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We’ve entered December, which means we’re in the meat of the NHL season. We know the contenders, we know the pretenders, and we know who is trying to make a case for that No.1 pick at the 2023 NHL Draft.
December also means we’re quickly approaching one of the most fun events on the hockey calendar, the IIHF World Junior Championships.
Didn’t they just happen over the summer?
Yes. Yes, they did.
But it’ll soon be time again to see what the next generations of hockey talent can do on a big stage.
We’ll have some WJC awards to dish out in a few weeks, but as for now, let’s hand out our latest piping-hot batch of NHL Weekly Awards.
This week we’re starting with something out of women’s college hockey because it broke my brain.
It left me, as the kids would say, “shook.”
Most Diabolical Play Of The Week: Penn State Women’s Hockey Team
The fabled Michigan move has been around for quite some time now. In recent years it’s gone from a play you do in practice to something that we now see in games semi-regularly.
Now get ready for the evolution of the Michigan move: the fake Michigan move.
The Nittany Lions were hosting Syracuse when Tess Janecke and Kiara Zanon teamed up for an absolutely unbelievable goal.
Janecke had the puck behind the net smack dab in Michigan position. She bared down on her stick like she was going to go for the move, but left the puck for Zanon who hurried behind the net, picked it up, and tucked it in the near post for a beauty of a wraparound.
Unreal. Just completely Unreal.
The most diabolical thing about this is that Michigan moves are so relatively prevalent now, that goalies kind of expect them.
No goalie on the planet would’ve been ready for what those ladies pulled off. I’d love to know how many times they tried this during practice because that had to have been drawn up beforehand.
Drawing it up is one thing, but executing that as flawlessly as Janecke and Zanon did one tall order.
Incredible stuff, that helped Penn State to a 4-0 win over Syracuse.
Most Unexpectedly Snazzy Jersey Match Up: Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks
Now, the star of the clip I pulled for this is one of goal-scoring machine Jason Robertson notching a hat trick against the Ducks.
But you want to know why I picked it?
Just look at this glorious sweater combo.
Both teams were wearing their Adidas Reverse Retro jerseys and I have no clue what it is but the recolored Mighty Ducks sweater and the Stars’ nod to their first season in Dallas look incredible.
Less incredible was the game itself. Dallas won this one easily thanks to Robertson’s hat trick by a score of 5-0.
By the way, is there any team less predictable than the Stars? I don’t even try to make a call about them before the season starts because they can go from trash to Cup contenders and back to trash faster than any team in the league.
This is one of their Cup contender seasons.
OT Winner That Was So Fast Most Fans Missed It Of The Week: Matty Beniers
There’s not a lot of time between the start the end of regulation and the start of overtime, but I’ve got to think there are a brave few who try to make a mad dash for the bathroom.
At best you’ll be back in your seat by the time the puck drops, at worst you miss possession of overtime.
Well, not if Matty Beniers has anything to say about it.
Beniers must have had somewhere to be because he buried the OT winner in just 7 seconds to hand the Kraken a 3-2 win.
While that was lightning quick, it was one second off the record for the fastest OT goal which is held by 5 different players: Mats Sundin, David Legwand, Alex Ovechkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and William Nylander.
“I Meant To Do That” Moment Of The Week: Darnell Nurse
Edmonton Oilers D-man Darnell Nurse found himself some open space and fired one past Habs netminder Jake Allen.
It was a nice goal, but Nurse didn’t exactly stick the dismount when it comes to the celebration.
That was an awkward fall, but do you what makes it exceedingly less awkward?
The fact that he had just scored what proved to be the game-winning goal which helped the Oilers to a 5-3 win over Montreal.
Most Likely To Have His Coach Tell Him To Cut The Shenanigans: Jordan Binnington
Blues netminder Jordan Binnington is amassing quite a reputation. The guy is an ornery character. In a way, it’s fun. He’s like a throwback to the days of Ron Hextall.
On the other hand, his aggressive nature has gotten him into some trouble.
It happened twice this week alone.
First, Binnington ventured behind the net to play the puck with Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal bearing down on him. Binnington tried to stand hip but wound up getting the worst of the collision.
Neither player was assessed a penalty on that play.
Binnington must not have learned his lesson from that run-in with Staal, because a couple of days later he tried to get in the face of another forechecker.
This time Pittsburgh’s Jason Zucker was on the receiving end of a catch glove to the chops.
Chalk that one up to frustration — the Blues were already down 4-1 in the second period. Binnington wasn’t given a penalty on that play, but he did get a 10-minute misconduct while skating past the Pens’ bench after getting the hook.
His coach, Craig Berube, a many who could be an ornery character in his own right during his playing days, had some choice words for his netminder.
Listen to Chief, my guy: just stop the puck.
Best Back-To-Back Shooutout Attempts: Trevor Zegras and Kirill Kaprizov
To wind things down for this week, we’ve got a pair of some of the purdiest shootout attempts you’ll ever see, and they happened back-to-back courtesy of two of the game’s most skilled young players.
Trevor Zegras was the first shooter for the Anaheim Ducks (once again wearing those nifty Reverse Retros). He took his sweet time entering the zone, but once he reached the top of the circle he unleashed a flurry of moves.
Seriously. there were so many little dekes and fakes in there, you’d have to get NASA involved in counting them all up.
Then he got Wild netminder Filip Gustavson moving and tucked it upstairs on the backhand.
The next shooter for the Minnesota Wild was Kirill Kaprizov. he pulled off a very different, but equally filthy attempt.
Kaprizov decided to hit the zone with speed, faked for a moment like he was going to go to the backhand, but instead rifled one past John Gibson.
Both were *chef’s kiss* but only one went toward sealing a win. The Wild took home the 5-4 shootout victory.
That’s all we’ve got for this week. Be sure to keep those eyes of yours peeled for anything worthy of an OutKick NHL Weekly Award. If you see something, say something, and send it my way on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle.