Thoughts on Everett’s all-star and awards snub

I’m not a homer. I make a deliberate attempt to be as objective as possible in my reporting on the Silvertips. But I’m going to go on a bit of a rant here.

The WHL released its all-conference teams and awards nominees today, and despite Everett winning the U.S. Division there is ZERO Silvertips presence. Zip. Nada. Not a single first- or second-team all-conference selection, not a single award nominee.

That’s ridiculous.

I don’t want to say anything negative about any of the selections or nominees, because I’m sure they’re all deserving. But the fact Everett was snubbed completely just makes no sense to me.

Let’s start with the all-star selections. I can somewhat understand Everett being left out. Everett didn’t really have a superstar. Nikita Scherbak, Everett’s leading scorer, didn’t score more points than any the six forwards selected (and wasn’t even named Everett’s MVP), and the four defensemen are all terrific players. But Kelowna’s Josh Morrissey played a grand total of 20 games in the Western Conference this season. Everett’s defense allowed the second-fewest goals in the league. You’d think that might warrant a little recognition for someone like Ben Betker or Noah Juulsen.

What about award nominees? I figured Kohl Bauml would warrant at least some consideration for Sportsmanlike Player of the Year. Kelowna’s Rourke Chartier had a very sportsmanlike season, accruing just 18 penalty minutes in 58 games. Well, Bauml also had just 18 penalty minutes, but he did that in 13 more games. Plus he’s the overage captain of the team that had the fewest penalty minutes in the conference.

But I can live with all that. However, if Everett truly didn’t have a player worthy of an all-star selection or an award nomination, doesn’t that say something about the coaching? In my opinion Kevin Constantine and his staff did a phenomenal job this season. A legitimate grade-A performance. This is an Everett team that, at least based on the opinions of NHL scouts and GMs, wasn’t very talented. Yet the Tips won the division, holding off a Portland team gushing in NHL draft picks, and we saw an across-the-board improvement in Everett players over the course of the season. If that combination doesn’t point toward great coaching, I don’t know what does.

But was Constantine nominated for Coach of the Year? Nope. He lost out to Kelowna’s Dan Lambert, a coach who inherited a championship-caliber team, added two first-round NHL draft picks during the season via trade, and finished with six fewer points than last season.

Ultimately none of this really means anything. But I thought someone needed to point out that even though it wasn’t recognized by the league at all, Everett had some people doing exceptional stuff this season, too.

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