NHL Awards Tonight: Who takes home hardware and who goes home empty handed.
In this brief section, I have listed my winners of the major trophies this season. I had completely forgot the awards were tonight and need to apologize for not having the controversial conversation starter up earlier this week.
Selke- The traditional Datsyukian treasure will no longer be a part of the great Russians trophy case as this seasons award will be given to, Johnathan Toews. This kid is one of the premier players in this league and is constantly underrated. After a fantastic season last year which he was arguably the best forward in the Olympics and a Stanley Cup, Toews came out this season and played his game to perfection. He will never win the Art Ross, but he is one of the best two way forwards in the game. He led the league in take aways and was just flat out difficult to play against.
Runner-Up – Ryan Kesler, unfortunately for the second straight season. Paval Datsyuk, just wasn’t himself with all the injuries.
Snub – David Backes, an underrated two way player who in my opinion should have been nominated.
Actual winner - Ryan Kesler
Calder- The rookie of the year trophy is one that is always highly debated. Should the age of the rookies be cause for an edge, or the success of their team being a key part in the voting. Frankly, this is probably my only choice that will not cause anyone to take a double glance. I chose the San Jose Shark Logan Couture. He did not finish first in goals among rookies, nor did he finish first in points, however the young buck was a rock for San Jose this season when the big three were nowhere to be found. His play allowed for San Jose to stay in the hunt for a long period of time. His game winning goals and great all around composure make him my choice for the Calder Trophy.
Runners-Up – Skinner and Grabner.
Snub – None, these three were the perfect picks and I would not be upset if any of these three win.
Actual Winner - Jeff Skinner
Vezina- This was just a runaway, even with the great play of Rinne, Lundqvist, Price, Luongo, Fleury, ect… Tim Thomas broke the NHL record for save percentage, ranking him among the best in the league. This is the pure justification in why the Vezina was created. Tim Thomas was the best goaltender on the ice for the vast majority of this season, outshined on a few nights just to show that he is still human. Whether he played less than some, won less than some, took less shots than some, the only thing that really matters is statistics. He was first in save percentage and second in shutouts; which gives him the statistics for Vezina.
Runners-Up – Rinne and Loungo
Snub – Henrik Lundqvist , constantly overachieving with the personnel in front of him, led the league in shutouts.
Actual Winner - Tim Thomas
Jack Adams- With six or seven coaches eligible for this award this season I am going to go with my own bias and pick Dan Bylsma as the winner of the Jack Adams Trophy. Why? Bylsma has been one of the best coaches in the league since he entered just a few short years ago. This season the Penguins finished tied for 2nd in the east in points with 106, the second most in team history. They played through serious injuries all season, but more importantly, they played the same way all season. Whether it was coach Bylsma’s system or his way of keeping every player on his toes, the Pens overachieved this season. Dan has quickly become one of the best coaches in the league and even the players recognize this as he was voted the coach most players want to play for.
.Runners-Up – Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault. Both of these coaches had great seasons, but get
edged out by Bylsma.
Snub – Mike Babcock, constantly an amazing coach and it is shocking he hasn’t won this award yet.
Actual Winner - Dan Bylsma
Norris – Typically given to the defensemen that demonstrates exceptional play in either offensive or defensive play, this season there has been one defensemen that idealizes what a Norris Trophy winner should be. That man is Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. Shea had 48 points this season and was a plus 7, which is not typically a Norris candidates’ numbers, but to watch Shea was to see exactly why he should win this award. He is big, physical, a great leader, and a threat on offense with a booming shot. To me, Shea was the best all around defensemen in the game and deserves this award.
Runners-Up – Nicklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara
Snub – Mike Green, just kidding! Keith Yandle, the guy was all over the ice and a real threat on every play.
Actual winner - Nick Lidstrom
Hart – Corey Perry in my opinion is the Hart trophy winner this season. His Rocket Richard trophy is nice, but finishing first in game winning goals, two in overtime, over 22 minutes played every night just shows how much he meant to his team. When his team was down and many counted them out, Perry turned on his game and made most of the Western Conference look silly. While both Sedin and St.Louis had amazing seasons, Perry had the more impressive season. I believe that D. Sedin will end up taking home the trophy, but Perry (in my opinion) should be.
Runners-Up – Daniel Sedin, Martin St.Louis
Snub – Tim Thomas. He was (in my opinion) the most valuable player to any club this season.
Actual Winner - Corey Perry
It was a fantastic night at the awards show. Between cheesy jokes and bad music, the true NHL spirit was shared when the trophies were handed out. Lidstrom won his 7th Norris, Perry won his first Hart in the biggest suprise of the night, Thomas won the Vezina in a landslide, Skinner's amazing season ends with a Calder, and Dan Bylsma wins coach of the year. While some of the presentations were actually hard to sit through and a pair of old skanks from So.Cal. butchered Marty St.Louis' name, it was great to see our players on the big stage in Las Vegas. Up next, the draft. Can't wait for the excitement of draft day and free agency. Congratulations to all of the winners.