Welcome to the fourth ever Hockey Education Committee Mailbag! For those who are new to this series, here are my first three Mailbags:
This week's lame excuse for the late posting of the HEC Bag: I had a hockey tournament on Saturday, and a league game on Sunday. Feel free to boo, but don't forget to read.
Now, onto the Mailbag, where like always I begin with a question from The Captain...
Who has the hardest slap shot ever recorded?
-The Captain, Saint Leo
That honour goes to Sheldon Souray. Souray has always been noted as having one of the hardest shots in the NHL, and he backed it up, clocking a 106.7 MPH slapper at an Edmonton Oilers' skills competition on January 4th, 2008.
Souray grew up in small-town Alberta, and is one of very few Metis players in the NHL. His father, Richard, was an alcoholic but kicked the bottle when he realized that his son was going to get drafted. After his parents divorced when he was nine, he was shuttled around Alberta, but settled down when his hockey career blossomed. However, he is known best for marrying Baywatch star Angelica Bridges. Sadly, they divorced in 2006.
Now, here comes a simple question with a length answer...
What are all the awards/trophies in the NHL, and who are they given to? And why is it called the Stanley Cup?
-The Rookie, Germantown
There are four team trophies, and lots of individual trophies. I'll list them all, along with their current holder:
Stanley Cup- awarded to the NHL playoff champion (Detroit Red Wings)
Prince of Wales Trophy- awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champion (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Clarence S. Campbell Bowl- awarded to the Western Conference playoff champion (Detroit Red Wings)
Presidents' Trophy- awarded to the team who records the most points in the regular season (Detroit Red Wings)
Hart Trophy- awarded to the league's most valuable player (Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals)
Lady Byng Trophy- awarded to the NHL's most gentlemanly player (Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings)
Vezina Trophy- awarded to the NHL's top goaltender (Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils)
Calder Trophy- awarded to the NHL's top rookie (Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks)
Art Ross Trophy- awarded to the NHL's top points-scorer during the regular season (Ovechkin)
Norris Trophy- awarded to the NHL's top defenseman (Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings)
Conn Smythe Trophy- awarded to the NHL's most valuable player in the playoffs (Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings)
Bill Masterton Trophy- awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey (Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs)
Lester B. Pearson Trophy- awarded to the NHL's most valuable players as voted on by the members of the NHL players' association (Ovechkin)
Jack Adams Trophy- awarded to the NHL's coach of the year (Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals)
Selke Trophy- awarded to the NHL's top defensive forward (Datsyuk)
Jennings Trophy- awarded to every goalie playing at least 25 games for the team that allowed the fewest goals during the regular season (Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek, Detroit Red Wings)
King Clancy Trophy- awarded to the NHL player who best shows leadership on and off the ice (Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning)
Rocket Richard Trophy- awarded to the NHL player who scores the most goals during the regular season (Ovechkin)
Now, time for this thing...
The Stanley Cup is named after its creator and donator, Lord Frederick Stanley of Preston. Stanley was a British nobleman who was appointed by Queen Victoria to be the Governor General of Canada in 1888. During his tenure, his sons became avid hockey players in Ottawa, and he became a fan of the new game. He became so much of a fan that he dedicated the trophy (originally just the cup at the top) to the top amateur hockey team in Canada. Eventually, it became contested by professional teams, which led it to where it is today. Which is most certainly jolly good.
Time for another question...
After seeing scores like 7-1, 8-5, and 9-2, do you think the NHL should stop limiting goalie's equipment sizes and stop talking about expanding the goals?
-Hockey Fan in Maryland
I don't think those scores you mention are a problem. Nothing needs to be adjusted, in my opinion.
I was never a fan of expanding the goals. When you're watching hockey, you likely don't feel the need for more scoring, and expanding the nets would make the game almost cartoonish. It would actually turn off some potential fans, because the vastly higher scoring would make the game choppier and not let people see as much of the hard-hitting end-to-end action.
As for the goalie equipment, I think what they have now is fine. You make the goalie equipment too big, and the game would get bogged down. Nobody wants to see every team play a trapping game with absolutely no goals.
The NHL right now is in a great place in terms of the scoring. That shouldn't be changed.
THE HOCKEY GLOSSARY!
where I define hockey terms that you may have heard and may not have understood
Neutral Zone- the space between the two blue lines on the ice surface
Poke check- when a defender pokes the puck away from a carrier using his stick
Hooking- a penalty that is called when a player uses his hockey stick to prevent another player from moving freely
Cross-checking- a penalty that is called when a player hits another player with his stick while holding it, normally parallel to the ice, with both hands
If anybody else has any terms that need defining, please send me a FanMail!
Time for one last question...
G'day! What are your thoughts on overtime losses? Should they stay as they are or not garner a point at all? I feel that it rewards mediocrity.
-The Aussie Hockey Fan from Warragul
I definitely have very strong feelings on this issue. I truly believe that all losses should be created equally, which means that overtime losses and shootout losses should not be rewarded with one point.
Like you said, giving teams points for losing later rewards mediocrity. This can create unfair situations, especially in playoff races. Let's say two teams are vying for a playoff berth. One is 41-38-3, the other is 38-32-12. The first team won 41 times and lost 41 times, the second team won 38 times and lost 44. Yet, the first team only has 85 points, while the second team has 88. In a playoff race, how is it fair that a team who clearly has fewer losses will get nudged out by a team that held on longer in a few more games? The NHL doesn't reward more points for a 9-2 win than a 3-2 win, so why should they reward more for one 3-2 loss as opposed to another 3-2 loss?
Then, they're the fact that not all games have equal weight. It becomes confusing to the casual fan when some games are worth two points and others are worth three. In the playoffs, they don't give out "half-wins" for losing later. Creating a system where all games are worth the same amount of points yet still rewarding OT losses would make the standings way too complicated and far more confusing than they are now.
Not only that, but no other major sports leagues reward losers. There is absolutely no precedent for this, and there's no reason for the NHL to set one. You either win, or you lose. That's my ideal scenario.
That was this week's mailbag! Please FanMail me any questions you have, or any questions you want to see answered. I would really appreciate anything you have.
Hope you enjoyed!