My wife and I went to Mandarin Buffet last night. You want to talk about a first class organization, executing on every objective from mixed drinks to placemat quizzes to service to reasonably priced family dining - tremendous. If Dave Nonis is willing to think outside the box when searching for a model to rebuild the Maple Leafs, he could do a lot worse (like, for instance, Pickle Barrel - the Ottawa Senators of casual franchise fooderies).
However, somewhere between my fifth helping of fried wontons and the sandwiches I made from gravy-covered prime rib and horseradish between two almond cookies (I call them TillSliders) things went a little off the rails. I spent the rest of the night tormented by stomach pains and nausea, slumped over the toilet praying for the sweet relief of vomitus. And that's when I remembered.
It was time to announce the nominees for the 2012 Mittenstringer of the Year award.
Our crack panel of myself, PPP, Bitter Leaf Fan, and the immortal Kim Jorn waded through the 35+ nominees you sent in and curated (hi Forbes!) this final five. The fact that neither Damien Cox nor Steve Simmons (the first two heads that would be carved into any mittenstringer Mount Rushmore) cracked the list reflects both our opening up of the award to nominations from across the nation and how truly brutal some of this year's work has been. David Staples' year of pleas for a billionaire to take his money didn't make it. Neither did Ian Mendes' legendary argument that Mats was about as good as Alfie if you just ignore all the evidence or logic. Nor did anything by Cathal Kelly but all of these writers can rest assured that their work has been caught our eye for future years.
Eric Francis, "Russian Star Has Lots of Maturing To Do"
Jonathan Kay, "Sorry Leaf Fans, No One Owes You an 'Apology'"
David Menzies, "You Can't Hide Behind The Gay Flag, Brian Burke"
Eric Reguly, "Beach Volleyball Brings Rousing Levity to the Olympics"
Tough year for guys named Eric!
We need your votes to help us pick the 2012 winner. Please vote once for the article you think is the worst. We'll consider the voting as one important variable in making our decision, but will also be borrowing a bit of Nate Silver's secret-sauce to help us choose the ultimate winner. Our own judgment, the mittenstringer's total body of work, and whether they've ever said they thought Keith Aucoin was just a career AHLer who shouldn't be centring Phil Kessel are also crucial factors.
Like Puffy or (or was it Marty York?) once said, Vote or Die!
RIP BURKIE DOGZ