Editor's Note: The NHL and it's hangers on relentlessly go through waves of trying to rename everything associated with hockey. After the passing of Jean Beliveau, the idea was floated to honour Le Gros Bill by renaming the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Colby Cosh actually had a pretty fantastic piece about the topic and the true solution to the cries that people just don't know why the names are important.
The NHL has also re-launched their stats website with the help of SAP and have diminished the legacy of Tim Barnes who named Corsi after Jim Corsi, the Sabres goalie coach, and Fenwick which is named after fellow Queen's alum Matt Fenwick by giving them the new but only partially descriptive names of Shot Attempts and Unblocked Shot Attempts. They've also just re-named the divisions which ended up with often nonsensical names at the expense of former giants of ownership like Conn Smythe. The brighter aspect of this incessant desire to overwrite history and ignore the value of history and continuity in favour of pursuing what is more marketable and amenable to the disinterested masses is that there is now a reason to publish this fantastic post from the archives of Zambonic Youth about what's really in a name.
MF37: I woke up one day this week and Glenn Healy was on my radio.
Kim Jorn: Worst Sopranos episode ever.
Godd Till: Not sure what's worse, a horse's head in your bed or a horse's ass on the radio?
MF37: Wait, it gets worse: he was taking calls from the public.
I hate radio phone-in shows. At least 90% of calls are asinine. Anyone who calls a radio personality with an idea for a hockey trade should be forced to go on a cross country drive stuck in the middle seat between Rosie DiManno and Michael Coren.
Godd Till: Or between Jim Hughson and Roberto Luongo.
MF37: Healy was using his air time to push the idea of renaming the NHL Trophies. He wants to see the trophies named after players who are synonymous with the type of play being rewarded rather than having trophies named for builders, former GMs and the men who donated the hardware.
I don't mean to be the cranky old guy, but I have a real problem with this.
The NHL has an amazingly rich history and rather than ignore it or raze it, I think the League should work harder to celebrate it.
If you're going to rename trophies donated by or named after people outside of the game (Lady Byng, Art Ross, Lester B. Pearson) what's to stop the Stanley Cup from becoming the Montreal Canadiens Cup? After all, they've won it 24 times and are the oldest franchise in the NHL.
Kim Jorn: Woah. Take a deep breath. Let's not get crazy here. There have actually been some suggestions for the new trophy names:
Hart (most valuable player) - Gordie Howe.
Art Ross (most points) - Wayne Gretzky.
Calder (top rookie) - Mario Lemieux.
James Norris (top defenceman) - Bobby Orr.
Lady Byng (most gentlemanly player) - Jean Beliveau.
Jack Adams (coach of the year) - Scotty Bowman.
I'm usually a smash-the-state kinda guy, but this makes no sense to me.
Most of these old dead white guys actually deserve to have their names on these trophies.
The Lady Byng one strikes me as really odd; Jean Beliveau never won that trophy during his career. Unless, of course, the Lady Byng is now a lifetime achievement award for not going into the corners.
If Healy succeeds here, I'm afraid it may be the start of a slippery slope. Tradition will mean nothing. Why not rename everything to reflect more current events and relevant people?
The Canadian Provinces have been using the same names for more than 100 years. Why not name them after the most important people and events of recent years? It will be more confusing than the old CFL when Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec all change their names to Wendelopia.
Tillandjornistan is definitely an improvement on British Columbia though.
GT: Naming BC after us is like taking a Leafs legend and naming a terrible franchise with a crappy donut selection and awful, awful (real authentic lattes???) commercials after him.
And I understand you guys wanting to keep the history of the old trophies. Honouring the best defenceman in the league just wouldn't be the same if it didn't carry the hallowed name of legendary skinflint and union-buster Jim Norris, the guy who busted Ted Lindsay down to the last place team in the league for daring to talk about his rights.
Just as a good defencemen controls the game, he illegally controlled half the teams in the league, likely using two (CHI and NY) to grow cattle for one (Detroit, your cups are tainted!). Brings a tear to my eye.
KJ: Typical wingnuttery from the left coast, but feel free to set the bar way up there at the top of yer ivory tower.
MF37: If anything, the NHL awards (and the Canadian provinces) will become corporately sponsored:
The Tim Horton's Strawberry Sensation* (Norris)
The Disney Cup (replacing the Conn Smythe)
Aeroplan Points (Art Ross)
Osh-Kosh Rookie of the Year (Calder)
*Tim Horton's has the right to change the name of the trophy annually to cross-promote their most recent food or drink special.
KJ: I can already picture Carey Price hoisting the Craven A Goalkeeper of the Year award over his head. People living in the province of Exxon Mobile will probably argue that Kiprusoff should have won it.
MF37: One good thing that could come from Healy's suggestion is the creation of new trophies for long-neglected categories.
To recognize Healy's, um, tremendous contribution to the game, the League should introduce the Healy Cup a trophy for the back-up goalie on the Stanley Cup winning team.
GT: Since the Jack Adams is almost always given to a coach who's receiving credit for a team's sudden improvement, what about the Paul Maurice Award for the coach who's had the least to do with his team's success? This one doesn't have to be given annually, maybe twice every nine years or so.
