NHL Weekly Awards: Cooperalls, Ovechkin’s No. 787, Mid-Fight Pirouette

Another week of the NHL season is in the books. Will we tell our grandkids that November 1 through November 8, 2022 was one of the most incredible weeks in the annals of hockey history?

No. But it was still pretty good.

In fact, if we tried to tell our grandkids about it they’d probably be too busy making virtual reality TikTok videos or whatever dumb thing kids do in the future.

While we may not remember this particular week decades from now, there were still plenty of award-worthy moments from around the hockey world.

Best Unorthodox Fight: Sean Josling

Let’s start by checking in on our pals in the ECHL, shall we?

The Reading Royals — the Philadelphia Flyers ECHL affiliate — took a trip down the Pennsylvania Turnpike (which is an awful drive) for a meeting with the Wheeling Nailers, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

That Flyers-Pens rivalry is alive-and-kicking down in the minors.

Royals forward Devin Paliani and Nailers forward Sean Josling dropped the gloves toward the end of the first period.

Punches were exchanged, feelings were hurt, and the best pirouette you’ve ever seen in a fight was thrown down.

A well-timed duck from Paliani sent Josling spinning like a whirling dervish. Once the two combatants re-engaged, Josling unloaded a barrage of rights until he finally dragged Paliani down to the ice.

That definitely wasn’t the way that fight was supposed to go in their heads, but it was still one heck of a tilt.

Best Cooperalls: Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers turned back the clock during warmups ahead of their meeting with the St. Louis Blues.

The Broad Street Bullies threw on their Reverse Retro sweaters, but instead of their regular hockey pants, they went old school.

We’re talking about the return of Cooperalls!

…at least for warmups.

Behold.

In case you haven’t brushed up on your hockey pants history, Cooperalls were full-length hockey pants worn by two NHL teams in the early 1980s: the Flyers and the Hartford Whalers.

Alright, so technically, both those teams wore CCM Propacs, but Cooperalls sounds so much better.

The reason long pants like this were eventually banned was that they provided less friction when a player fell which was a major safety issue.

So, after 40 years, the Flyers have revived the legendary piece of equipment… but again, just for warmies. They switched into traditional pants (shorts, really) before the game.

Most Eventful Shift of The Week: Brendan Gallagher

The average NHL shift has got to be something like 40-45 seconds. The amount of chaos that Montreal Canadiens right winger Brendan Gallagher managed to pack into one trip over the boards is astounding.

It all started with a little net-front battle with Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon.

This is the way Brendan Gallagher plays the sport of hockey boiled down to a 16-second video. The guy is as scrappy and frustrating to play against as they come. He’s the kind of player you can’t stand… unless, of course, he’s playing for your team.

Best Teamwork: Buffalo Zambonis

They say teamwork makes the dream work, and that dream is alive and well in Buffalo.

Between periods of the Sabres-Coyotes game, one of the two Zamboni-brand ice resurfacers suffered some kind of mechanical failure that left it stranded on the ice.

Fear not. The other Zamboni was there to assist.

Hockey is the ultimate team sport and that extends to the ice crew. It was a valiant effort, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Sabres from losing to the Coyotes 4-1.

Most Milan Lucic Moment: Milan Lucic

No one Milan Lucic-es like Milan Lucic.

The Flames forward did what he does best: wake up each morning and choose violence.

Nothing in the Saddledome with a Seattle Kraken logo was safe with Milan Lucic on the ice.

Still, his Lucician ways weren’t enough to help the Flames beat the Kraken last week. Seattle won 5-4. Believe it or not, the Kraken sit 2nd in the Pacific division, while the Flames are in 5th.

Most Full-Circle Moment: Alex Ovechkin

Alexander Ovechkin set an NHL record for the most goals scored with a single team when he notched goal No. 787 — all of them have come with the Washington Capitals.

What was fitting is that Ovie’s record-setting goal, which topped the previous mark set by Gordie Howe — Mr. Hockey himself — came with the Caps wearing their Reverse Retro jerseys.

Those sweaters were a nod to the jerseys the team wore when Ovechkin broke into the league. Scoring that record-setting goal in the ’90s and early-aughts copper and teal was a real full-circle moment.

Another coincidence is that goal 787 came against the Arizona Coyotes, the team against which Ovechkin scored easily his most memorable goal.

Congratulations to Ovie on an incredible record.

The Great One’s all-time goal record (894) seems increasingly more in reach for the Great 8…

See you next week. In the meantime, if you see anything that you think deserves one of our patented NHL Weekly Awards, be sure to send it my way via 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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