After each week during the regular season, Wild.com, along with our friends from Dairy Queen, asked fans to pick the Top Play from each week. So how do we figure out the best of the best? A fan vote in a winner-take-all-style bracket. Well, after collecting two days of votes from you the fans, the Round 1 results are in with 16 teams remaining to fight for the title of Top Play of the Year. Round 2 voting will open on Tuesday, May 26. Check out a PDF of the updated bracket, here. Round 2 voting will open on Monday, June 2.
Here are the results of Round 1 (percentage of votes in parenthesis):
Nino’s Nifty (82.4) defeats Nifty Nino Backhand
Nino Shortie (60.7) defeats Nino Storm Chaser
Nino Niederreiter had the most entries in the tournament this year with six sweet plays. He had so many moves, they spilled over into two sections of his namesake bracket. In the battle of the nifty, Nino’s Nifty rolled to an easy win over Nifty Nino Backhand. In the next round, it will be up against a shorthanded effort against Pittsburgh with Nino Shortie blowing past Nino Storm Chaser.
Nino’s Second Effort (55.3) defeats Smooth Reiter
Pommer Pick-and-Pop (58.5) defeats Tic-Tac-Pom
In the lower half of the bracket fans enjoyed the extra exertion, as Nino’s Second Effort takes down the Smooth Reiter. Meeting that play in the next round will be another second-effort play, as Jason Pominville loses his stick and then picks it back up for the Pommer Pick-and-Pop, which defeated the pretty passing play Tic-Tac-Pom
Parise Hand-Tie Coordination (88.7) defeats Too Parise
Third Time’s A Parise (63.9) defeats Schroeder Backhand Shelf
Zach Parise is known for his dogged work, so we’ve rewarded him with his own bracket. In the top half there would be no draws, as Parise Hand-Tie Coordination made it look easy, topping Too Parise. Again, fan vote shows they appreciate second effort, and in this case third, as Third Time’s A Parise takes down Schroeder Backhand Shelf.
Granlund No-Look To Parise (62.3) defeats Gran-Hands
Spin-o-Marco (82.2) defeats Speed Stew
Parise’s line mate, Mikael Granlund, enters the second round by setting him up. Granlund No-Look To Parise tops the individual effort of Gran-Hands. In another astounding individual effort play, Spin-o-Marco skates circles around Speed Stew — our first defenseman to make an appearance and win in Round 1.
Handle With Koivu (56.4) defeats Koiv-er Time
Back Door Zucker (61.3) defeats Killer Koivu
Wild Captain Mikko Koivu has had some impressive assists in his career with the Wild, but it was his scoring touch that got him a bracket this season. The Finn takes a nice feed from Thomas Vanek for a one-timer on Handle With Koivu, which beat his OT winner in Calgary, Koiv-er Time. However, it is a speedster going to the net knocking out the veteran in the next play, as Jason Zucker puts home a pass from Charlie Coyle on Back Door Zucker, knocking off Killer Koivu.
Zucker Shortie (60.9) defeats Zucker Late Shift
Mission Impossi-Coyle (62.7) defeats Mighty Zucks
The Las Vegas product stays hot in the next matchup, as his shorthanded goal, Zucker Shortie, beats out Zucker Late Shift. Coyle is back, but this time takes down his buddy with Mission Impossi-Coyle beating out Mighty Zucks.
Brodin Stick Save (66.4) defeats Brodin Quick Stick
Kuem-Paddle (62.5) defeats Handy Man Prosser
They say that the posts are a goalies best friend, but often times it’s their defensemen. Jonas Brodin shows he’s pretty good at last-minute stops, Brodin Stick Save against LA beats Broding Quick Stick against Colorado. In a last resort, Darcy Kuemper’s lunging stop, Kuemp-Paddle, overtakes a quick-thinking save from blueliner Nate Prosser, Handy Man Prosser.
Dubnykick (56.8) defeats Poke Dubnyk
Mile High Duby (70.8) defeats Nyk Of Time
Finally, Devan Dubnyk had a number of big saves after joining the Wild mid-season. Facing his old team Arizona, Dubnykick edges Poke Dubnyk. In the last matchup, the mind-bending stop of Mile High Duby rolls over Nyk Of Time. We’re starting to think that fans also enjoy picking the best puns as well as the best plays.