Rick Nash threw a curveball during Game 6’s Broadway Hat ceremony. As the one-man selection committee, he placed New York’s celebratory fedora in the hands of Henrik Lundqvist. While its recipients aren’t always obvious, I felt Derick Brassard (who is being labeled a hero around the internet) should have received this accolade. Being overlooked by leadership qualities and locker room trends isn’t a positive message to send teammates on the verge of elimination.
To cut Nash some slack, he probably engaged that thought process because of Coach Alain Vigneault’s Center Ice Challenge. On Tuesday morning, Vigneault presented Brassard and Derek Stepan with a challenge to enhance their respective “A” games before puck drop. When you take Derick Brassard’s playoff statistics into account, it’s no surprise that 16 delivered with flying colors. What’s surprising is that Alain Vigneault actually thought Brass needed a pep talk. Aside from penalty minutes, I didn’t see any cause for concern regarding our resident “Brassgod’s” prior outings. Some would even argue that he was the only Blueshirt, aside from Lundqvist, “showing up” to these important exhibition matchups at a consistent basis.
Maybe I’m wrong for feeling this emergency meeting ultimately resulted in Derick Brassard’s effort appearing disingenuous. But what other excuses are there to not don him with the Broadway Hat? Coach Vigneault is currently being viewed responsible for igniting Brassard’s passion. Yet, it’s always been there. He’s a talented individual that shouldn’t have been bypassed following an incredible performance. An achievement that will be remembered for decades to come. Hat Tricks are hard to execute in the National Hockey League. It’s even harder to rewrite history with them. Brassard did both Tuesday night and has nothing but a video montage to show for it: