Bobby Orr’s Puck Pitch, Marner’s Silky Mitts, Bedard Impresses At WJC

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Happy New Year, welcome to the first batch of NHL Weekly Awards for 2023!

Christmas through the New Year is one of the best stretches of the hockey calendar. You’ve got the World Junior Championship firing on all cylinders, and smack-dab in the middle of that, you get the Winter Classic.

The Winter Classic will never get old for me. Outdoor hockey games, in general, will never get old for me. You just can’t beat the atmosphere.

Seeing as it’s the first big event for the NHL each new year, how about we start with something from the Winter Classic?

I say yes.

Best First Puck Pitch: Bobby Orr

The NHL hits it out of the park with the Winter Classic every single year, and this year — for the second time — that park was Fenway park.

As you might expect there were a whole lot of baseball and Red Sox homages woven throughout the festivities. One of the highlights was the ceremonial first puck pitch. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, but it was exactly what it sounds like and it was quite the way to honor some Boston sports legends.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was really hoping we got a knuckle puck courtesy of Tim Wakefield, That would’ve been nothing short of poetic.

However, the second No. 4 Bobby Orr sauntered out to the mound with a twig in his hands I didn’t care.

He’s Bobby Orr. He’s a living, breathing hockey legend.

Speaking of living, breathing hockey legends a couple of them signed the Pesky Pole in right field. Rick Tocchet and the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky signed the foul pole.

Most Electric Atmosphere Of The Week That Wasn’t At The Fenway Park: Djurgårdens IF Hockey

Have you ever wanted to go to a HockeyAllsvenskan game?

Watch this:

Alright, how about now?

HockeyAllsvenskan is the second tier of the Swedish professional hockey system, but if promotion to the top-tier Swedish Hockey League was based on barn atmosphere — which it’s not but should be — Djurgårdens IF Hockey would be playing in it.

Don’t ask me how to pronounce their name or what it means. All I know is they have fire and a bunch of flags.

Count me in. I’d grab my winter jacket and head to Stockholm in a second.

Best Inter-Teammate Battle Over Who Should Have A Stick During A 5-On-3: Orlando Solar Bears

Killing a 5-on-3 is no small task. It’s even more difficult when one of those three penalty killers loses or breaks a stick.

That’s essentially a 5-on-2.5.

The Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL had to deal with this while hosting their in-state rival Florida Everblades.

With three players and only two sticks, Solar Bears Brayden Guy and Jimmy Mazza had a quick discussion over who needed it more.

It reminds me of that riddle where you need to take a chicken, a fox, and a sack of grain across a river (for some reason), but the chicken can’t be left with the grain, the fox can’t be left with the chicken, or whatever.

Who needs the stick most? I’d be inclined to say the defenseman, who in this case was Mazza. Maybe he thought that Guy would be better suited to have a stick in hopes of breaking up passing lanes.

Whatever the case, I’ve never seen this sort of thing happen before.

Best OT Winner That Prevented A Massive Upset: Connor Bedard

Let’s check on what consensus No. 1 pick Connor Bedard is up to at the World Junior Championships.

Oh; it turns out he is doing consensus No. 1 pick Connor Bedard things.

Disgusting. Just disgusting.

If that didn’t make you wish your favorite team would tank for the rest of the season, nothing will.

Bedard has been lighting it up at the World Juniors and just surpassed Eric Lindros as team Canada’s all-time leading scorer at the WJC.

When you consider who has suited up for that tournament, that’s an unbelievable accomplishment.

Best Dismantling Of A Team On And Off The Ice: Alexander Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin will score a hat trick then take a picture with your mom.

No one knows this like the Montreal Canadiens.

The No. 2 goal scorer of all-time potted three goals en route to a 9-2 thumping of the Habs. To make matters worse, after the game, a photo of Ovie posing with all the Canadiens’ moms started making the rounds.

While I wish this was taken while the Habs mom’s sons were taking a tongue-lashing from Marty St. Louis, that’s probably not how it unfolded.

An astute Caps fan made a great point, this looks like a picture that was taken before Ovechkin and his mates annihilated the sons of these smiling ladies.

This is a damn good point, and it’s probably correct but it’s so disappointing.

Silky Mitts Of The Week: Mitch Marner

The Leafs hosted the Blues on Tuesday night — the same team that got fined for traveling to play during the mandated holiday break.

It was a high-scoring affair and went to overtime knotted at 5-apiece. which meant one thing: shootout time.

The Leafs called on Mitcher Marner to give it a whirl, and boy, oh boy did he deliver.

He had that puck on a string and pulled off a deke so nasty, Jordan Binnington’s jockstrap is probably hanging somewhere in the Scotiabank Arena rafters.

However, Binnington and the Blues got the last laugh by winning the shootout to steal a 6-5 win on the road.

That’s it for this week’s edition of the OutKick NHL Weekly Awards. Be back here next week for more, and if you see anything award-worthy, send it to me on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle.

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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