With the Worcester Sharks regular season campaign coming to an end without a playoff run for the fourth season in a row, it’s time to start with the end of season paperwork. Up first are the “210 Awards”. For those new to the “210 Awards”, they are a mix of serious and (hopefully) slightly humorous awards named for the moniker this writer uses on many message boards. This season’s winners are…
Best Forward: Freddie Hamilton wins this one, not because he was the WorSharks point leader on the season but because no matter who he was lined up with he helped those players produce. Hamilton will likely not be a top-six forward in the NHL, but in the AHL there is little doubt he was the top forward in Worcester.
Best Defenseman: Konrad Abeltshauser. Defense was supposed to be the strength of the WorSharks, but it turned into its major Achilles’ heel. While Abeltshauser had a slow start to his rookie campaign by the end of the season he was by far the team’s best defender, and had he not been injured he was headed to the World Championships to play for Germany.
Tough Guy Award: Jimmy Bonneau. This award doesn’t have to go to the best fighter on the team, but this time it does as Bonneau was not only the best with his fists on the squad he was also one of the toughest guys for opposing forwards to play against.
Best Single Game Performance: Matt Nieto. In a last minute switch from Dan DaSilva’s Gordie Howe hat trick, Nieto’s two goals and three assists on December 6th against Portland takes this award after a “recount”. Things might have been different in Worcester this season had Nieto been here for more than two games.
Most Improved: Travis Oleksuk. Last season Oleksuk went 3-10-13 (and -12) in 60 games, and looked just totally overmatched most of the season. Oleksuk unfortunately picked up where he left off, going just 3-3-6 thru the end of December. The changing of the calendar was good for Oleksuk, as he turned it all around to finish 19-21-40. It’s, anecdotally at least, the biggest improvement ever in Worcester pro hockey history.
Seventh Player: Travis Oleksuk. See “most improved” for the reason.
Rookie of the Year: Troy Grosenick. No one knew what Worcester was going to get from the Union alum, but San Jose was right in burning his ELC season at the end of last campaign to make sure Grosenick was in the fold. Most believe the rookie netminder has passed Harri Sateri on the depth chart. If he hasn’t, he will soon.
Most Valuable Player: Dan DaSilva. You don’t need stats to know why, because it doesn’t tell the whole story anyway. This team was a complete mess before DaSilva arrived from the ECHL for his second stint with the team, and his presence helped solidify the squad and got the WorSharks pointed in the right direction. By far the most valuable player on the roster.
The Sharkspage Player of the Year: Troy Grosenick. For the first time ever we had a three way tie for the most times named as the Sharkspage player of the game, so we opened it up to fan voting and Grosenick prevailed. Bracken Kearns and Travis Oleksuk were originally tied with Grosenick at six.
So now that we’ve gotten the serious awards out of the way, here’s a few that this writer thinks should be handed out…
The Mike Moore Award: For the player that gives 100% every single shift no matter the score or the situation, the obvious answer this season is Matt Pelech. WorSharks fans love him, opposing fans hate him, but he’s always 100% every shift.
The Two-By-Two Award: Adam Comrie, for having the most penalty minutes without a major. Comrie had a very questionable ten minute misconduct in a game vs Portland, but still wins the award if you take that away.
The Iron Man Award: Usually given out to the player(s) playing in all 76 regular season games, will sit unawarded this season and no WorSharks player played every game this season. Travis Oleksuk gets an honorable mention for appearing in 74 of 76 games.
The Man In The Box Award: Dylan DeMelo, for being the reason Worcester was shorthanded when a power play goal was scored against them most often. DeMelo was in the sin bin seven times when a power play goal against was given up.
The Dead-Eye Award: Nick Petrecki, for having the lowest shooting percentage of any player with 50 or more shots on goal. Petrecki went 1 for 55, for 1.8%, with Worcester. Petrecki then went on to go 0 for 12 after being loaned to Rochester.
The Buzzer Beater Award: Tie; Brodie Reid for his goal with 1.5 seconds remaining in 1st period March 8th vs Portland; and Matt Pelech for his goal with 1.5 seconds left in the first period March 26th at Portland.
