Typically, the first thing we try to do in the monthly Northwest Division Awards is determine which of the group’s Canadian entries has been the best over the past 30 or 31 days.
Well, the Flames suffered through a nine-game losing streak in January, displayed chronic scoring amnesia and ended the month by cutting the cord with the guy who was supposed to be the cornerstone of the blue-line brigade for at least as long as Darryl Sutter was running the show.
Meanwhile, the Oilers were oh-for-2010 until the calendar flipped to February, and that’s all that really needs to be said about that.
The Canucks, on the other hand, were 10-2-1 in January and probably would have gotten the nod even if the two Alberta clubs hadn’t gone into rigor mortis during the month.
Due south, the Colorado (We’re Still Here) Avalanche were 7-5-0 during the past month while the Minnesota Wild treaded water to the tune of 7-6-1.
And now, let’s hand out some hardware . . .
MVP: In this case, the “V” stands for voluble as well as valuable. When he wasn’t busy doing the Oliver Stone conspiracy routine, waging war with national broadcasters and playing professional victim, Vancouver’s Alexandre Brurrows managed to score 15 goals in 13 games while riding shotgun with the Swedish Wonder Twins. He also had seven assists and was a plus-17.
Honourable mention: Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, Colorado’s Craig Anderson and Minnesota’s Guillaume Latendresse
LVP: Honestly, you could drop just any Oiler this side of Dr. Randy Gregg into this slot and you’d be in the ballpark. Let’s go with season-long whipping boy Shawn Horcoff, who had no goals and two assists in 11 games and was minus-6 for the month, which is actually only half as bad as teammate Ethan Moreau’s minus-12.
Dishonourable mention: Edmonton’s Sheldon Souray, Andrew Cogliano and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers
Quote of the month: You get hit so many times with a right, you’re begging for a left.
— Oilers head coach Pat Quinn
Stat of the month: When the Oilers and Flames met on Jan. 30, it was the first time in 22 years that two teams with losing streaks of at least nine games had gone head to head.
Individual stat of the month: Alex Burrows had four shorthanded goals in January, which is more tallies of any description that Todd Bertuzzi, Chris Drury, Ryan Getzlaf Phil Kessel, James Neal, Owen Nolan, Dustin Penner, Corey Perry, Tomas Plekanec, Derek Roy, Keith Tkachuk and Henrik Zetterberg managed during the month.