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NHL Awards: My Picks

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New Puck Daddy: Next year’s training camp starts the second your team is eliminated from playoffs.

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I realize it’s a little pre-mature – there are still a couple games left in the NHL regular season, after all – but I feel like doing my NHL Awards picks today.

I mean, if Daniel Sedin or Corey Perry mix in an Ovechtrick in the final couple games, I reserve the right to change my opinion.  But in the meantime…..

Hart Trophy: I really, really, don’t want to give the Hart Trophy to Corey Perry.  I find him obnoxious, like most people who aren’t Ducks fans.  He wasn’t even a part of the discussion until, oh I dunno, three weeks ago.

I don't Hart him, even though I did.

I love the double-Sedin story. 

I don’t think he’s had it so rough with having Getzlaf and Ryan as linemates – even when Getzlaf was hurt for like, 15-20 games, who filled in, like, sixth-overall-in-scoring Teemu Selanne?  If you put every line out there and held a draft, his would go number one, not the Sedins.  I realize Sedin has his brother, but just so everybody knows, Alex Burrows isn’t actually all that awesome.  He’s a second-liner on most other teams, he just provides the right mix for the two of them.  They create that danger between the two of them.

But still, the issue of “value” to a team – a question I hate, and wish we were debating player of the year – leaves me with no choice.  I don’t think the Ducks make the playoffs without Corey Perry.  Without Daniel, the Canucks probably still fight for home ice.    Hence, more value.

In the end, I’ve been swayed by the Perry advocates on twitter.  I’m gonna do it…. Here goes….  …..fuck.

Corey Perry

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Norris Trophy: If we swapped namebars on Keith Yandle and Nick Lidstrom, the Phoenix player would win the Norris.  And that’s fine – Lidstrom has earned that respect.

No rrisk in picking this guy. (eff that's bad)

Still, I’ve watched too much Keith Yandle this year to think he doesn’t deserve it.  If he were on the Red Wings, he would’ve put up a lot more points.  The Coyotes have scored 30 less goals than the Red Wings this year, and the only reason the Yotes have that many is thanks to him.  With two games left in the season, he’s leading the Coyotes in overall points, one short of 60.

So, as much as I love the 41 year old Norris story, for me, it goes to Keith Yandle and his great decision-making.

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Vezina Trophy: Obviously, the first name that comes to mind is Tim Thomas, and when it comes to these awards, I have no interest in being a contrarian.  But I don’t think he’s had the best season of a goalie in the NHL.  I think Henrik Lundqvist has.

I refuse to waste any more time thinking of a Vezina pun.

Tim Thomas is playing behind one of the best defensive teams in the league – Lundqvist, not so much.  He’s been rested 10 more times than Lundqvist, appearing in only 56 of 80 games thus far.  Of course, he’s has been flat-out terrific as well.  This is no easy call.

But without Lundqvist and his .923 save percentage and 2.27 goals against average (on an eighth place team), I think the Rangers are screwed.  In my opinion, he’s done more for his team than any other goalie in the league.

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Selke Trophy: The five names that come up when I think of this award: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, and dark horse Frans Neilsen.  All would be deserving.

Selke smooth defender. ...kay that made no sense.

For me, this is the most basic concept for an award – just best defensive player.  Forget whatever else it is they do.

And of all those names, I think that best applies to Patrice Bergeron.  He’s an extremely smart player, and you can count on him not flying the zone early when you need him most.  Gotta like your odds in the final minute of a close game when he’s out there shutting opponents down.

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And last but not least….

This race for this award? You coulda Calder in January.

Calder Trophy: I agree with those who say age should have nothing to do with this award.  If you qualify as a rookie under the NHL’s qualifications, you’re just as eligible to win it (as in, Couture vs. Skinner).  That said, I still think Skinner has had a better rookie year.

He plays on a Carolina, a team that doesn’t get nearly the attention of the Sharks, which works against him.  It’s also been harder for him because he doesn’t have as much in the way of offensive help.  He led all rookies in points, including reaching the 30 goal plateau.  It’s just too much to deny the kid the award.  Jeff Skinner has my vote.

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UPDATE: I forgot…

Jack Adams:  I’ll be short and sweet on this one – if you ask people to pick their top three nominess for this award, every single person has Dan Bylsma and two other people – the other ones change, but Bylsma’s always in there.  The Pens just had too much success despite losing what everyone assumed to be the reasons that their team won to not give it to him.

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Feel free to let me know what you think.  Hope everyone is enjoying the first day of the Masters – lord knows I am!

Comments

15 Responses to “NHL Awards: My Picks”
  1. Ruestow says:

    Nice post, what about the Jack Adams?

  2. talkendo says:

    What? You didn’t even MENTION Corey Calde…I mean Crawford?

  3. Matt says:

    Love the Calder pun.

    Is “rissk? supposed to have 2 s’s in the Norris one?

