Off the Ice: No vote needed for hardest-working player
Are the Phoenix Coyotes really asking for votes when it comes to the hardest working player of the season?
OK, it's a fan thing and they do it every year. It's a great tool to let the fans be involved and I'm sure the player really appreciates the recognition, as he's earned it.
But this year, there does not need to be a vote. While all of the candidates named by the Coyotes -- especially Mike Smith, Shane Doan and Lauri Korpikoski -- have more than earned the award, there is only one guy who deserves the award: Boyd Gordon.
I know, Smitty has proved the NHL wrong with a great season, Doan (as always) is the heart of the team and the Korpedo is probably one of the most underrated forwards in the NHL, but the Coyotes have come to depend on Gordon in a way I never thought possible.
When it comes to penalty killing -- one of the toughest things to do in the NHL -- no one is better than Gordon. He leads all NHL forwards with 61 blocked shots. The man has no respect for his body and gives everything for his team. Think back over the season, how many clearances on the kill was Gordon responsible for because he blocked a shot or made a diving play? Almost too many to count.
Another place where the gritty Gordon is working his tail off is the faceoff circle. So far this season, Gordon has won 603 faceoffs and only lost 465, meaning he wins about 56.5 percent of the faceoffs he takes. That's good enough for 19th place in the NHL. When the Coyotes need a guy to win the puck at an important time, there is a reason they turn to Gordon.
You can make the case that Gordon hasn't been the biggest offensive producer and you would be right. But that's not why the Coyotes brought him in. Gordon has never been a points guy (he only has 105 total in his career) and he never will be. But points have nothing to do with bustin' your ass every shift on the ice, like Gordon has all season.
The Coyotes hardest worker, as voted by the fans, will be named prior to the Fan Appreciation Night on March 31 against the Anaheim Ducks. That player will skate to the center of the ice, accept the trophy with a wave and get ready for the game. If I had any say in the matter, Gordon would automatically win the trophy. I don't (except for my one vote) so it will be up to all of you to decide.
But, in my book, Gordon won the hardest-worker trophy from me a long time ago.
- Don Maloney, Phoenix Coyotes' GM - Wednesday May 29The GM discusses his contract extension and the futures of head coach Dave Tippett and goaltender Mi
- Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes Head Coach - Thursday April 25Tippett tells Burns & Gambo why he thinks the Coyotes didn't get into the postseason
- Dave Tippett, Coyotes head coach - Friday April 19Tippett goes over what the Coyotes have to do to make the playoffs. He also gives an injury update o
- Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes Head Coach - Thursday April 11Coyotes are making a late playoff push after beating Edmonton last night. Coach Tippett joins the sh
- Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes' Head Coach - Friday April 5Coach Tippett talks to Burns & Gambo about the win over Detroit and the moves at the trade deadline.