NHL Weekly Awards: Flying Fists, Truthful Hips, And Raw Liver

Welcome to the NHL Weekly Awards

The finish line is in sight, kids. The sprint to the Stanley Cup Playoffs has begun.

Everyone is pumped about the first round of March Madness with a full day of non-stop college basketball. That's cool, but the rest of us know the true best day on the sports calendar is that first weekend during the NHL Playoffs where they stagger games from about noon to 10 at night.


That time is coming at us fast, but let's take some time to live in the moment, and by "in the moment" I mean the last week or so.

Great stuff this week, but let's start with something not so great: a fight that could be the worst in recent memory.

Gordie How Hat Trick That Shouldn't Count Of The Week: Ryan Reaves

There's no accomplishment in hockey more distinguished than a Gordie Howe hat trick.

Okay, so maybe there is; but in the hearts of fans, not many beat a Gordie Howe hat trick.

If you're unfamiliar with that term, it means a player registered a goal, an assist, and a fight in a single game. While the name is a tip of the cap to Howe, he only ever registered two of them, and he played in more than 2,4000 professional hockey games.

So, they're not as common as you think, but some people assumed that Ryan Reaves — arguably the league's preeminent tough guy — had one at the NHL level.

It's kind of surprising, but also not. Reaves throws hands a lot, but he's not scoring a ton of goals or racking up assists. The odds of all that happening on one night seem kind of low.

Technically he registered a Gordie Howe on Sunday. Reaves scored once and an assist in the Minnesota Wild's 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

However, I ask you, dear reader, should whatever this was have counted as a fight?

It started when Reaves nearly put a 'Yote in the last row (which in Mullett Arena, isn't that far). He had to answer for that hit when Boko Imama approached him.

The two dropped the gloves, squared up, and gave us what could be the worst fight in quite some time.

What the hell was that?

You can tell everyone in the arena expected more in a bout between these two.

That last right from Imama would've been a doozy if he hadn't missed Reaves by a couple of parsecs (okay it was a little closer than that).

Considering those two are heavyweights — Imama had 176 PIMs last season with the AHL's Tucson Roadrunners — this was terrible.

It might be the worst fight since Alex Semin tried to play bongos on Marc Staal.

"Not How He Drew It Up" First Career NHL Goal Of The Week: Pavel Dorofeyev

Everyone dreams of their first NHL career. For most, it would come with a howitzer right past the goalie's glove. Maybe a filthy fangle that leaves the goalie's jockstrap hanging from the jumbotron.

Not getting plunked in the head with the puck, but that's what happened to Pavel Dorofeyev.

Vegas drafted him in 2019 and had spent the last few years with the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL. On Sunday, he scored his first NHL goal, and to do it, he used his noggin.

As you can see, Jordan Binnington made the initial save on William "Wild Bill" Karlsson but the rebound bounced directly into Dorofeyev's shield and then the back of the net.

That's not how he drew it up, but a big congrats on that first NHL tally.

No matter how that puck gets across the line it looks the same on the score sheet.

Sick Hands Of The Week: Michael Gillespie

Let's check in on the boys in the Southern Professional Hockey League, shall we?

Michael Gillespie of the Birmingham Bulls (a nice throwback to the old WHA team of the same name) scored this unreal goal and showed off some hand-eye coordination to boot.

Gillespie and the Bulls were playing the Fayetteville Marksmen when he showed off his mitts.

That just proves that bouncing a puck on your stick during warm-ups isn't just to impress the ladies (it's mostly to impress the ladies, though), it could come in handy.

It sure did for Michael Gillespie.

Islanders Fan With The Most Truthful Hips: Shakira

A lot of hips lie, but there was at least one pair of hips that was more truthful than George Washington in church on Sunday.

Those hips belong to international pop sensation Shakira and she was on hand at UBS Arena to catch the Islanders take on the Capitals.

Carson Daly was there wearing a Reverse Retro hat, but back to Shakira.

The songstress, along with Jennifer Lopez, put the Super Bowl LIV halftime show that had a bigger focus on butts than an anti-smoking campaign. She was slightly more covered up for the Islanders game (which makes sense what with all the ice). The singer threw on one of those big fuzzy hats with an Islander logo.

Get her to sing the anthem and maybe she becomes their Kate Smith (...wait) and the Isles will go on a miracle Cup run.

One other thing: I found this photo of Shakira and the Blue Man Group. I have no clue when I'll be able to use it, so I'm going to drop it here.

You're welcome. Alright, moving on.

Worst Pre-Game Meal OF The Week: Jakob Chychrun

NHL players are high-level athletes who take care of their bodies. They eat finely tuned diets that include all kinds of stuff to make their bodies perform at their best. That could include some pregame pasta, maybe some protein shakes, or in Phil Kessel's case, perhaps a couple of hot dogs.

As for Jakob Chychrun of the Ottawa Senators, he goes for something a bit rawer.

Another follower of the Liver King gospel. Marlon Humphrey has company.

Game Most Likely To Make The Official Scorer's Hand Cramp Up: Lightning vs. Golden Knights

There was a time a few years ago when it seemed like a Golden Knights-Tampa Bay Lightning Cup Final seemed like a legitimate possibility. It never panned out, but don't think for a second that these two teams will exchange pleasantries the next time they meet.

They went nuts last week. Keegan Kolesar of the Golden Knights delivered a late shove to the Lightning's Pat Maroon. That'll never go over well, but for some reason, this sent things boiling over.

It was mayhem at Amalie Arena, ladies and gentlemen.

Let's check the game notes. There were 146 total PIMs handed out in that game. 122 of them came from this incident at the 12:16 mark in the third.

The official scorer's hand must have been in agony trying to get all of this straight. Most players got minors and 10-minute misconducts which were probably meant to just keep the game from getting way of hand.

It seems to have worked too. Only one more player was sent to the sin bin, and that was Vegas' Chandler Stephenson who was sent off for high-sticking in the final minute of regulation.

The Golden Knights went on to win this one in overtime, 4-3.


Another entry in the annals of NHL Weekly Awards history is in the books. Congrats all around, pals. Let's meet back here next week for another round of hardware on me. If you see anything that you think deserves an award, send it my way on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle.

Written by
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.