  4. Heather says:

    Hilariously, I agree with only one of your picks. I say “hilariously” because though I’m a Canes fan, I’m by no means a homer and consider myself first and foremost a HOCKEY fan. Yet…the one I agree with is the Calder :) This kid is just outrageous. When he takes those skates to 10 and 2, he can do just about anything.

    I live about five doors down the hall from Skinner and after last night’s game, I was just itching to put a picture of him on his apartment door with an LOL caption “I can haz Calder nao plz?”

    But for the sake of disagreement, here are my other choices:

    Hart – One of the Sedins. I don’t care which one. No one knows the difference anyway. (I kid. Daniel.)
    Norris – Lidstrom all day, every day.
    Vezina – Thomas. To watch him in the crease from the overhead angle is pure joy.
    Selke – Datsyuk

  5. jtbourne says:

    Ha, I guess it’s not spelled Noriss huh? Fixed it.

  6. Steve C. says:

    Nobody likes Perry…unless he’s on your team.

  7. Andy says:

    Justin: What happens when you meet Corey Perry in person after he has read your blog? C’mon he isn’t Avery or Cooke. If u dislike him that much vote for Sedin despite the 50 goals.

  8. Derek says:

    I agree with you on Perry, Yandle, Bylsma and Bergeron. I think I agree with you on Lundqvist, now that I think about it. I had just been operating under the assumption it was going to Thomas, and hadn’t even considered anyone else. I disagree on the Couture versus Skinner. I think its gotta be Couture, based on the role he plays for the Sharks versus the role Skinner plays for the Canes. Couture gets more even strength ice time, he actually kills penalties and doesn’t get the powerplay time Skinner gets. Skinner has nice numbers, but I think it is partly due to the weaker conference, weaker opposition he plays against (as most teams top defensive forwards will play against Staal), and his powerplay time. He’s basically just asked for depth scoring. Couture on the other hand has to play tougher minutes(6th on Sharks in Offensive Zone starts, versus Skinner starts in the Offensive Zone most on the Canes), he blocks twice as many shots, he is great on draws (52% versus 36%), and Couture was the best player on the Sharks for an extended stretch. Without Couture, they would not be where they are, where I think Skinner has had less impact on the Hurricanes. I think those extra factors more than make up for a 5 point difference.

    Also enjoyable: the PD commenter on today’s post about how much you hate the Isles. I’m pretty sure you’ve stated on many occasions that you are basically an Isles fan. Not sure how you are biased against them.

  9. VagabondJim says:

    Even with the injury ending his season a tad early, Anze Kopitar deserves to be included in the Selke discussion. He’s as solid of a young, two-way forward as you’ll find in the league today.

    (And, let’s pronounce it correctly: “Ahn-jay” not “Ahn-zee”.)

  10. Mark says:

    I agree with Lundqvist for the Vezina. Thomas has been incredible, but still, 10th in wins, 16th in starts. The guy has played nearly 11 hours less hockey this year than Lundqvist. That’s a lot of hockey.

  11. Dave K says:

    No love for the Lady Byng? Poor award. Worst name in hockey. If it was the “Wayne Gretzky Award of Not Being a Jerk” I bet a few more guys would want it.

  12. kentry says:

    what about Pekka Rinne and the Predators who, year in year out, continue to not get the love they deserve. I believe no goalie has been better for his team than Pekka Rinne!! He is the single reason the predators are in the playoffs. They never have a prolific scoring team and are always relying on their goaltender. I also believe Barry Trotz should get some consideration for the Jack Adams award. The injuries have piled up for the preds this season and all Barry Trotz has done is to prove his worth by putting together a team and lines from younger AHL players called up to replace the injured players.

  13. beitz says:

    I know I’m a total homer, but I think the JA has to go to Vigneault. Bylsma has done something special there in Pittsburgh, but they still have Fleury, Letang, Staal, Kunitz, and just look at the talent they brought in through trades.

    The Canucks have dressed more players than any other team, including 13 different D (tonight, their 82nd game, will be the first time this season their top 6 are together). They are the only team near the top of the man-games missed to be in a playoff spot, and they not only have competed, they took the President’s Trophy and the Jennings! That is unbelievable.

    Also, Perry’s a douche, but I agree with your call… I’d much rather see it go to Daniel though.

    And I can’t see Lundqvist getting the Vezina if the Rangers don’t make the playoffs, personally.

  14. Dawn says:

    Juuuuustiiiiinnnnn…. c’mon now…..without FLEURY , the PENS don’t make the playoffs; that’s more amazing than what Perry did for the Ducks…. and ( re the Canucks) the Pens’ top 6 NEVER got together……. Hart for the Flower, please!

  15. Richie says:

    Sorry Dawn but you’re smoking crack if you think Fleury’s the best goalie in the league this year. Simply put , switch him with Lundqvist and Rangers are a lottery team and Pittsburgh challenges for conference title, that’s how much more clutch Lundqvist has been this year. You forget how much Brent Johnson’s contributed to the Pens season and how little depth is behind Lundqvist…Chad freaking Johnson!
    For completeness I’ll also point out Thomas had the luxury of Rask when he needed a rest.

    That is all.

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