Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sittin' at the end of the bar...


Well, we didn’t do too badly in our prognostos for the awards presented last night, but looking at the vote totals, we saw some interesting nuggets…

The Hart came out pretty much as we figured it would – Sedin, Ovechkin, Crosby – with some separation between the top two and Crosby. Even the Miller/Bryzgalov a four and five made sense. After that…

- Four goalies in the top nine. And it would be hard to argue with any of them, especially Martin Brodeur and Craig Anderson. Those two seem to have received votes out of the spirit and the letter of the award citation. Brodeur might have lost a half-step, but he is still the fuel that runs the Jersey system, and Anderson was the rock upon which the Avalanche somewhat surprising season (especially early) was founded.

- Three Caps in the top 14 – Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mike Green – and we find it interesting that Mike Green received more Hart voting points than any other defenseman.

Was a bit surprised at the margin of victory for Duncan Keith in the Norris. And it seems that the media echo chamber in the run up to the end of the season for Doughty was a lot of hot air. He’ll be a winner some day, but he had some holes in his game this year that really should have kept him from being a favorite.

And speaking of Norris, we noted that Christian Ehrhoff finished ninth. Anthony SanFilippo must be drowning himself in cheesesteaks this morning.

Who needs Anton Volchenkov, Caps fans? Jeff Schultz – a fourth place vote (three points), Volchenkov – a fifth place vote (one point).

Has Dion Phaneuf reached bottom? One fourth place vote… that’s it (tied with Jeff Schultz, kids). And he probably didn’t deserve that much. This from a guy who a couple of years ago was being thought of as a perennial finalist in this category. Maybe Toronto will be what he needs.

Looking at that Selke voting, I see an awful lot of guys I’d want on my hockey team. Never mind the finalists… Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Mike Richards, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Backstrom… and that’s just in the top ten. Those guys are the guts of their teams.

It just seems so strange to see Evgeni Nabokov finishing fourth for the Vezina and being cut loose by the San Jose Sharks.

Two goalies, one with a record of 35-28-10, 2.31, .920, and eight shutouts, the other with a record of 35-27-10, 2.38, .921, and four shoutouts. The first one finished tied for eighth in the voting for the Vezina, the second one finished sixth. That would be Miikka Kiprusoff of Calgary and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, respectively. And Jimmy Howard had more wins, fewer losses, a better GAA and a better save percentage than both… he finished tied for eighth.

Roberto Luongo got a third place vote for the Vezina. We’d just like to know which of the finalists that voter dropped out of the top three.

Jamie Benn, who didn’t do squat against John Carlson and Karl Alzner in the Calder Cup finals, finished sixth in Calder Trophy voting (ahead of more heralded prospects such as Victor Hedman and Evander Kane, by the way). How are you liking that defensive pair, Caps fans?

Does anyone really know what sort of criteria there are to be selected for the Lady Byng Trophy? The voters don’t seem to know. 66 players received votes. And apparently, the Caps are not very sportsmanlike. Nicklas Backstrom was the only Cap to get a vote (he finished tied for 54th).

About those NHL all-star selections..

- Ovechkin notched his fifth consecutive selection as first team all star at left wing. Alexander Semin finished sixth, ahead of such as Dany Heatley, Patrick Kane, and Rick Nash. In the odd part about this voting, Evgeni Malkin (nominally a center) received one vote at left wing.

- Jeff Schultz finished 12th on defense, ahead of Ryan Suter, Brian Rafalski, and Sergei Gonchar, among others

- Christian Ehrhoff finished one spot ahead of Schultz on defense. Someone go talk SanFilippo off the ledge.

- Now, here’s the weird part of the NHL all star voting for you Caps fans… Ovechkin and Semin finished ninth and tenth at RIGHT wing. Ovechkin even got a first-place vote.

Alex Ovechkin finished 28th in the voting for the Selke Trophy. There are wags out there who would claim Ovechkin couldn’t finish 28th on the Caps in Selke voting. Oh, and that 28th place finish? Ahead of Sidney Crosby (31st). Take THAT, IC Light swillers!

4 comments:

Justin said...

I'm already jonesing for next season...

raw2 said...

hey peerless,
just thinking, what makes malkin a center as opposed to a wing. him and semin , at least to me, seem similar types of players.
semin is not a bad puck handler by any means but is that what mainly separates them by position? i,ve been a hockey fan for years but i must confess i dont know the intracies of the game. still trying to learn.
thanks and keep up the great columns
ray

Red Army Line said...

raw2--it's preferred position. Center entails more defensive responsibilities than a wing, faceoffs, different man-on-man assignments (the opposite center, not defensemen), and generally more of a playmaking as opposed to goal scoring attitude.

The Peerless said...

raw2 -- Center is Malkin's natural position. He came into the league as a center, and it remains the position at which he spends most of his time. He does get some time on the wing on the power play and when the Penguins want to jumpstart their offense (he would play on Sideny Crosby's wing).

As for the position, center has more responsibilities at both ends than does wing, as Red Army Line points out. Centers take faceoffs almost exclusively, they have much more defensive responsibility given that they play in the middle of the ice, they are most often the playmaker on offense (although you will see some teams work their power plays from the "top-down" from their defensemen), they play in more traffic.

Wingers are more often the finishers, the goal scorers that are set up by those centers. They have forechecking responsibilities on defense and need to be responsible enough to back-check well to prevent opponents coming late into the offensive zone from getting clear scoring opportunities.