Awesome. No other way to describe it. I literally spit out my coffee and I wasn’t even drinking any when I watched this. This just proves my long standing theory that hockey players are by far the funniest and coolest pro athletes in sports. Awesome. And it wouldn’t be an NHL 94 blog without bringing back Pete “I Don’t Believe in Reciprical Wedding Invites” Manzo’s classic “NHL 94 Awards” article..Enjoy
THE NHL 94 AWARDS
Some of you may have seen this on the Barstool home page a few weeks ago, but frankly, I thought NHL ’94 was too important… too influential… too far-reaching for just, “a blog”. Nothing against blogs, but you could write an entire book on the subject. Personally I know I wasted, I mean “spent”, more time playing NHL ’94 than any other game this side of Tyson’s Punchout as a kid or network Hearts my first job out of college.
So what made NHL ‘94 so tremendous? 2 words: one timer. To quote a blog comment from two weeks ago – “The one timer in NHL ’94 might be the greatest invention in the last 20 years.” Caller I.D. notwithstanding, that might be true. Now, combine that with the elimination of “The Move” (which severely tainted NHL ’93) and you had yourself the perfect game.
So, who was the best? Who was the worst? And who the heck is Bob Kudelski?
Here are the Awards… (Note: NHL94.com website used for some stats.)
Best Team – Detroit, obviously. Fedorov, Yzerman, Ysebaert/Ciccarrelli. Coffey – Lidstrom at the point; Tim Cheveldae in net. And if anyone got out of line, Bob Probert was there to make the guy’s head bleed. You could never use Detroit though – they were too good. You’d lose all “street cred”. And we know how important “street cred” is. Right behind Detroit I’d rank Chicago with God a.k.a. “Roenick”, followed by one of the top first lines in the game in Buffalo with Mogilny, Hawerchuk and LaFontaine; then the Penguins at #4 with Lemiuex, Jagr and Stevens, but no defense, and rounding out the top 5 I’d say Calgary. The problem with the Flames was that you’d spend the entire game trying to break the glass with Al MacInnis. You did it. I did it. We all did it. Breaking the glass with Al MacInnis was clearly more important than life. Best Team: Red Wings
Best Player in Game – Lemieux had a 100 rating but the best player in the game was obviously Roenick. It says he had an 89 rating but it should’ve been a 189. 2nd best player – Yzerman, 3rd – Mogilny, 4th – Lemieux, 5th – Selanne. Best Player in Game: Roenick.
Most Underrated Team – tough call, I would say the Sabres but I just ranked them 3rd overall, so it’s either 1 of 4 teams. Toronto (Gilmour, Andreychuk, Borshevsky; Ellett – Gill; Potvin in goal; Baumgartner to make the guy’s head bleed), Winnipeg (Selanne, Zhamnov, Steen; Housley – Numminen; Bob Essensa; Tie Domi to make guy’s head bleed), New Jersey (Richer, Semak, John “Die Hard” MacLean; Stevens – Fetisov; Chris Terrerri; Stevens head bleed), or Vancouver (Bure, Linden, Ronning; Lumme – Lidster; Kirk Mclean in goal; not sure who made the guy’s head bleed). Anyway, after careful debate I’m going with the Canucks, simply because they made the Finals in ‘94 in real life so they obviously had the best chemistry. Most Underrated Team: Vancouver
Most Underrated Player – A few choices here. First of all, for some reason Benoit Hogue of the Islanders was awesome; as was Thomas Steen (pronounced Toe-mas) of the Jets, “The Czar”, Nicholai Borshevsky of Da Leafs, and Mike Ridley of the Caps, who once scored 8 goals against me in 1 game during halftime of Superbowl XXXVII when I won $800 in a “Squares Pool” thanks to Leon Lett. But the two most underrated players had to be Thomas Sandstrom of the Kings and Vincent Damphouse of Les Habitants. While Sandstrom pretty much carried Sega bums Gretzky and Robitaille on his back, he never reached Damphouse’s strange level of greatness. On some nights Damphouse was considered the best player in the game. I’m serious. His 74 rating had to be a misprint. Therefore, this committee is giving the Most Underrated Player to Sandstrom.
Worst Team – my first instinct a few weeks ago was to say the Sharks. And while it’s true I’d only use them if my opponent was retarded (and by retarded I mean drunk), looking back, I’m pretty sure Ottawa was the absolute worst team in the game. Listen to this atrocious first line – Sylvain Turgeon, Bob Kudelski and Jamie Baker. I can’t even believe I just typed that! Defense was Norm MacIver and Brad Shaw; Peter Sidorkiewicz in goal. Yikes. 2 ex-Whalers in the same starting lineup? Worst Team: Senators. 2nd worst – Sharks, 3rd worst – Ducks and Lightning (tie)
Most Overrated Team – although the Kings are talked about in “Swingers” as “sucking” even though they went to the Finals (they did), I think the Bruins actually were the most overrated team in the game. Talent wise, there’s no denying they’re a top 10 squad – I was just never intimidated going up against Oates, Neely and Juneau, with Bourque and Wesley on D and Andy Moog in goal. There was always something missing with the electronic B’s. I was scared of Don Sweeney though, if my opponent was cagey enough to bring him in off the bench. And it says Bourque was a 99? No way. I’d take Housley or Iafrate over Bourque any day. Most Overrated Team: Bruins.
Worst Player – I didn’t think anyone had a lower rating than Tony Twist’s 33, but someone actually does — Flames’ defenseman Greg Smyth, with an embarrassing, 29. That’s basically saying the guy can’t skate. At least in NHL’96 he could practice with those “cone drills” they had, but not in ’94. Worst Player: Greg Smyth
Best Goon – we’ve already mentioned a few guys here – Probert, Domi, Baumgartner, Jeff Odgers on the Sharks was another. Who else? The Grim Reaper was on Chicago, Rob Ray was around, Tony Twist, Marty McSorley of course, on the Kings. But my top goon award is going to Mick Vukota on the Islanders. Maybe I’m biased growing up a fan of the 4-time Stanley Cup champs, but anytime you all but LOOKED at Pierre Turgeon or Benoit Hogue the wrong way, out came Vukota to take of business. Best Goon: Mick Vukota
Best Performance by a Goalie – I don’t know all of the specifics, I just remember absolutely PEPPERING Ducks’ goalie Guy Herbert (pronounced “Hay-bear”), with like 1000 shots one time and Herbert, unbelievably, turning back each and every one. It was one of the greatest athletic performances I’ve ever seen. You’ve basically got Mark Spitz in the ’72 Olympics, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game, Schilling in Game 6, and Guy Herbert that night against me in goal. Best Performance by a Goalie: Guy Herbert
So there they are, the NHL ’94 Awards. Next up, the All Time R.B.I. Team and Best Slo-Motion Dunkers in Double Dribble history.