Team MVPI'll start by going through the awards that the team did hand out before moving on to my own. Personally I felt that Thomas Vanek deserved team MVP way more than Ryan Miller did, but then that got me thinking. Obviously if you take either of those two players out of the lineup, the team likely doesn't make the playoffs. There are many facets to the Sabres, and I don't think any one player rises too far above the rest (except for Rob Niedermayer). Thus my 2011 Sabres MVP is Lindy Ruff. Sure, sometimes it looked like it was with spit and bubblegum, but give the guy credit for holding everything together and never giving in to despair.
Unsung HeroAgain, with all due respect to Cody McCormick, I'm going in a different direction with this. I don't feel that McCormick was particularly unsung since there are a lot of people that love him. I am going to split this between two players who elevated their games down the stretch and put up not only big minutes, but quality minutes when it counted. My Unsung Heros are Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler.
Goal of the YearThere were several good choices for this category. Vanek's OT winners against Washington and Philadelphia, Staffords OT winner versus Minnesota, and Myers' blast to beat Vokoun, but there was one goal that made my ask, "did that just happen? That just happened...right...?"
Moment of the Year
It was early November, the Sabres had yet to win at home, and Thomas Vanek had "screwed up" a play in overtime against the Rangers that was in actuality a great setup to Derek Roy that the latter completely biffed. But due to their contracts Vanek got almost all of the blame. At that same time, I had been trying to decide whose jersey to get as a birthday present to myself when I headed to the arena. After seeing the mind-numbingly stupid ire that was directed towards Vanek, I finally figured, fuck everyone, I'm getting a Vanek jersey. And then he did this...
Shift of the Year
Nathan Gerbe is literally FUCKING EVERYWHERE!
Goaltending Performance of the Year
The number of shots may have been low, but plucky Jhonas Enroth came up big time and time again against the New York Rangers.
The Oh Jesus... Award