Zane Feldman will have nothing on The Uli or the Brass Bobo when the Edmonton Oilers hand out their annual team awards, voted on by fans, Tuesday. And the winner is…
Zane Feldman Trophy (MVP): It should be stopper Mathieu Garon or Ales Hemsky, but fans have a thing for Sam Gagner. There’s an argument to be made for any one of the three.
Top first-year Oiler: Gagner will probably get the nod for his torrid scoring pace down the stretch, but fellow rookie Andrew Cogliano deserves it. He’s been a better all-around player.
Unsung hero: Zack Stortini and Kyle Brodziak get consideration, but de facto captain Steve Staios has been the backbone of this team during its climb into contention.
Top defensive forward: Shawn Horcoff deserves it. He was the team’s leading scoring and a plus-player when a shoulder injury ended his season.
Most popular player: A coin flip between Hemsky and Gagner.
Top defenceman (media vote): Staios edges Tom Gilbert.
The Uli—In honour of Igor Ulanov, for the player who has the pain tolerance of a cadaver and plays banged up without complaint: Hemsky, who has endured a bad wrist down the stretch, gets a slight nod over Staios, the walking hematoma who plays every night.
The Izzy—For teasing fans with the ability to dominate with the rare combination of size and soft hands, only to go AWOL for games on end: Dustin Penner.
The Bucky—To the player who does the dirty work, win or lose, for the bloody crest on the front of the jersey not the name on the back: Stortini wins it hands—make that fists—down.
The Mikky—In honour of little-known, and deservedly so, former Washington Capital Bill Mikkelson, who established an NHL record with a minus–82 in 1974–75: Jarret Stoll.
The Brass Bobo—Awarded to the defenceman who displays the Mironovian knack of creating quality scoring chances at both ends of the ice: Denis Grebeshkov.
The Plaster Pinata—For the player who gets all the bad breaks and spends more time rehabbing than playing: A four-way tie between Raffi Torres, Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau and Horcoff.
The Wicked Wanye—For the most quotable player who says smart-ass stuff and makes us laugh: co-winners are the silver-tongued tandem of Marty Reasoner and Matt Greene.
Feel free to add your own OilersNation award and to let us know if we’ve got it right or wrong—we haven’t paid the engraver, yet.
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.