NHL Awards: Our Picks

The NHL Awards are nearly upon us, and while due to the lockout we don’t get a fun show in Vegas this year (say it with me – “Thanks, Gary!”), the awards are still being given out. The lovely Julia and I have made our picks below – sound off as to whether you agree or not!

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Friday Night Flow & Fights: Sidney Crosby

Okay, okay. Sid isn’t exactly the first person that anyone thinks of when the topic of conversation is “fights”. But tonight is do or die for the Pens, and I’m trying to get as much luck going as possible.

Besides, not only has he grown some pretty terrific flow lately, he’s also just plain hilarious when he tries to fight.

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Friday Night Flow & Fights: Kris Letang

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Happy Friday, folks. We’re starting a new weekly series over here on Beauty Move called “Friday Night Flow & Fights”, and it only felt right to have our first featured dude be Pittsburgh Penguin Kris Letang. I wanted to kick the series off with someone who fell into both categories, and boy, does he ever.

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Welcome To The Jungle

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Above is a chart detailing the new conferences recently approved by the NHL Board of Governors for realignment. Looks good, right? Makes more geographical sense, makes traveling easier on (most) teams. Well, except those poor bastards down in Florida, but let’s be real, traveling was gonna suck for them either way. At least they’re not flying to Winnipeg for division games anymore.

Those clever NHL BoG dudes forgot one thing, though:

They’re (allegedly) betting on adding two expansion teams. And I highly doubt they’ll both be in the West.

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Penguins v. Flyers in .Gifs (Or: Hockey for People Who Don’t Hockey Good, Pens Fan Edition)

Hi, Beauty Move followers, this is Julia, Hannah’s good hockey buddy. I’m not a regular blogger here (I blog over here), but there are times when Hannah is incapable of writing about hockey, which is where I come in. Think of me as a cool substitute teacher who is currently subbing because last night’s Pens/Flyers game reduced Hannah to dead. So instead, I will explain everything that happened using the highly scientific method of illustration via .gif to recap probably the most exciting hockey game of the week.

Dear God, I hope it’s the most exciting hockey game of the week. I don’t think we can take much more.

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Not A (Cookie) Monster

I definitely couldn’t have called this as the topic of my first real post this time yesterday, but the landscape of the season changes with every single game. And with this abbreviated season, there’s a lot happening all at once.

I have to say, the idea that people believe Matt Cooke would intentionally use his skate blade to injure an opponent absolutely repulses me. Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and pretend that in that situation it was even possible – that while trying to regain his balance after finishing his check, Cooke was able to get his skate blade up and into the proper position to slice into Karlsson’s Achilles tendon – I find it difficult to believe that even the old Matt Cooke would’ve been capable of something like that.

Of course, as multiple replays of the incident show, there was nothing to remotely suggest that the incident was intentional, or the result of a dirty play. Let me be clear: I feel for Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson is an incredibly talented young player who is a delight to watch (when he’s not playing against one of my teams) and with what is undoubtedly a long career ahead of him, and no one wants to see injuries like this happen to anyone. But what happened last night in the second period of the Penguins-Senators game was entirely accidental, and (further) demonizing Matt Cooke and calling for his blood isn’t going to bring Karlsson back any sooner. All that will do is cause further damage to the reputation of a man who has worked hard over the past two years to change the way that he plays his game.

Cooke took his March 2011 suspension very seriously, not in the least because he was informed by Ray Shero that his career with the Penguins was potentially in jeopardy because of it and factors surrounding it (i.e. the more dangerous aspects of his play). I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player look as completely disappointed with himself as Cooke did in interviews following the suspension. He promised to work to change his play, and anyone who has been watching him play since then can vouch for the fact that he has delivered on that promise. The Matt Cooke we’ve seen on the ice last season and this one is a completely different player than the one we saw prior to the spring of 2011.

His reputation still precedes him, however, and because of that it is understandable that some fan may have immediately jumped to conclusions following the incident during last night’s game. But jumping to conclusions, particularly in this case, doesn’t achieve anything other than placing blame where it doesn’t belong. Even Shanahan and Player Safety, after reviewing from every possible angle, concluded that there was no intent to injure or evidence of it being a dirty play. Cooke is guilty of nothing more than finishing his check, trying to regain his balance, and landing in the wrong place.

Unfortunately, sometimes freak accidents happen. I wish Karlsson all the best, and hope that his recovery goes as quickly and as smoothly as possible. But I also hope that Senators fans, and other fans around the league, can start cutting Matt Cooke a little slack. He’s hardly a monster.