Stick a fork in 'em.
Calgarypuck posters didn't give up a free chance for either revenge or a slap on the back in the First Annual "Get A Life" Awards, alternately frying up their enemies or blowing kisses at the best and the worst the Stampede City's busiest hockey board has to offer.
Lest the winners think someone is picking on them we should clarify the nominees for each award were pre-determined in a fair election via secret ballot of their peers. Then the final run-off was staged. So . . . . in that sense, yes, they were being picked on.
Cowperson cruised to an easy victory for the Craig Conroy Award as Poster of the Year while exhibiting a sensational year-long string of verbal diarhea which aptly framed the "Get A Life" title of the Calgarypuck awards. Said one voter: "The dog-loving, Travolta-mimicking, ubercapitalist right-winger from the sticks puts all others to shame with his post-productivity, knowledge of canine-urine and generally agreeable hockey opinions." Cow probably went a little overboard last week in mentioning his drunken midnight walk along Calgary's gay hooker stroll, which also earned the bovine one an embarrassing nomination for the "Vesa Viitakoski Fearless Female" Award as well.
Putting the words "Flames" and "Homer" together into one phrase is a bit of a stretch these days after six straight years out of the playoffs and an incredible 13 years since a single playoff series win, a record of futility good enough to turn even the most brown-nosed of Saddledome fanatics into a whimpering ball curled up in a dark corner. Even Leaf fans, usually the dictionary explanation of a local homer, have had a team which has gone to the final four three times in the last decade. But Displaced Flames Fan managed to overcome all odds and dominate the ballot box as the fan most likely to defend a franchise which has managed to embitter even its most ardent supporters. "Usually I agree with what Dis has to say but I can't say I've ever seen him criticize team management all that much," lamented one voter.
LannyMcDonald, running a well-thought out campaign lasting several years, easily collered three awards, including the "Doug Risebrough Slashing Marty McSorley's Sweater Vicious Bastard" Award for the poster most likely to launch a personal attack at the drop of a hat. Among the nicer things said about Lanny was "bitterness becomes him" and "this guy lives to insult." The venom-filled voters - clearly relishing an opportunity to stab him while his back was turned - probably figured their revenge shouldn't stop there as Lanny was also an unexpected but run away winner of The Rain Man Award, given to the poster who "seems to know something but no one is sure what it is." Lanny also pulled down an honour he felt was aimed directly at him, "The Rod Serling Twilight Zone Award" for the poster most likely to defend a Flames player through the eminently sensible tactic of blaming all his alleged deficiencies on management, coaches and teammates. One voter, twisting the knife until it hurt, labelled him "Lanny 'Savards Dad' McDonald. Summed up another voter: "Lanny, is there a fan who is so passionate yet hates the team so much?"
Although he was a fellow nominee in many of the categories dominated by LannyMcDonald, the irrepressible king of exclamation points JohnnyFlame won an honour that carries no guilt after 13 years without a playoff win, the "Put A Bag On My Head" Award for the Flames fan most ashamed to be seen in the colours of his home team. One voter even went so far as to offer up a few JohnnyFlame classics like: "What logjam? Every time I see that I just about fall off my chair laughing. A logjam of logs that have been in the river too long and are virtually useless is what it amounts to. A logjam of fourth liners and spare parts!!!" Then there is the never far from the surface attack on Calgarypuck's moderator, Bingo: "Well, for example, our beloved moderator has turned his back on (Gary) Roberts describing him I believe as a street thug or some other colourful spitting retort about his ever declining character." As one voter understated about Johnny: "Sometimes he seems pretty ashamed to support the Flames."
The closest race came down to a well-deserved virtual dead heat between Fredrik and Josef for The Haken Loob Award for favourite foreign poster (non North-American). Fredrik, who won the Award by one vote, has been invaluable to his fellow posters at Calgarypuck as a source of on the spot and timely information on European happenings. "Always has great information about Europeans players, a great addition to the messageboard," summed up one voter with another calling Fredrik "our eyes and ears when it comes to European prospects." Josef deserved a tip of the hat if for no other reason than providing the menacing muscle in helping Bingo, CP and Displaced with a first-class comeuppance of some ill-bred Canuck fans in the Saddledome lobby while on an otherwise dismal road trip to North America where the Flames were predictably shutout in both games he attended. "The poor guy travelled so far to watch such crappy games," marvelled one voter while another added: "nobody breaks Canucks flags like Josef."
