SPNHL Season 36: Stanley Cup Finals Recap + Awards!
As we close out this season and celebrate the success of teams and players over the past two months, we need an album worthy of such an occurrence. We need an album that is as triumphant as the accomplishments achieved by the winners that will be showcased in this article. Since hockey is considered Canada’s favourite pastime, why don’t we go with a band from the Great White North? Enter: The Dirty Nil, three men who know how to kick ass and make noise from Dundas, Ontario.
Their most recent record “Master Volume” is a masterclass in punk rock and roll, especially when the genre seems like a shell of its former self. Anthems like “That’s What Heaven Feels Like” and “Bathed in Light” set the tone for the album, while the breakneck pace is serviced by “Please, Please Me” and “Smoking is Magic”. This album has no filler, and is closed by the epic “Evil Side” and a cover of Metallica’s “Hit the Lights”, and in this humble writer’s opinion, is the best Canadian rock/punk album of the past two years (sorry PUP).
That’s a wrap! After a five week sprint to the finish line, and three exasperating rounds of playoffs, we finally are able to crown our season 36 Stanley Cup Champions: the Calgary Flames! Initially projected to miss the playoffs in the West, this team made two key trades to improve their team from being notoriously seeded “6th in the West” to a late season surge to claim the third playoff seed in the Western conference. NowYoDead put together an impressive team that rose above the rubble in the crumbling West (isn’t it fitting how that’s a true statement regarding real life right now?).
In the playoffs, they swept the scrappy Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, and then dismantled the dominant Nashville Predators on their road to the Stanley Cup Finals. There, they faced the President’s Trophy winning Boston Bruins, and despite all odds (as well as a stupid media correspondent sleeping on them again), were able to defeat the Bruins and secure their place in SPNHL history. Calgary’s stacked top line was too much for these three teams to overcome, and was the key component to their consistent success all season long.
Congratulations in particular to Whitetees41 for winning the Conn Smythe trophy as Calgary’s playoff MVP! We’ll go into more detail about his performance shortly, but he adds another trophy to his resume after winning the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies during his dominant regular season.
We’ll recap the Stanley Cup finals series in this article, as well as go over the winners of the regular season awards! This season’s awards are sure to spark some debate and incite controversy among the community, but when are they not? It’s all subjective. Sit down, shut up, grab a drink, and enjoy the ride.
STANLEY CUP FINALS
Boston Bruins (E) vs. Calgary Flames (W)
Series Result: Calgary wins 4-2.
Series MVP: Whitetees41.
Score: 4-1 Calgary.
Calgary came out of the gate with all guns blazing, as they scored four goals right off the bat while holding Boston to a goal. PBM_TroyJ scored a hat trick in the first game, while Whitetees41 added a goal and three assists as the Flames set the tempo for the series.
Score: 6-3 Calgary.
Calgary showed no signs of slowing down after their excellent offensive performance in game 1, adding two more goals to their total from game 1 (while Boston did the same). PBM_TroyJ showed no signs of slowing down, adding four goals to his totals, as the Flames took a commanding two game lead in the series
Score: 4-2 Calgary.
While they didn’t win by three goals in this series, Calgary still was able to get the victory by a score of 4-2. Boston’s defense made an improvement but their offense took a step back, and Calgary pushed Boston to the brink of elimination. PBM_TroyJ had another solid performance with 2 goals and 1 assist, how did this guy not win the Conn Smythe?
Score: 4-1 Boston.
With their backs to the wall and their season on the line, the Bruins were able to pull out a big victory in game 4. A reversal of fortune from game 1, the Bruins knew they had to start the night off with a bang if they wanted any shot at the reverse sweep. Capitalsfan_08 led the way with three goals as the Bruins stayed alive in the series.
Score: 5-2 Boston.
Boston had another big game, attempting to crush the spirits of the Flames who had seen a 3-0 lead pass them by. With a score of 5-2, Boston had won another game by three goals and looked primed to come back in the series. DeathClxwn scored 4 of his team’s 5 goals, and after being a big factor in his team’s victory over the Devils, was stepping up at the right time for the Bruins.
Score: 6-4 Calgary.
