Ok, maybe not for president. But if I were allowed to vote for the Seventh player award (which I'm not due to a minor home address technicality) Glen Metropolit would be my choice. For those who may not know, the seventh player award is meant for "the player who has gone above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans."
I must admit that when I first read that coach Julien wanted to invite Metropolit to training camp, citing his ability to fit into just about any situation, my first thought was, "Are we really that desperate?" Not that I knew anything about him, mind you, only that he sounded like some sort of malcontent, ne'er do well, or has-been. I mean, why didn't anyone offer the guy a contract?
Since then Metropolit has played his heart out for the Bruins, jumping into lines when players were injured, finding time on both the power play and penalty kill, and playing all-out all the time. He's played in every game this season, has 24 points to his credit, and is a healthy +5. But most telling of all, he leads the team in game winning goals (with 5).
Some may say that Tim Thomas deserves their vote again this year. But I knew Tim Thomas was going to be a great goaltender from his first half-season with the B's. And now, sure enough, he's an all-star. I think it's time we gave Timmy his due; for him this award is a back-handed compliment because it's really about how so many people have had such low expectations for him. It's time for that to end.
Phil Kessel? It's true that he impresses me with how he continues to improve his game. Given that the only assets he brought with him into his first NHL game were speed and a scoring touch, it's somewhat ironic that lately he's been winning the battles along the boards yet can't seem to find the net. In time that will come. This kid has a great future ahead of him--but I don't see his development as being "beyond the call" or above expectations.
P.J. Axelsson? Savvy Bruins fans have known for years that he's one of the most talented of the well rounded players in the league. It's true he's stepped it up again this year, but is that enough? Only fans who haven't been paying attention are going to consider this exceeding expectations.
I am sure the fan favorite is going to be Milan Lucic and he'll likely win. But this kid is destined for stardom. He made the young stars team and will be in the running for rookie of the year. While its true he's young and extraordinary, I don't think that's really what this award is about.
So that brings me back to Glen Metropolit. He plays every game like it's going to be his last, and has become a sort of Micheal Peca for the Bruins. There is no question in my mind that he deserves the award.
But there is one question left unanswered; one that has me scratching my head. Why didn't anyone offer this guy a contract last summer? I'll bet a few GM's are scratching their heads too, and maybe shaking them a bit as well.