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The NHL Fan Choice Awards: an analysis

The Nashville Predators’ title hopes have been dashed for long enough for most of the team to take vacation and come back and go on vacation again. Zac Rinaldo has been involved in charity work and has made lots of comments about CBD oil on Twitter. Rocco Grimaldi got a new car. Kyle Turris has been vilified and also managed to win silver at the World Hockey Championship. The Preds even hired a power play coach!

But, while the postseason of pain comes winding down, some Preds are in the running for some other prestigious titles. Now, usually these are just a fun afterthought for fans, but since there’s literally nothing else to cheer about (St. Louis vs. Boston?) I’m going to analyze the competition in each category involving the Predators.

Of course, voting remains open until June 15th, and you can vote as often as you’d like by following this link. Let’s get started!

Best Dressed

Okay, first off, I’m a cargo shorts, t-shirt, and New Balance kind of Dad—I know fashion. So, it goes without saying that P.K. Subban should win this without a fight. Subban is the most innovative and risk-takingest couturier in the league.

Who else is nominated? Henrik Lundqvist is there, and sure, I suppose he chooses nice suits, but aside from paring a sharp suit with a snazzy pair of sunglasses, he’s not innovating any looks out there. Evander Kane is somehow included in this list even though I feel like the league would probably be better off not publicizing his continued participation in it, but whatever. Oh, and Matt Dumba? Come on, in the picture they included on the ballot the interviewer is dressed nicer than he is!

Advantage: Subban

Runner-up: Lundqvist

Best Follow

So, I think this means the best player to follow on social media. As someone with a rudimentary understanding of social media, I assume most people follow an athlete because they are a fan of the athlete. I suppose this category has to do with athletes that also happen to be hilarious or interesting. As I mentioned earlier, if you want CBD oil talk, follow Zac Rinaldo, dude is totally into it, but that’s about the extent of his social media presence.

These are the guys that are nominated. First up, P.K. Subban, once again. Subban, as a VIP, has VIP access to VIPs. Many of his photos involve interesting events I’ve been kicked out of and things I can’t stay up late enough for any more. So, he’s got that going for him. P.K. is actually very funny. Somehow, he was my first interview…ever…and I was bad, but he rolled with it and had a good time. That shines through in his videos.

Next is Erik Karlsson. Erik Karlsson has a funny mustache and he kisses his wife…a lot. That’s pretty much it. He seems to enjoy his life, but it doesn’t look as jet-setting as Subban’s.  Future Predator Matt Duchene is also nominated. I’m not sure why. Matt Duchene is in a lot of pictures where a guy is sticking his tongue out like “Look at my feeble attempt to be relevant and edgy!”…but Duchene is the dude casually smiling next to him. Inexplicably, Brad Marchand has also been nominated. Marchand has 27 posts on Instagram. At least three of them involve Conor McGregor, I don’t think I need to say anything else.

Advantage: Subban

Runner-up: Also Subban

Best Handshake

Ryan Johansen and P.K. Subban are nominated for that thing they do after a win. I don’t exactly know what it is, but watching it makes me miss the thing Subban used to do with Tony Bitetto on those rare occasions when Bitetto was on the ice for a win. It’s definitely a thing and Johansen’s personality is trying to shine through, but it seems muted for both of them, especially for Subban. There’s no joy involved; it almost seems like Johansen stepped in when Bitetto got exiled to the wilderness and told Subban he would try to take his spot.

Alex Pietrangelo and Jaden Schwartz are nominated for a pregame “handshake” that involves a fist bump and a strange combination of head movements. It almost seems to me like everyone else had a secret handshake and these guys got jealous and wanted to have one, too. The problem, however, is that it looks like they think they’ve practiced, but they really haven’t. Adam Lowry and Patrik Laine are nominated for some odd “thing” they do. Everyone looks uncomfortable. Keith Yandle and Jonathan Huberdeau are nominated for their pregame ritual. It looks well-coordinated and they appear to be having a good time. They even seem to be what the kids call “hype”.

Advantage: Yandle and Huberdeau

Runner-up: Johansen and Subban (I guess)

Best Beard

Okay, as a bearded man, I have some opinions. Bear with me.

First nominee is Brent Burns. I get it, Brent Burns has a “wild” beard. Combine it with his toothless grin and you have a look akin to that of a homeless drifter. The Burns beard gets brought up quite often, but in my opinion, an unkempt beard is just a sign of laziness. This category is for the Best Beard, not the wildest beard that appears to seldom be cared for.

Next up is Ryan Ellis. Ellis has a thick, red beard that is well-shaped at any length and appears to be cared for and oiled on a regular basis. Obviously I’m biased, but once my son had his picture taken with Ellis and he told me that his beard smelled like freedom.

The next nominee is Aaron Ekblad. He has a nice beard. He keeps it clean, but there’s nothing magnificent about it. Final nominee is Luke Witkowski. Alright, dude has a pretty legit beard here. It rivals Ellis’s in quality. This is going to be tough. Realistically, Ellis and Witkowski should have an equal chance to win this. Due to my own bias, I would vote Ellis on coloration alone. However, we all know that Brent Burns is going to win because everyone wants to see what appears to be an unhinged maniac win an award.

Advantage: Ellis

Runner-up: Witkowski

Best Fan Video

It’s time for real talk, kids. This is a FAN video category. First off, the Washington Capitals’ Banner Raising is cool, but it was more original last season when Preds fans did it. Of course, I’d be willing to bet that another team’s fans did it even before then. Zero points, unoriginal.

Another nominee is a parody version of “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you)” by Marvin Gaye performed by a Vancouver Canucks fan called “How Swede It Is (to be deked by you)”. Look, I’m a known curmudgeon. Internet parody songs rank somewhere down the line with low-quality sausage and ventriloquism for me. This one is a non-starter.

One of the other nominees is a video called “Tomas TATARRR” in which a fan, possibly under the influence of alcohol, finds the roving concourse camera several times and says Tomas Tatar a few times. It’s exactly what all drunk fans whose friends tell them how funny they are want…a live camera. And this man takes full advantage of it. Is it funny? No.

The final entry is Predators Promposal, in which Jackson asks Caitlin to go to prom with him with help from the vast majority of the Nashville Predators organization. First off, it’s great. Second off, she said, “yes”. Third, these kids are great kids and while I am obviously biased because I know them, this video took a lot of careful planning and work beyond the scope of the others. Is it original? Somewhat—I know there are other promposals involving celebrities, but this one is different because you get to see so many different players and personalities laugh and smile when they realize they are part of such a sweet little video. And I know, I know, the parody song is creative and took time and work and yes, the girl can sing pretty well, but see my earlier comments on parody songs.

Advantage: Predators Promposal


Now, get out there and vote! We didn’t win the Western Conference and we didn’t win the Stanley Cup and we NEEEEED THIS.

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