Hartnell's 5. I don't think Vancouver coaches will complain about those penalties, however, as long as Burrows notches 35 goals as well.

High-Sticking


Evgeni Malkin

#71 / Center / Pittsburgh Penguins

6-3

195

Jul 31, 1986



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Evgeni Malkin 67 28 49 77 -6 100 13 2 7 0 268 10.4

Pittsburgh's Malkin inched ahead in a very tight race here, with 8 High-Sticking calls in 67 games. Danny Briere and Jason Blake also had 8, but played more games to reach that lofty goal.

Holding


Jack Hillen

#38 / Defenseman / New York Islanders

5-11

200

Jan 24, 1986



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Jack Hillen 69 3 18 21 -5 44 1 0 0 0 78 3.8

What does a defenseman do when he loses position on an attacker? Hold him up, of course, and Hillen got whistled 9 times for being "all hands". Ryan Whitney, who split time in Anaheim and Edmonton this season, was second with 8 such calls.

Hooking


Ryan Smyth

#94 / Left Wing / Los Angeles Kings

6-2

189

Feb 21, 1976



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Ryan Smyth 67 22 31 53 8 42 11 0 3 0 206 10.7

This was an incredibly close race, basically a six-way tie with 9 Hooking calls each, with Smyth getting the nod based on fewest games played. The other leading Hookers were Henrik Sedin and Alexander Edler of Vancouver, Danny Briere of Philadelphia, Buffalo's Derek Roy and Atlanta's Rich Peverley.

Interference


Shane O`Brien

#55 / Defenseman / Vancouver Canucks

6-3

230

Aug 09, 1983



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Shane O`Brien 65 2 6 8 15 79 0 0 0 0 37 5.4

SOB ekes out another close win, with 9 Interference calls, tied with San Jose's Douglas Murray (who played 79 games to O'Brien's 65).

Roughing


Steve Downie

#9 / Right Wing / Tampa Bay Lightning

5-11

200

Apr 03, 1987



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Steve Downie 79 22 24 46 14 208 7 0 1 0 116 19.0

Roughing is one of those penalties that's hard to defend, as it's more the result of undisciplined aggression more than anything else. Downie racked up 30 Roughing calls this season, the most in the post-lockout era, and miles ahead of Scott Hartnell's 20.

Slashing


Sidney Crosby

#87 / Center / Pittsburgh Penguins

5-11

200

Aug 07, 1987



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Sidney Crosby 81 51 58 109 15 71 13 2 6 0 298 17.1

Sid the Kid whacked opponents with his stick 11 times, and went to the box for his two minutes of shame. Wayne Simmonds of the Kings and Tampa's Steve Downie came next with 10 Slashing calls.

Too Many Men

The Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche led the league with 13 Too Many Men calls during the season. Anaheim, by comparison, only got called twice.

Tripping


Pavel Kubina

#77 / Defenseman / Atlanta Thrashers

6-4

245

Apr 15, 1977



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Pavel Kubina 76 6 32 38 0 66 2 0 1 0 159 3.8

With 11 Tripping penalties, Kubina successfully defended his 2009 title! Buffalo's Derek Roy came in second with 10 calls, but we'll give him a special demerit for committing 5 of them in the offensive zone. Ouch, those have to hurt!

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