Long talked about, we've finally decided to create a new special edition of TPS. On Tuesday, August 19th, we will present our 1st annual "TPS Awards Show".
I'm not sure what we're going to call them; "The Pipe-ies"... "The Pipes"... we're open to ideas so feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section. We're also wanting your input into who will contend for each category.
Next Tuesday we'll announce the nominees in each of the 10 categories. After the jump I'll reveal the categories themselves and a few examples.
Who is eligible? We are not separating leagues or even levels of hockey for that matter. As long as the player played the 2013-14 season somewhere between being a NHL rookie all the way down to a rookie at the junior level. That means that we will have categories that lump together players from the NHL, NCAA, AHL, Major Junior, USHL and CJHL and decided who deserves the award based on their performance in their league compared to how the other nominees performed in their league.
The CategoriesWe've narrowed it down to 10. That's a nice round number that we can work with over the course of the first hour of our show ("In Studio" guests come in during the second half of the show in the summer). Here they are with some possible nominees and why they make sense. Keep in mind that we want to hear from you with YOUR nominees. You can tweet them to us using the hash-tag #TPSawards and that way we'll be able to find them easily.
1. Top Forward: When you open up the criteria as we are it really creates some fantastic material for debate. Did Nathan Mackinnon dominate the NHL rookie class more than Jonathan Drouin or Anthony Mantha destroyed the QMJHL? What about the unreal season from Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau?
2. Top Defenceman: Is a defensive defenceman like Griffin Reinhart able to win the award over a guy who put up 92 points like Guillaume Gelinas? Does playing almost 23 minutes a night as a NHL rookie like Jacob Trouba deserve more recognition that TJ Brennan's 72 points in 76 AHL games?
3. Top Goaltender: Jordan Cooke won the CHL version of this award but will our audience nominate Tristan Jarry and his CHL best numbers? Or will a collegian like Sam Brittain or Connor Hellebuyck dominate the category. Can anyone really overlook the AHL performance of John Gibson or Jake Allen?
4. Top Agitator: We're not talking about a one dimensional goon here but a guy who not only gets under the skin of the opposition but has the talent to be a leading scorer on his team too. Colten Mayor racked up 172 PIMs but he was also tied for the lead in Alberta Junior Hockey League scoring with 75 points. That's the kind of guy we're talking about here.
5. Top Rookie: Goaltender Cole Huggins had quite the year for the Mavericks of Minnesota State but can anyone compete with what the Halifax connection did in 2013-14; Nik Ehlers or Nathan Mackinnon? Maybe 16-year-old Travis Konecny gets enough listener support that we have to take notice? Perhaps it's AHL defenceman Brenden Kichton?
6. Top Coach: If it's all about winning championships then you have to look at Union College bench boss Rick Bennett or Edmonton Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal don't you? But maybe it's more important to take a team that wasn't expected to do well and yet completely surprised everyone - like the Oshawa Generals. Is it about turning a team around from the previous season? Then Alaska-Anchorage and the Regina Pats are good examples to consider. Lots of room for debate in this category!
7. Top Team: Similar story here as it was for the coach; is it all about championship at the end of the season or can a club that dominated their league from start to almost finish come away with the award? I'm talking about clubs like the Kelowna Rockets or the Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Boston College Eagles or the Guelph Storm. What about league champs like the Indiana Ice, Edmonton Oil Kings or Texas Stars?
8. Top Single Game Performance: What was more impressive; Henrik Samuelsson's 5-point effort in the final of the Memorial Cup or Shayne Gostisbehere's 3-points and +7 during the NCAA national title game? Or does it even matter when Nathan Mackinnon scores 4 points in Game 2 of Colorado's Stanley Cup playoff series? What about Jordan Papirny making 49 saves in a do-or-die Game 4 win over Edmonton in the playoffs?
9. Top Arena Atmosphere: From personal experience I can say the Portland Winterhawks game experience needs to be seen to be believed. But does that make it better than what North Dakota or Wisconsin is like at the NCAA level? Then again, there is the legendary Ice Box, home of the USHL's Lincoln Stars to consider as well and what about in Halifax with their unreal pre-game show?
10. Top Story: On or off the ice, there were a lot of great stories this year in hockey. Penn State's David Glen gave up three weeks of his season to donate bone marrow to a complete stranger. Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry handed his stick to a 5-year-old Portland Winterhawks fan and made news across the CHL. The Oil Kings captured the Memorial Cup to complete a season dedicated to the memory of their lost teammate, Kristians Pelss. We're sure there are a dozen more examples out there and we want to hear them from you.
So from now until next Monday we will take your nominations via Twitter (remember to use #TPSawards) and please, back up your nominations with some convincing arguments. You can tweet us at @TPS_Guy and/or @Duckmillard but as long as you use the hash-tag, we'll find your tweet.
On Tuesday's show, August 12th, we'll announce the 5 finalists in each category and then you the listener will again be called upon to cast your votes. The results will be tabulated and then revealed on August 19th.
And hey, if you have a catchy name for the awards, better than "The Pipe-ies" please let us know that too!