Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And the Award Goes To...

It feels like it's been far longer than a week since the Stanley Cup Finals ended. Thankfully, the hockey gods (or NHL executives) have smiled upon us and given us a major blogging topic to satisfy our need for hockey talk and good looking men in tuxedos:

The NHL Awards

And, of course, I am scheduled to work tomorrow while they will be aired. I hope to come back to detailed recaps and lovely pictures (pretty please!).

In the spirit of award show fun, I present my picks for all of the awards that will be handed out tomorrow in Toronto.

Hart Trophy (NHL MVP)
Nominees: Alexander Ovechkin (Washington), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Jarome Iginla (Calgary)
My Pick: Alexander Ovechkin. As much as I LOVE Iggy's glowing smile and captain-y goodness and Geno's ability to take over games with his scoring ability and blank stares, if any award tomorrow is a foregone conclusion, it's this one.

Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender)
Nominees: Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose), Henrik Lundqvist (NY Rangers), Martin Brodeur (NJ)
My Pick: Evgeni Nabokov. I know Brodeur is Brodeur, but I really like the newcomer in this race. Nabokov led the NHL in victories with 46, while tying Brodeur for most games played (77). His most impressive stat, however, may be the fact that he didn't sit for a game until January 13, 43 games into the season.

Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman)
Nominees: Nick Lidstrom (Detroit), Dion Phaneuf (Calgary), Zdeno Chara (Boston)
My Pick: Nick Lidstrom. It's hard to argue with the captain and blueline stronghold of one of the stingiest defenses in the NHL. Though he did spend some time injured this season, Lidstrom still managed to keep his +/- rating a +40 while logging an average of 26:25 in ice time during Detroit's President's Trophy winning season.

: Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Nominees: Patrick Kane (Chicago), Nick Backstrom (Washington), Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
My Pick: Patrick Kane. In the battle of the Blackhawks, I think my future husband (haha) will edge out his road roomie because of his offensive prowess. He led all rookies in scoring with 72 points while playing against the top lines of his opponents. Also, he led all rookies in shootout goals, scoring on 7 of 9 attempts. I may be biased towards this homegrown star, but the stats don't lie - he's earned this award.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Gentelmanly Play)
Nominees: Jason Pominville (Buffalo), Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Martin St. Louis (Tampa)
My Pick: Jason Pominville. I know this judgment is ridiculously biased, and I know Pommers probably won't win, but there is certainly a good case for him here. He is definitely the most gentlemanly of the Sabres, a team containing many gentleman (not named Tim Connolly - sorry Timmay). He excelled as our Captain, earning a career-high 80 points. He also committed only 10 minor penalties while playing in all 82 games for the Sabres.

Frank Selke Trophy (Top Defensive Forward)
Nominees: Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit), John Madden (NJ)
My Pick: Henrik Zetterberg. Watching him play against every team's top line is like watching a clinic in prefect two-way hockey.

Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year)
Nominees: Mike Babcock (Detroit), Guy Carbonneau (Montreal), Bruce Boudreau (Washington)
My Pick: Bruce Boudreau. Before he was named coach, the Caps were 6-14-1. After he moved behind the bench, they captured the Southeast Division title. No other team had ever made the playoffs after standing in 14th place at midseason; he took them to the 3rd seed. Montreal's resurgence was impressive as well, but nowhere near as dramatic as this.

: Masterton Trophy (Perseverance to Hockey)
Nominees: Jason Blake (Toronto), Chris Chelios (Detroit), Fernando Pisani (Edmonton)
My Pick: Paul Gaustad! Wait...Goose didn't make the cut? Oh well, then I'll go with Jason Blake. The man has leukemia and still managed to play in all 82 games. If that's not the very definition of perseverance, I'm not sure what is.

: Lester B. Pearson Award (NHLPA voted MVP)
Nominees: See Hart Trophy
My Pick: If Ovechkin doesn't win, he is either a pretty unpopular guy or hockey players are dumber than we think!

Let's hope Pommers looks extra-spiffy in his tux tomorrow. That way, any hardware he happens to bring home will simply be an added bonus.

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