The “It’s not how many, it’s when” Award: Matt Pelech, whose lone NHL goal was a game winner for San Jose on October 10th, and who had three AHL goals that were a game winner, and buzzer beater, and a potential momentum shifting goal.
The “Get a Calendar” Award: The AHL, for having head coach Roy Sommer break the all-time games coached record on the road.
The “Why Is He In The Shootout” Award: Riley Brace’s dad, whose name I do not know, who after hearing Brace announced as the third shooter in a shootout in late November quipped to fans after the game “I have no idea why (Sommer) picked Riley, he can’t score on shootouts and never has”. Apparently not so surprisingly, Brace missed his attempt.
The “He’s My Favorite” Award: Tie between Dylan DeMelo and Chris Crane. This writer, when asked on Twitter how Crane was doing, replied that he didn’t belong in the AHL yet. Crane favorited the tweet, and then a couple days later was reassigned to the ECHL. Later in the season I tweeted that I’d seen enough of DeMelo, who favorited the tweet a day or so after. In the handful of games that followed DeMelo was an aggregate (-10).
The “I love to play against Portland” Award: Matt Pelech, who scored all three of his AHL goals this season vs the Portland Pirates.
The “Nostradamus” Award: To myself, for deciding to look up the last time the WorSharks scored 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 goals in a game just a few hours prior to Worcester’s December 6th game vs Portland. The WorSharks went on to score 8 goals that game.
The “Are You Nuts?” Award: To WorSharks broadcaster Eric Lindquist and Worcester Sharks Booster Club president Rich Lundin, for the look they gave this writer when I told them I had brought that information along “just in case”. I got the same look after the game too.
The “Not-so-Nostradamus” Award: WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer, for during the preseason season ticket gathering predicting Worcester would win the Calder Cup. For the fourth time in a row, the WorSharks failed to make the playoffs.
The “Just the two of us” Award: Harri Sateri and Troy Grosenick, who were for the first time in 20 years of AHL hockey in Worcester the only two goaltenders to man the net for the entire season.
The “Take your time, we’ll wait” Award: referee Tim Mayer, whose video review (which included a call to the goal judge) of Travis Oleksuk’s disputed goal in the season finale took almost 11 minutes. He eventually ruled the goal was good.
The “44 Award”: Head coach Roy Sommer, who after winning the “35 Award” last season did it again and put the wrong player (43-Bonneau, instead of 44-Comrie) on his game roster. This is the third time in recent memory Sommer has incorrectly filled out a lineup.
The “Wrong Time To Make A Big Mistake” Award: Roy Sommer, who won the “44 Award” while the entirety of San Jose’s hockey operations was at the DCU center.
The “Grand Entrance” award: ATO goaltender Scott Barchard, who, while filling in for an ailing Harri Sateri stumbled out of the bench door as he went on to the ice in warm-ups.
The “Grand Exit” award: Matt Pelech, after receiving 14 minutes in penalties late in the third period against St John’s on April 18th. This is s family blog, so we won’t mention what he did as he passed the IceCaps bench. It was funny as all heck though.
The “Can We See That Again?” award: Referee David Banfield, who went back nearly two full minutes to check to see if Freddie Hamilton’s shot went into the net on January 11th. It did.
The “Just Checking” award: Freddie Hamilton, who after having a goal disallowed for the net being off the pegs on February 1st vs Providence showed referee Jamie Koharski the net was still in place after scoring his “second” of the game by tapping his stick on both posts after celebrating the score.
The “They did it to me again” Award: Freddie Hamilton, who had a goal disallowed against Providence–this time in the WorSharks final game–for “inadvertent goaltender interference” despite there not being a Worcester player close to interfering with PBruins netminder Malcolm Subban.
The David Haas Award: For the seventh time in eighth seasons, there is no winner of this “prestigious” award that goes to the player with the most talent that chooses to use none of it. There has been some squawking that Jon Matsumoto should retroactively be given the award for the 2012-13 season, but his poor play since leaving Worcester saves him from that happening. For now.