While the Carolina Hurricanes 2009-10 NHL season fell short of the expectations we brought to table back in October, that doesn’t mean there weren’t many bright spots for the players and fans this season. Canes Country thought we’d look back at some individuals whose performances were exemplary, and whose efforts and skill inspired us to keep watching. Using the traditional team and annual NHL Awards as a guide, Cory, Bob and I have each nominated a player from the Carolina roster for nine of these awards. Over the next week, we will ask you, our insightful readers, to vote for and tell us why you think one Hurricane player deserves our recognition for a job well done.
The Steve Chiasson Award
What is it?
"Presented annually to the Hurricanes player who best exemplifies the qualities of determination and dedication while proving to be an inspiration to his teammates with his performance and his approach to the game."
For more on Steve Chiasson, Hurricanes defenseman from 1997 to 1999, the N&O ran this story a year ago on the Tenth anniversary of his death in 1999.
Who received it over the last 3 years:
2008 Bret Hedican
2009 Rod Brind`Amour
2010 Rod Brind`Amour (for the 5th time)
After the jump Bob, Cory and Hockeymom each make their nominations.
And the nominees are:
Bob nominates: Jussi Jokinen
|2009 - Jussi Jokinen||81||30||35||65||3||36||10||0||6||0||160||18.8|
Few players, on any team, have had to overcome the hardships that Jussi Jokinen has faced during the past 18 months. He was put on waivers twice by Tampa Bay. He was traded to a new team. He had to take a leave of absence because of the sudden death of his father back in Finland. Then his Olympic dreams were shattered when he was snubbed by the Finnish Olympic Committee, even after working very hard toward this huge personal goal for the past four years and after putting up better numbers than several of the players selected over him.
How did he handle himself during all the adversity? With nothing but class.
Not only did the forward continue with his always pleasant demeanor toward his teammates and the media throughout the year, he went out and had a career best year on the ice. He led the Hurricanes with 30 goals scored, had the highest shooting percentage on the team (18.8%), and scored the most game winning goals, (6). He played different positions, on different lines, and never had a complaint. And Jokinen never spoke a negative word about Team Finland, even though it seemed obvious to everyone except the Selection Committee, that he deserved to be on the team.
In my opinion, his determination and dedication not only was an inspiration to his teammates, it was an inspiration to fans as well. I wholeheartedly nominate Jussi Jokinen for the Chiasson Award.
Cory Lavalette nominates: Rod Brind`Amour
|2009 - Rod Brind`Amour||80||9||10||19||-29||36||2||0||2||0||95||9.5|
Say what you want about No. 17's performance the last two seasons, but there isn't another player in the league who would hand over his captaincy with the dignity and professionalism he did. Not only that, but Brind'Amour continued to be the hardest worker in the Carolina locker room night in and night out and, despite having lost a step or two, was still giving everything he could on the ice even when his body wouldn't allow him to perform like he prepared.
Hockeymomof2 nominates: Tim Gleason.
|2009 - 2010 Tim Gleason||61||5||14||19||0||78||1||1||0||0||76||6.6|
For determination and dedication to the team this year, I can think of no one whose approach to the game and the season was more compelling and inspiring. From his display of a scoring touch during that November from hell (remember his comments post-game after the 13th loss of the streak?), and that stuff-of-legends breakaway shortie in Washington with thirty-stitches in the face (below), to his patriotic efforts to give his teammates in Vancouver an opportunity to recognize and honor those who are sacrificing so much for our country.
Tim Gleason after scoring on a short-handed breakaway, December 11, 2009 at the Verizon Center