Hockey’s Summer of Shame Part 3: Voting for Dummies

OK, now that I’ve gotten the jerseys out of the way, it’s time to move on to the many voting mishaps that have plagued us this summer, beginning with a very simple one, considering the award is chosen by just one man.

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Mark Messier himself chooses the winner each year of the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which essentially only serves as a pat on the back for old-timers that are incapable of winning anything else. Why does Messier get to decide? Because apparently he’s the greatest captain in league history (spoiler: he’s not). Anyway, here’s a description of the award’s criteria…

Awarded to the individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes.

…and here is the guy that won it for this past season…

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Hahahahaha, you’re shitting me, right? Alfredsson? Daniel frickin’ Alfredsson. Look, maybe Messier is simply trolling us all with this award. I mean he’s after picking more guys that have never won a Stanley Cup than guys who have. Messier, hopefully, knows that Stanley Cups are important; he’s won enough of them. However, assuming he’s not trolling, this is a ludicrous selection.

Alfredsson is a tool. He’s a sore loser, a cheap shot artist, and a quitter. He intentionally shot a puck at Scott Niedermayer out of spite. He nailed Darcy Tucker from behind with one of the dirtiest hits you’ll ever see (sure, Tucker deserved it, but whatever). He quit on his own team in the playoffs, saying “probably not” when a reporter asked him if Ottawa could beat Pittsburgh. He followed that up by then literally quitting on them little over a month later when he abandoned Ottawa for Detroit. Alfredsson doesn’t have any morals or ethics. He’s in it for himself and no one else. What a disgrace.

Time to turn our attention to the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, aka the league of extraordinarily biased simpletons. They fuck things up every year, multiple times, but this year it was a complete and total failure. Honestly, I could be here all day on this subject, so I’ll stick to the two most glaring mistakes, starting with P.K. Subban winning the Norris Trophy. It’s pretty obvious to anyone with half a clue that Subban didn’t deserve it. Outside of his point production he was average at best. He didn’t play top tier minutes, he faced easier competition, he barely played any shorthanded minutes, and he’s a turnover machine. Nonetheless, he won, and here’s how the voting went down…

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Ryan Suter, the defenseman who should have won, was right behind him. I’m not going to bother wasting my time explaining why Suter deserved it more, you can figure that out quite easily for yourself. The fact is the PHWA fucked this up. If you count up the number of voters and the number of votes that Suter received, you’ll find that nine voters somehow didn’t even consider Suter a top five defenseman last season. Literally nine “professionals” thought that. Then you’ve got other brilliant minds thinking that Andrei Markov was the league’s best defenseman, that Dion Phaneuf and Niklas Kronwall were in the top three, and that Erik Karlsson deserved a vote despite playing only 17 games.

Obviously the problem here is the PHWA and how it decides on who gets to be a voting member. Clearly they have some intelligent members, such as Bob McKenzie and Elliotte Friedman, but it’s very likely flooded with guys that simply don’t follow the game enough outside of their own market, if at all. Seriously, would anyone outside of Boston give a vote to Dennis Seidenberg? Same with Ottawa/Karlsson and Pittsburgh/Orpik. Quite frankly, if you’re only watching one team all season long, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all or at the very least you shouldn’t be allowed to vote for players on the team you cover.

But this wasn’t the biggest mistake of the summer by the PHWA, not even close. The biggest mistake actually caused a ton of controversy and hopefully it will lead to in-depth changes on voting in the future. Doubtful, but one can hope I guess. Anyway, this mistake was the one that somehow resulted in Alexander Ovechkin being selected to the All-Star teams as both the First Team Right Wing and Second Team Left Wing.

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We’ll ignore the fact that some of the players who received votes are just plain awful (lol Chris Stewart). Instead, look at the multiple position fuck ups. It wasn’t just Ovechkin. Someone seriously voted for Ryan Getzlaf at right wing! There are more, but back to Ovechkin. Sure, he was a left wing every season up until this one, but his move to right wing was highly publicized, so every damn voter should have been aware of it. Hell, the PHWA even sent a memo out to outline some of the position changes. Just how dumb are these guys?

We can’t simply blame the voters though, as some of them, such as Dejan Kovacevic, claim they were simply following the rules as laid down in previous years (vote based on positional listing on NHL.com) and that the memo didn’t arrive until after many had already submitted their votes. I’m even told that when this same situation happened last year with James Neal, it was corrected so that Neal’s votes were applied only to right wing. Assuming this is the case, why the hell weren’t they corrected this year with Ovechkin? Was it an inside job to kick start an overhaul in the voting process? Whatever it was, I place the blame squarely on the PHWA. They’ve allowed morons to vote and they didn’t fix an obvious mistake. Hopefully this type of shit won’t happen again, but we all know it will.

Finally we arrive at the most important vote of the summer. In early July, the Glendale City Council voted 4-3 in favor of a 15-year, $225 million lease agreement with Renaissance Sports & Entertainment to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix. So close! Man, just one vote and we could have finally got this damn team out of the desert. But no, four total assholes had to go and ruin it, at least for another five years. Yup, that’s right, these imbeciles were so desperate to keep the team in Glendale that they essentially caved into every demand that RSE had, including a provision that allows them to use an out clause in five years, thus terminating the deal.

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Hockey doesn’t work in Glendale and it never will. These stalling tactics are beyond ridiculous at this point and it’s a slap in the face to places that don’t have a team where it could work, such as Quebec City and Southern Ontario. Hell, Seattle deserves a chance as well, maybe others. Phoenix doesn’t deserve another chance, yet they got one, and all it will do is create another shit storm in five years time. Despicable.