NHL Weekly Awards: Athanasiou’s Deke, A Freudian Slip And An AHL Donnybrook

With most teams having played eight-10 games, it’s official: we are about 10% of the way through the 2022-23 NHL season.

Fortunately, there’s much more hockey to be played before we see the hardware handed out sometime next June.

As for this week, there was plenty to see around the hockey world from goals to fights to a Freudian slip for the ages.

Deke Of The Week: Andreas Athanasiou

The Blackhawks are playing better than a lot of us probably expected. I’m not sure what they’re doing differently, but they need to do a lot more of whatever it is Andreas Athanasiou did to the Minnesota Wild.

Athanasiou picked the puck up in the neutral zone and then pulled a move that left Matt Dumba’s jockstrap dangling from the United Center rafters.

Good Lord…

Then he roofed the backhander past a stunned Marc-Andre Fleur. That was one of three goals the Blackhawks center has this season, but it’s by far the prettiest.

Most Likely To Make Everyone Who Doesn’t Already Hate Them Hate Shootouts: Evgeny Kuznetsov

The NHL does not need a shot clock.

However, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov just made a strong case for a shootout clock in the Caps’ shootout loss to the Hurricanes

That was painful to watch, but of course, he scored. I’m not going to be shocked if we start to see more players taking their sweet ol’ time on shootout attempts.

If that happens, there are two options: shootout clocks or abolish the shootout altogether.

I like the latter because everyone knows 3-on-3 overtime is better anyway.

Jersey Foul Of The Week: Arizona Coyotes Pavel Datsyuk Jersey Guy

The Arizona Coyotes played their first regular season game in their new digs, Arizona State’s Mullett Arena. The 5,000-seat arena will be the ‘Yotes’ home for the next few years, so some of the team’s biggest fans were on hand to check it out.

Including this guy:

No, there wasn’t one weird season we all forgot about where Pavel Datsyuk played in the desert, Just didn’t happen. He spent his entire NHL career with the Red Wings and wrapped up his pro career with a few seasons in the KHL.

Maybe this guy was trying to manifest a Pavel Datsyuk-lead Coyotes team, but it didn’t work.

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that the jersey is a reference to the Coyotes taking on Datsyuk’s contract from Detroit in 2016 in order to reach the cap floor. That one flew over my head. It still looks so wrong that I’m counting it as a jersey foul.

Rough Night At The Office Of The Week: Juraj Slafkovský

Having a target on your back during an NHL game must be one of the worst feelings in sports. Every time you go into the corner you’d be bracing for a faceful of glass courtesy of a disgruntled opponent

Montreal Canadiens rookie and 2022 first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovský had one of those nights.

Maybe, he’s still the ins and outs of the NHL, but you just can’t be doing guys like this without expecting retribution.

Slakofsky was whistled for a trip on Wild defenseman Steven Fogarty, but that was definitely a trip’s more dangerous causing, the slew-foot.

Sure enough, the WIld didn’t forget this play and with just a couple minutes left in the 4-1 Wild victory, they got revenge.

Marco Rossi just laid into the rookie with a series of slashes, and when that wasn’t cutting the proverbial mustard, he just mugged the young Slovak.

This wasn’t the end of it as several players were given misconducts in the closing minutes of the game.

That was the second game between the Wild and Canadiens in aweek, so the bad blood must have been simmering. Unfortunately, they don’t play again this season, otherwise, that would (surprisingly) be must-watch television.

Freudian Slip Of The Week: Tripp Tracy

Former goalie and current Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster Tripp Tracy had one hell of a gaffe on Halloween.

While trying to have a good-natured discussion about Halloween, Tracy tried to say “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups,” but something else trickled out of his word hole.

The moment of “Oh my god, what have I done?” panic that hits Tracey at around the three-second mark of that brief clip is gold.

Kids would call it “meme-worthy.”

It’s a tough look to say “Reese’s penis” on an NHL telecast, but I’m giving Tracy the benefit of the doubt on this one. I think the word “penis” was nothing but a brain fart while trying to decide whether to say Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or shout out the official candy of extraterrestrials, Reese’s Pieces.

Soft Hands Of The Week: Adam Henrique

The Anaheim Ducks have had a brutal start, but this goal courtesy of Adam Henrique is one of the high points.

Check out the hands on display here:

Fakes a shot entering the zone, fends off three defenders, and then buries it right under the crossbar.

Perfection.

Those are some soft hands. Soft enough that Quint from Jaws would get bent out of shape over them.

You’ve got city hands, Mr. Henrique…been countin’ money all your life.

Henrique makes a bit under $6 million/year so that’s kind of true.

Donnybrook Of The Week: San Jose Barracuda and Tucson Roadrunners

An AHL meeting between the San Jose Barracuda and the Tucson Roadrunners gave us a scene that looks like it came straight out of Slap Shot.

The top affiliates of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes respectively dropped the gloves the second regulation started.

Everyone found a dance partner and proceeded to give the official scorer an absolute headache trying to get all the penalties figured out.

There was a CVS receipt worth of penalties and game misconducts all stamped with 0:00. The Roadrunners and Barracuda combined for a whopping 170 penalty minutes that game.

I just wish more people were in attendance to witness this brawl firsthand.

If you were wondering, that’s nowhere near the American Hockey League record for a single game. Back on October 14, 1981, the Adirondack Red Wings and Hershey Bears combined for a jaw-dropping 520 PIMs (12 minors, 8 majors, and 20 misconducts per the AHL record book).

So, that’s something to shoot for.

That’s what we’ve got for this week. If you happen to stumble across anything from the world of hockey you think is award-worthy, don’t hesitate to give me a shout 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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