MF37: The Lester B. Pearson award goes to the most outstanding regular season performer, as voted by the players. I think the league should introduce a trophy for a player who consistently has a terrible regular season, yet somehow manages to stay in the league - perhaps the Andrew Raycroft or the Patrik Stefan Trophy?
KJ: I'm not thrilled with the proposed new names for the existing trophies.
Changing the name of the Hart Trophy to the Gordie Howe seems like a bit of an insult to Wayne Gretzky.
Gretzky won it nine times, eight of them in a row. No one has dominated the MVP award in their sport like Gretzky, with the exception of Barry Bonds.
You simply have to name the Hart after the Great One.
MF37: I always like the name of the Hart trophy as it's a homonym with "Heart" but I may be alone in that. The Hart Trophy should be renamed the Gretzky.
GT: The Hart Trophy as the Gretzky is a no-brainer.
Also a no-brainer? Re-naming the Art Ross.
I'm picturing a guy who scored a lot of goals. More than anyone. But also, someone with the vision to rack up a lot of assists too. A great all around offensive talent.
The easiest way to do this would be to give it to either the person who lead the league in scoring most often, or the all-time leading point getter.
Anyone wanna go over to Hockey Reference and figure this one out?
That's right, The Wayne Gretzky Award.
The guy holds the records for all-time goals, assists and points. He won the trophy Ten Times. Jaromir Jagr and Lemieux each won six. It's not even close.
MF37: What about the Jaromir Lemieux or Mario Jagr? They combined to win it twelve times...yeah, that's not going to work is it.
I think Gretzky is not only the safe choice, it's the right choice.
KJ: The Lady Byng is the one that most people would like to see re-named, I don't think it's a trophy that many NHLers even want to win.
KJ: It's crazy that the leading contender for this is the Jean Beliveau award. The dude didn't win the trophy once. But you know who did? That's right, Wayne Gretzky. Guy won it a record five times.
I say the Lady Byng gets renamed the Wayne Gretzky Trophy.
MF37: Gretzky won it more than any other player, he's apparently a gentleman, I can't see a downside here.
Lady Byng Memorial is now the Gretzky.
Next up: the Calder Trophy.
Why is it the NHL's best rookie is given a trophy named after an American artist who made his name in France and is famous for creating the mobile? Makes no sense, it's time for a change.
GT: This is the first trophy we've discussed today that Wayne Gretzky never won.
KJ: But he should have won it. Scored 137 points but was somehow ruled ineligible. Ray Borque won it.
MF37: And 19 years later, Borque would inexplicably win out over Gretzky again. Taking the shootout for Canada at Nagano while Gretzky sat on the bench.
I think we need to right both of these wrongs.
It's always bugged me that the NHL changed the rules on this one to make Gretzky ineligible, yet Makarov won it as a 31 year old who'd played decades of "professional" hockey in Russia.
GT: Twenty-years later, the NHL can step-up and fix this and the best way is by re-naming the Calder trophy the Wayne Gretzky.
MF37: Jack Adams was a player, a GM and a coach. He won the Cup three times with the Detroit Red Wings but was barely .500 behind the bench.
If you're going to give out a trophy for coaching, I think there are better names out there.
KJ: They've proposed the Scott Bowman
GT: This is hockey, shouldn't it be the Scotty Bowman?
MF37: There are a host of great coaches this one could be named after. Quite a few coaches have won it more than once.
KJ: You know how Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize as a symbol of encouragement to achieve great things? Renaming the Jack Adams the Wayne Gretzky is just the kind of push the Great One's promising coaching career deserves.
The Jack Adams should be The Gretzky.
GT: What about the Conn Smythe? Richly ironic that the trophy for playoff MVP is so Toronto Maple Leafs centric. Plenty of people could argue that it's time for a change.
MF37: The Conn Smythe trophy is a replica of Maple Leaf Gardens. Loblaw is turning the old shrine into a grocery store. To stay on theme, Bettman's either going to pull a Gaelen Weston and put on his best argyle Christmas sweater when presenting the Conn Smythe or he going to have to start selling frozen hors' dourves out of the trophy base.
GT: Don Cherry would like you all to know that the Conn Smythe has been won by a good Canadian boy 31 out of the 34 times it's been awarded. And when I think of playoff success, I think of players who made their team better - because the playoffs are all about winning as a team. Did anyone make their teammates better than Wayne Gretzky? This is the Wayne Gretzky Trophy
KJ: I guess that just leaves the Norris.
MF37: For the best defender. Bobby Orr was a great player and all, but isn't the best defence a good offence? And who generated more offence than the Great One?
GT: I can think of no logical flaw in this argument whatsoever. The Gretzky?
KJ: So to sum up -
Hart (most valuable player) - Gretzky Award
Art Ross (most points) - Wayne Gretzky Award.
Calder (top rookie) - The Wayne Gretzky Trophy
James Norris (top defenceman) - The Gretzky Trophy
Lady Byng (most gentlemanly player) - The Wayne D. Gretzky Trophy
Jack Adams (coach of the year) - The Wayne Douglas Gretzky Award