A new Stanley Cup champion has been crowned, and the NHL is getting ready to honor its best & brightest stars at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on Wednesday. In the meantime, let's break out the Woopie Cushions. Yes, it's time for the 5th Annual Alternative NHL Awards, our opportunity to celebrate the opposite end of the hockey spectrum - those players who stick out for being underachievers, unlucky, or just plain odd.
This year I'll break this up into a series, starting with a look at those who pay the price for other players' crimes...
Hockey teams have a number of specialists available. You have checking centers, power play quarterbacks, agitators, enforcers, and faceoff experts, for example. Many teams, however, have a Designated Sitter, the one guy who heads to the box and serves penalties for someone else (when you have either a bench minor, or one on the goalie).
|2011 - Andrew Brunette||12||15||27||-13||4|
This season, Andrew Brunette of the Chicago Blackhawks led the way with 16 bonus trips to the box, which is pretty insane considering he only took two minor penalties all season! 88% of the time he went to the sin bin this season, it wasn't even his fault!
Brunette was followed by Columbus Blue Jacket Vinny Prospal and Detroit Red Wing Todd Bertuzzi with 12 each. Do we have a trend here, wherein cagey veterans get this job in the hopes that they can catch the other team unawares as they come back onto the ice?
Last season's leader in this category was J.P. Dumont, who was bought out by the Predators and took his game to Switzerland instead.
The top guys in the NHL in this regard are listed in the table below...
|Pa Parenteau||NY Islanders||9|
|Petr Sykora||New Jersey||9|
|Erik Christensen||NY Rangers/Minnesota||8|
|Matt D'Agostini||St. Louis||8|
|Brett Connolly||Tampa Bay||7|
|Nick Palmieri||New Jersey/Minnesota||7|
|Nino Niederreiter||NY Islanders||6|
|Chris Porter||St. Louis||6|
Stay tuned for the rest of the 2011 Alternative NHL Awards, which will be handed out over the next couple days!
For previous years' winners, check out this series which dates back to 2008.