Just as the Bruins were coming back in the series, the Flames put their foot down and turned the jets back on, scoring double of the combined total in their past two games in game 6 to take the series. This high scoring affair was an incredibly entertaining playoff game, and once again, PBM_TroyJ championed much of the Flames offense with 4 goals and an assist. A dominant performance that capped off an impressive playoff campaign
STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS: CALGARY FLAMES.
CONN SMYTHE (PLAYOFFS MVP): Whitetees41.
Whitetees41 has been guiding the Flames offense all season long, and that didn’t stop when it came to the playoffs. Playing in every game for the Flames this postseason, he accumulated 25 goals and 23 assists in 15 games, good for an average of 3.2 points per game. His 48 points eclipsed any other player on his team (by 17! Fluri and Troy tied for 31), and beat DeathClxwn by 7 points. After leading his team in points during the regular season and the postseason, and winning a Stanley Cup with them, is it hard to argue that Tees is the best player in SP right now?
That feels like the perfect segue into the regular season awards section. Before we do, I’d like to congratulate everybody on the Calgary Flames on an outstanding season that surpassed my expectations. Tees, Fluri, Troy, sabres1414, Eddie2708_, N-3-3-P-0-S-H, Visibility12, jasonw1978, BROKEN9216, and especially NowYoDead, congratulations on a fantastic season and for reaching the pinnacle of this league.
Now, let’s step away from the playoffs for a bit, and go back a month or so to the regular season.
REGULAR SEASON AWARDS
We’ll go with the statistically determined ones first.
ART ROSS TROPHY (REGULAR SEASON LEADING SCORER)
We’re gonna be seeing his name a lot in this coming section. Tees was the third overall pick this season, and an $8 million left wing with the reduced cap was viewed as a risky move by the Flames. However, they hit the jackpot with Tees, as he scored 179 points in 43 games this season in Calgary, averaging 4.2 points per game. We’ll talk about his goal total momentarily, but Tees won the Art Ross trophy by a margin of 15 points (LeCupidon scored 164) amongst some stiff competition.
ROCKET RICHARD TROPHY (MOST GOALS IN THE REGULAR SEASON)
Tees scored 105 goals this season. With the exception of 11 players, he scored more goals than some players had scored points. 83 of those goals came at even strength, while 18 were scored on the powerplay and 4 were scored shorthanded. I still can’t get over 105 goals in one season. That is actually the second highest goal total in one season in SP history, with jusalator scoring 140 goals in the inaugural season. Unbelievable.
WILLIAM M. JENNINGS AWARD (GOALTENDER FOR THE TEAM WITH THE FEWEST GOALS SCORED AGAINST)
WINNER: Spencer_Knight30 (110 GA)
While Nashville only gave up 110 goals against in 45 games this season (2.4 GAA), Spencer_Knight30’s 26 starts were the most for this team. Over the course of his 26 starts, he only gave up 61 goals, good for a 2.35 GAA that beats the team average. I would talk more about Spencer’s performance, but we’ll be talking about his stats a bit later. Nashville played great team defense and their goaltender reaped the benefits of it.
NHL PLUS-MINUS AWARD (BEST PLUS-MINUS IN THE REGULAR SEASON)
In his first season in the SPNHL (we’ll touch more on that later), Kylo_Reli led the league in plus-minus going +83 for the Nashville Predators. The Predators had one of the best goalies in the league and one of the best defensive cores in the league. As well, they had a plethora of offensive threats in PistolPete7788, Fear_mjolnir_22, and more. However, Kylo_Reli had the best plus-minus out of any of them and won this award.
JACK ADAMS AWARD (COACH OF THE SEASON)
Chadkillz134 may not talk too much, but he made an emphatic statement this past season by constructing a President’s Trophy winning Boston Bruins. With the second pick in each round of the draft, Chad was able to build one of the best teams that this season has seen in recent memory. It was composed of Vezina, Hart, Calder, Norris, and Selke nominees, as well as dynamic offensive players, and overall became the best team during the regular season. Congrats to Chad on a wonderful season at the helm.
Now, the ones that were voted on!
HART MEMORIAL TROPHY (REGULAR SEASON MVP)
We mentioned Tees earlier, as he nearly broke records this past season, and he was rightfully voted the regular season MVP for Calgary. He was the most expensive player in the draft, and was selected third overall. There were high expectations for Tees, and boy did he surpass all of them. He played all but 2 games for the Flames, and led them in scoring by 29 points (Fluri scored 150 points, leading the league in 85 assists). His dominant performance this season will be talked about for seasons to come in these circles.
FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY (BEST DEFENSIVE FORWARD)
One of the hardest trophies to vote on was this one, but it ended up going to the defender-turned-forward in ttommyboiii. Tommy played on a rugged Chicago squad, and contributed to their reputation with 119 hits and 120 takeaways in 34 games played. Tommy’s faceoff performance was stellar as well, winning 56.62% of his draws. He also chipped in 45 goals and 100 points, so his experiment at forward was a successful one for the Blackhawks, and ultimately a successful one for his trophy case.
KING CLANCY MEMORIAL TROPHY (CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY)
WINNERS: Dirty-Dietrich and ProdigyToLegend.
Prodigy and I split this award, but I would like to shine the spotlight on Prodigy for this award. Prod isn’t necessarily new to the scene, but he is new to media coverage, and was able to do so on a weekly basis, remaining consistent and reliable. He would always give me a deadline and he would meet it, always with quality content. Kudos to Prodigy for his work on the Players of the Week article, and I look forward to working with him in the future.
BILL MASTERTON MEMORIAL TROPHY (DEDICATION TO THE SPNHL)
Bufford had bad luck from the onset of the season, with circumstances preventing him from even drafting his own team. Less than a week into his season, he basically had to trade the majority of his team. The Tampa Bay Lightning only won 3 games all season long, and Bufford made sure that his team played all but one game. Whether it was roster players, ECUs, free agents, whoever, Bufford made sure that his team was out there and gave it a shot.
LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY (HIGH LEVEL OF SKILL WHILE HIGHLY DISCIPLINED)
Reapz has really emerged as one of the best scorers in the SPNHL over the past few seasons. While some may argue that this is due to his partnership with LeCupidon, you cannot take away from Reapz’ ability to generate offense. While doing so, he has maintained a consistently low penalty minute total, barely reaching double digits this season with 10 PIMS in 44 games played. That’s a very impressive total after an impressive season.
JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY (BEST DEFENCEMAN)
I will be honest, I did not think that this was how this award was going to go. However, after seeing how ExE played this season, and how impressive his defensive numbers were, I could not argue with him receiving this award. He was fifth in scoring for defenders with 32 points, but outhit all those who scored more than him (while also having less penalty minutes than most of them), and had a very high takeaway-to-giveaway ratio (0.85). A key part to Toronto’s success this past season, ExE deserved the Norris nod.
VEZINA TROPHY (BEST GOALTENDER)
The streak is over! Chadkillz134 has been dethroned and Spencer_Knight30 is now the reigning champion and had a wonderful season to take the crown. Spencer played in 26 games for the Predators, and won 20 of those games. He faced 14 shots a game, and saved 82.14% of them, while only allowing 2.35 goals a game. With his 5 shutouts, Spencer had all the numbers he needed to establish himself as the best goaltender in the SPNHL this past season.
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY (BEST ROOKIE)
Kylo_Reli was the first overall pick in the draft this past season, and his performance was fitting of that. Reli finished with an average of four points per game, scoring 46 goals and adding 74 assists for 120 points in 30 games. In addition to winning the plus-minus award, he was also a contender for the Selke trophy as he was second in the league for hits with 219, and had won 58.17% of his faceoffs. While his season may have ended prematurely, nobody can deny Reli’s dominance this season.
That’s it! That’s a wrap on season 36! It was one of the most competitive seasons the league has seen in quite some time. With 14 teams and over 160 players this season, we saw many different styles of play, levels of skill, personalities, and much more. I would like to congratulate all the winners of the awards this season, as well as once again congratulating your season 36 Stanley Cup Champions; the Calgary Flames. I’m glad I could motivate you guys a little bit. <3
Thank you to YOU! Thanks for reading these articles every week and being on my ass to get them out. Thank you for reading Prodigy’s articles this season and looking to see if he gave you a nod. Thank you for listening to Pliskin, Kozmo, Fluri, and I this season on SPNHL: Off the Ice! It was our pleasure to bring you commentary on the latest and greatest in the league, and we’ll be looking forward to bringing our show to you again next season!
For now, enjoy the time off! We’ll see you next season on the ice!