Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Handing out NHL awards

By Jeff

Let's start off by recognizing how stupid it is that the NHL has an awards ceremony. I don't get it. Awards shows are lame and I'm not a big fan of making a showcase of individual awards in a team sport. Players deserve to be recognized for their contributions, but a whole show based around it? These are hockey players, not actors. Make an announcement, let the sports media report on it and be done with it.

With that being said, here are my awards for the season.

Hart Trophy (MVP): Corey Perry

Daniel Sedin wouldn't even be in my top 3, as I think Martin St. Louis and Tim Thomas were more instrumental in their teams' success. Nothing against Sedin, but this award is supposed to go to the player who was the most valuable to his team, not the player who scored the most points in the league.

The Anaheim Ducks don't make the playoffs this year without Perry. He was phenomenal in the second half on his way to lead the league in goals with 50. What's most important about those 50 goals is 11 of them were game winners, which was tied for first in the NHL with Alexander Ovechkin.
"Daniel who!?!"

The team lost their top center for more than a month and were without their top goalie down the stretch. Perry put the team on his back and not only led them to the playoffs, but the No. 4 seed and home-ice for the first round.

If the Vancouver Canucks didn't have Daniel Sedin, they'd still make the playoffs. They would miss his 104 points, but players like Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Alexander Burrows would have led the team to the playoffs. They were never on the bubble like the Ducks.

Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie): Tim Thomas

Thomas only played 57 games, but he was great in most of them. As important as Marc-Andre Fleury was to the Pittsburgh Penguins once Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin went down, he was terrible for six weeks. Thomas was consistently the top goalie in the league throughout the season.

Calder Trophy (Best Rookie): Michael Grabner

Despite being stuck on a team filled with underachievers and goons, Graber had an amazing season for the New York Islanders. He had 34 goals and only two of them were on the power play, while six were of the shorthanded variety. Grabner's discipline also has to be praised. On a team that would stop playing hockey and goon it up some games, Grabner only had 10 minutes in the penalty box. Logan Couture will probably win it because he was a big contributor on a playoff team, but Grabner shouldn't be punished for playing with a bunch of tools in the league's worst arena.

Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman): Nicklas "Norris" Lidstrom

This award has recently become about what defenseman has the best offensive season, and not so much about the best all-around player at the position. That's why you get people like Mike Green as finalists for this award the last few years. What a joke.

Anyway, despite a minus-2 rating for the season, Lidstrom was tremendous this year. The Detroit Red Wings were hurt all season, but he was Mr. Dependable, playing in all 82 games and leading the Wings to the No. 3 seed in the West. As much as I dislike the Red Wings, there is no denying Lidstrom's talent and superiority at the position.

Jack Adams (Best Coach): Dan Bylsma

I went over this in a previous post. This should be the most obvious choice of all the awards. Take the two best players, one of whom is a the captain, away from their teams at the same time for half the season and tell me you think they would make the playoffs. That's like taking the Sedin twins away from Vancouver, Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg from the Red Wings, Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom from the  Washington Capitals, etc. Bylsma had to deal with it and tied for the Atlantic Division lead. Enough said.

Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward): Ryan Kesler

The way the Selke works is that a first-time finalist never wins it. Kesler was a finalist last year, and the man who beat him (Pavel Datsyuk) isn't in the running. Kesler will win. He also deserves it.

Lady Byng (Nice Guy): Martin St. Louis

OK, this goes to the player who displayed the best sportsmanship while playing at a high level. When you think about it, the Lady Byng is a commendable award. You want players to be recognized for playing the game the right way and not being dirty or tools (Maybe it should be called the Anti-Ovechkin).

If we don't rename it after Ovechkin, it should be renamed after St. Louis. The little guy play great, fast hockey, yet only has 12 minutes in the box. For someone playing 21 minutes a night, that is nuts. Maybe he is just really sneaky with foul play, but I doubt it. You also never see him perform and silly celebration after a goal. St. Louis pumps his fist, hugs his teammates, and gets ready to play more hockey.

The other awards are silly, so I'm not going to bother with them.

Playoffs start tomorrow.

The Who - Summertime Blues

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