Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mark Messier Tells You Who Your Leader Is, and You Will Like It

After winning 'Leader of the Year' will Chelios make a run for the White House?
Paul Sancya/AP

You all know that I'm a cynic, so I might be reading too much into this one, but something smells awfully fishy about the Waterworks McGee Mark Messier Leader of the Year Award that the NHL handed out yesterday. Sponsored by COLD-fX, Cry Baby Messier named a 'leader of the month' during the regular season, and this is the year-end version of that award. The Ageless Wonder, Chris Chelios, was the lucky recipient of the year-end award.

The gang over at the NHL FanHouse called it "a marketing scheme," and I agree completely. They also went on to question Messier's, um, selection process.
"While I don't doubt Chelios is a great leader, this is a real slap in the face to Nicklas Lidstrom, who actually, you know, CAPTAINED the Red Wings squad and led them to such a successful season. As we've seen with past awards, Messier doesn't seem to have a real basis for awarding his Leadership Award other than how much he likes the guy on a particular afternoon."
Don't knock Chelios, though. The $25,000 that he will receive is going to charity.

Whether or not you agree that this is one of those good ol' fashioned 'blatant marketing ploys,' I figure that the NHL might need some ideas for other awards. In an effort to help out Mr. Bettman, here are some other awards that may help boost attention/revenue. After all, it seems that the NHL's biggest desire these days is to market the sport as much as possible. Feel free to add your own awards in the comments.
  • GM/Executive of the Year; presented by Mike Milbury and sponsored by Enron.
  • Pink Slip Award; given to the player who mailed it in down the stretch, sponsored by the US Postal Service and presented by Donald "You're Fired" Trump (Getting Trump involved could be good on another level -- have him try to keep the NHL in the news by holding press conferences announcing his disdain for random people around the NHL.)
  • Sportsman of the Year; presented by Sean Avery.
  • The Jeremy Roenick Ambassador Award; given to the player who best exemplifies a willingness to embrace others, work hard and embodies the 'spirit of the game'.
  • The Brian Emgblom Award; presented to the best hair in hockey, be it player, coach, broadcaster or other. Sponsored by Propecia.
  • The Barry Melrose Mullet of the Month; This one is self explanatory and naturally, my favorite.
  • Journeyman Trophy; given to the player who logs the most miles by changing sweaters as often as most people change socks.
  • Theodore/Hilton Award; presented to the NHL player with the hottest 'significant other,' presented by Hugh Hefner.
  • The Brett Hull Trophy; given to the team/player/referee who does the most to screw over the Buffalo Sabres during the year. Sponsored by the NHL Official's Association. Foot in the crease, anyone?
  • And, obviously, we have to create an award for the Best Playoff Beard. Sponsored by Just For Men and presented by Keith Hernandez and Walt Frazier.

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