A year of satirical splendour punctuated by every sight and sound gag known to technology earned Reggie Dunlop, he of the distressing leather bell bottom pants, The Jim Peplinski Award for the card of the board, the one guy you can count on for a yuck yuck when you need it. "The Brett Hull of humour - if you shoot enough you'll get lots of goals," said one voter while another offered, "He had that "Picture Period," much like Picasso's "Blue Period," which kept us all entertained."
Give Jordan a pat on the head as winner of the Scott Nichol Award, the guy most likely to fearlessly stick his nose into an argument he would have no hope of winning if the knuckles actually started flying. "Too many incidents where he states things as more than opinion and then gets clobbered by others into submission," agreed one voter. His main opponent for this honour was CrazyJoe, who drew this comment from one voter: "this ambitious rookie just loves to post, his dad's a doctor and he can get pretty saucy. Plus, he don't know any more than I do."
Habernac was named the favourite fan of an enemy team, taking the Roger Neilson Award. Habernac is a Flames fan in virtually any setting - except when Montreal rolls into town and he adopts an unrecognizable swagger and untoward cackle while swathing himself in bleu, blanc et rouge. "Maybe if the Habs were good he'd be hard to take . . . . . until then he's a decent guy," said one voter. Honourable mention to Speeds ("always level-headed when in enemy territory") and NuckfaninTO ("he admits he's a homer but still looks at both sides of the issues").
Taking the Darcy Tucker Award as the most hated fan of an enemy team was Educated, an Oiler homer and undisputed King of the False Trade Rumour who promised he would disappear if the Oilers failed to make the playoffs. Said one voter of the now missing Educated: "A real idiot - but he keeps his word." SaloFan was a close second in balloting, earning this quick summing up from one voter: "How could it NOT be this clown?"
She earned her reputation and the "Vesa Viitakoski Fearless Female" Award for a single word uttered in the heat of battle last winter, labelling an enemy clasping for her throat a "douchebag" and bringing down the house while she was at it. "I just love a good hurricane," analyzed one voter on her behalf. That would be TurekGirl of St. Louis, stalking her paramour northward over the border, who edged out a fellow St. Louisian, blues22 ("always insightful commentary, and gives us a good 'outsider' view of our team. Plus, she's a math major - gotta like that.").
Feeling a little like Jean Chretien in sweeping to an imposing victory with only 32% of the total vote, it was yours truly taking a bow for the Dickie Dunn Award as favourite staff contributor. The closeness of the vote demands a call to the stage for a collective bow from Marc Ciampa ("quality articles all the time"), D'Arcy McGrath (Always willing to look at both sides of an issue, and always has proof to back up any point he tries to make") and Aaron McCracken ("great poster, knows his stuff") as the other staff writers here at Calgarypuck.
We should also take the time to acknowledge Scottie, the irrepressible uber-webmaster who runs the technical show from his cave in the wilds of Scotland and was nominated in two categories, favourite Calgarypuck staff member and favourite foreign poster. "Probably the most active poster during the game threads despite the fact most games start at 2 a.m. in Scotland. A classy guy and a huge fan."
NOTES: Another classic JohnnyFlame quote: "Yep Wilm for some skill would be a good move as well. And of the flippin' clones. Fart keep Turek, the fab four, Iggy and Conroy and open for offers on the rest!!!!" . . . . . . A compliment came with a nomination for Elvis99 and the Doug Risebrough Vicious Bastard Award: "He seemed to be involved in all the abusive topics." . . . . . . Reggie was also nominated for the Craig Conroy Award with this quip: "I think he's been aiming for this award without knowing for sure it was going to be given. Reg is all about contingency." . . . . . . .Splatman Gauthier did receive a nomination for the Scott Nichol Award, with the voter saying, "16 years old , talks like he's been a scout for 20 years." . . . . . . Modano drew this comment and a nomination for The Rain Man Award - "I love the Flames, I hate the Flames, I'm in a drunken stupor . . . . . . " . . . . . . . Loob and Transplant99 drew some praise from a voter who wanted a new category of award for the most knowledgeable poster not affiliated with Calgarypuck.com. "Loooooober and Transplant99 - really enjoy reading what these guys have to say." . . . . . . .