NHL Weekly Awards: Koepka Trolls, Reimer Saves, and Kakko Takes A Ricochet Shot

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We’re about to enter the final stretch of the NHL season. While some first-round matchups look set — maybe not set in stone, but perhaps set in hard clay — others still need to be worked out.

I’m ready for the mad dash to the finish as teams battle for wild card spots. After that, it’s time for the first round which is hockey’s version of the NCAA tournament. It even has brackets!

There’s some good stuff this week including a lightning-fast hat trick and a fast Lightning-Bruins line brawl. There’s a splash of LIV Golf too, and what I believe could be the first back-to-back winner in OutKick NHL Weekly Awards history.

Let’s get to it…

“Thank You For Not Wasting Everyone’s Time” Moment Of The Week: Rafael Harvey-Pinard

Rafael Harvey-Pinard of the Montreal Canadiens (or as they say in Quebec, le Montreal Canadiens) notched his first career hat trick.

Even better, he didn’t make the home crowd sit around for two periods waiting to throw their hats (or as they say in Quebec, le hats). Instead, he got the job done in a single period against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Very cool of him not to make everyone sweat it out and wonder if they’d need to buy a new lid.

Hey, speaking of not making the paying fans wait…

Fastest Line Brawl: Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning

Fans who bought tickets to the intra-Atlantic Division matchup between the Bruins and Lightning who are fond of the rough stuff may not have even put ass-to-TD Garden seat before the nastiness broke out.

Immediately after puck drop, an almost-line brawl erupted.

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but can you imagine a playoff series between these two?

Yeah, it can’t happen until the second round and that’s if it happens at all, but, man, that would be a doozy.

Troll Job From Someone With No Connection To The NHL Of The Week: Brooks Koepka

LIV Golf’s Brook Koepka caught a Florida Panthers game this week, and boy, oh boy, did the man troll Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

Someone caught Koepka on camera calling Ekblad a “f—ing traffic cone” while waving — what else — a traffic cone when the Panthers hosted the New York Rangers.

A brutal troll job. Definitely not something you want to hear from anyone, especially not a guy named Brooks.

Ekblad logged 23 minutes in the Panthers’ 4-3 loss to the Blue Shirts and managed to finish the game even.

Lest you think Koepka and Ekblad are buds and he was just goofing around… that is not the case.

Ricochet Statistic of the Week: Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko 40-Goal Seasons

This stat that the folks at Bleacher Report pulled caught my eye for two reasons. One is that it’s impressive from Jack Hughes’ perspective, while the other was an unprovoked shot at poor Kaapo Kakko.

These fellas were the first two picks in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Hughes went No. 1 overall to the Devils, while Kaapo went second to the Rangers.

By this point, everyone knows that Hughes’ tenure in New Jersey has been a bit more successful than Kakko’s on the other side of the Hudson River.

With that in mind, did they have to do the poor guy dirty like this?

Hughes and Kakko both scored their 40th goals this season… except Hughes’ was the 40th of the season, while Kakko’s was the 40th of his career.

Just a brutal shot at Kakko who has struggled at times since entering the league. Interestingly, their respective teams look to be on a collision course for a first-round meeting in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

If ever there was a time for Kakko to get some vengeance, it would be then.

Serial Robber Of The Week: James Reimer

In the storied five or six-month history of the OutKick NHL Weekly Awards, I can’t remember a player who took home hardware back-to-back weeks.

Maybe super-stud Conor Bedard did it but I can’t remember. I didn’t look back through the archives because I’m too busy living in the here and now, fam.

So, I think James Reimer could be our first back-to-back winner. He took home an award last week for Best Diving Save (Glove) for robbing Oilers sniper Leon Draisatl.

Now, Reimer is doing it again, this time diving across the crease to punish Winnipeg’s Mason Appleton with a heck of a paddlin’.

Reimer just bailed his team out in a big way. I’m not sure what was happening with that turnover in front of the slot and dudes running around like this was between-periods game for six-year-olds.

The Sharks won this game 3-0, and Reimer has himself to thank for keeping the shutout alive.

Jeez, if he keeps playing like that he might cost his team the No. 1 draft pick.

Special Shoutout To The Nashville Predators.

I usually try to keep the NHL Weekly Awards light and fun, but the Nashville Predators deserve a shoutout.

As you might expect the tragic shooting that occurred at The Covenant School in Nashville hit close to home for a lot of people, the Predators included.

They debuted a sticker on their helmets paying respects to those who were killed in such a heinous way.

You never want to have to do something like that, but it was a respectful way to honor six innocent people who had their lives taken from them.

The Preds had these on their helmets on the road in Boston, and the moment of silence was held before the opening puck drop.


That’s it for this week’s edition of the NHL Weekly Awards. If you see anything over the next seven days that strikes you as award-worthy, don’t hesitate to send it to me via Mr. Musk’s Twitter machine: @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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