Friday, June 23, 2006

NHL Awards

The NHL award winners have been announced. Here were the players I would have voted for and here were my comments when the award nominees were announced.

Adams Trophy - Lindy Buff Buffalo Sabres . I knew my pick of Jacques Lemaire had no chance to win, because this award goes to the coach of the most improved team. I expected it would go to Peter Laviolette of Carolina, because his team won its division and the other nominees teams did not, but Ruff is as deserving a choice as any of the nominees considering the method used by voters to pick a winner.

Calder Trophy - Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals . No suprise here. He and Sidney Crosby should go on to great careers, but Ovechkin's rookie season was the better (probably in part because he was older).

Selke Trophy - Rod Brind'Amour Carolina Hurricanes . Rod Brind'Amour´winning didn't suprise anyone either.

Lady Byng Trophy - Pavel Datsyuk Detroit Red Wings . Again, I picked him and expected he would win, though it was less of an obvious pick as Brind'Amour or Ovechkin.

Norris Trophy - Nicklas Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings . His fourth and well deserved. He should have been a Hart trophy nominee as well.

Vezina Trophy - Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames . Not a suprising pick since he was a Hart nominee.

Pearson Award - Jaromir Jagr New York Rangers .

Hart Trophy - Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks . I picked Jagr as the player deserving these two awards, however I expected that his better finish would make Joe Thornton the actual winner. The players picked Jagr as their MVP, the writers picked Thornton. Who was more correct? Off the top of my head, I would think the players should have a better feel for who is their MVP if they played the opposing teams enough, but with the unbalanced schedule there are some players who never even played against one of these two players this season.

Masterton Trophy - Teemu Selanne Anaheim Mighty Ducks . This trophy was basically used as a comeback of the year award, which wasn't its intended purpose. Selanne did have the comeback of the year, but I think Patrik Elias should have won, however he failed to even receive the New jersey Devils nomination.

Clancy Trophy - Olaf Kolzig Washington Capitals . I have never spent much time checking into NHL players charity work, so I really cannot voice much of an opinion

First All Star Team - Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames, Nickals Lidstrom Detroit Red Wings, Scott Niedermayer Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Joe Thornton San Jose Sharks, Jaromir Jagr New York Rangers, Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals I would have picked Sergei Zubov over Niedermayer for the second defnesive spot, but aside from that I agree.

Second All Star Team - Martin Brodeur New Jersey Devils, Zdeno Chara Ottawa Senators, Sergei Zubov Dallas Stars, Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes, Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators, Dany Heatley Ottawa Senators. I think Martin Brodeur was picked for his legacy as a great goalie and not what he did this season. Tomas Vokoun of Nashville would have been a better pick. On defence I had Scott Niedermayer here instead of Sergei Zubov and I had the other Sens defenceman Wade Redden in place of Zdeno Chara.

All Rookie Team - Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers, Andrei Meszaros Ottawa Senators, Dion Phaneuf Calgary Flames, Brad Boyes Boston Bruins, Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins, Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals I never posted my picks for an all rookie team, but this looks like the players I probably would have chosen.

All in all, the awards went approximately as expected. I think the biggest injustice, given the nominations, might be Martin Brodeur's spot on the second team all star. If the biggest quibble is with a second team all star spot, they did pretty well in their selections.

Jeez Greg. Back when I mentioned Lidstrom for the Hart back in March you said he was "overhyped." Why the change in tune?
He's a legit Hart nominee. I place him 3rd behind Jagr and Thornton. He's not a legit Hart winner.

I was joking with you a bit. You were pushing Lidstrom a lot above and beyond the level his play had deserved.
Fair enough. I would have been hard-pressed to reasonably claim him deserving. Your comments are always welcome over there...even if you do rile me up from time to time.
just a few questions for you man. i know this is coming a bit late but i was pretty stunned when kipper didn't get the hart. to me he's the MVP by far! without him, calgary does not finish in the top three in the western conference. just wondering why you took thornton and jagr over him. thanks!
Calgary had a very good defence. It contributed to the low goals against avergage a lot - as did Kiprusoff as well (I pick Kiprusoff as Vezina winner, but I would not have nominated him for Hart. I would have nominated Lidstrom in his place). I think that Thornton and Jagr were more valuable over an "average replacement level" player in their position than Kiprusoff was. I know Calgary had really awful backup goaltending this year, but that really isn't the point. The fair comparison is to an average replacement.

I know that in a good hockey market, the media can really support their local player when he is up for an award. Sometimes if you listen to the local guys it seems impossible that he can lose, when mst people around the league are picking somebody else.
No surprises as far as the trophy winners and their speeches go.

Will Sasso and Ronnie Mac's suit stole the show.
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