With the conference prognostos out of the way, we turn to our prognotos for the league’s awards…
Jack Adams Award
“To the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association at the end of the regular season.”
It ought to read, “to the coach who did better than expected.” And that means the finalists are going to be…
Barry Trotz, Nashville. Because the Preds always do better than expected.
Ron Wilson, Toronto. Because we’ve come to expect Toronto to be bad.
Terry Murray, Los Angeles. Because no one expects a team from Los Angeles to be good.
Winner: Ron Wilson, Toronto
Frank J. Selke Trophy
“To the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.”
This really goes to the forward who won it last year. Since the lockout, Rod Brind’Amour won in consecutive years before he ended up missing 23 games in the 2007-2008 season. At that point, Pavel Datsyuk took up the trophy and won it three years running, before he missed 26 games last season. Ryan Kesler won it last year, but he is coming off a hip injury (he did not play last night in the Canucks’ season opener). The finalists will be…
Jonathan Toews, Chicago. Because he doesn’t score enough to get the Hart, and he has to win something this year.
Mike Richards, Los Angeles. Because he was supposed to win one by now.
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit. Because it’s required by league by-laws that he be on the ballot.
Winner: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
Lady Byng Trophy
“To the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.”
Player? No goaltender has ever won, and only two defensemen have won it (four times in all), the last one being three-time winner Red Kelly in 1954. It has been won by a center 57 times. Since the lockout, only two players have won it – Pavel Datsyuk four times consecutively and Martin St. Louis the last two years. The finalists…
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit. Another league by-law thing
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay. C’mon, he’s so cute and adorable, like a plush toy.
Loui Eriksson, Dallas. “Loui” and “Byng” go together like “peanut butter” and “jelly.”
Winner: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
“To the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.”
Perhaps the most egalitarian award of them all. In the six years since the lockout , the Calder has been won by a left wing (Alex Ovechkin), a center (Evgeni Malkin), a right wing (Patrick Kane), a goalie (Steve Mason), a defenseman (Tyler Myers), and last year by a center (Jeff Skinner). The finalists…
Brayden Schenn, Philadelphia. Fulfills the requirement for a good, sturdy Canadian name on the ballot
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton. Hypenated name?...check.
Nino Niederreiter, New York Islanders. Half the voters will probably think they’re voting for “Scott Niedermayer.”
Winner: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton
“To the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”
For a while, the language might have been “To the defense player from Sweden whose name rhymes with ‘Picklas Midstrom.’” Then, after the six-year run by Nicklas Lidsrom ended, it might have read, “to the defense player not named ‘Mike Green.’” Since Picklas…uh, Nicklas Lidstrom won it last year, one wonders if we are going back to an earlier time. The finalists…
Shea Weber, Nashville. Hey, he’s GOT to win it sometime, and he’s motivated…it’s a contract year.
Duncan Keith, Chicago. When in doubt, go with a guy who’s won it before
Tyler Myers, Buffalo. If by “Tyler Myers,” you mean, “Nicklas Lidstrom?”
Winner: Shea Weber, Nashville
“To the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.”
The unspoken part of that citation is, “to the goalkeeper in the Eastern Conference…” In the last 17 seasons the Vezina was awarded, an Eastern Conference goalie won it 16 times. Only Miikka Kiprusoff interrupted that string, in 2006. Here is how long that string is. When Ed Belfour won it for the second time in three years in 1993, he did it with what today would be the pedestrian numbers of a 2.59 goals against average (which would have been tied for 23rd in the league last year) and a .906 save percentage (tied for 34th). The finalists…
Pekka Rinne, Nashville. Obligatory Western Conference goalie who will be the pick of all the “smart” pundits, but who has no chance of winning.
Tim Thomas, Boston. Six times in the last 21 years, the Vezina was won by the previous year’s winner; Thomas HAS to be on the ballot.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo. Three times in the last 18 seasons it was won by the goalie who won it two years earlier.
Winner: Ryan Miller, Buffalo
Ted Lindsay Award
“To the National Hockey League's most outstanding player in the regular season as judged by the members of the NHL Players Association.”
They might as well have the ceremony for this award at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, because in the last 12 years (including those in which it was awarded as the “Lester B. Pearson Award”), it was won ten times by wingers. It is worth noting that it has been won only once by a defenseman – Bobby Orr in 1975. Players don’t much like defensemen, it seems. The finalists…
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver. Why not Henrik? Because Henrik’s a center, silly.
Alex Ovechkin, Washington. Order is restored in the universe.
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay. Hey, he might be cute and adorable, like a plush toy, but he can play.
Winner: Alex Ovechkin, Washigton
Hart Memorial Trophy
“To the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season.”
Much is made about whether goaltenders should win, or even be eligible, for the league’s most valuable player award. But what about defensemen? Since Bobby Orr won it three-times running from 1970-1972, how many defensemen won it over the next 38 seasons? One – Chris Pronger in 2000. The finalists…
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver. In for the Lindsay, in for the Hart
Alex Ovechkin, Washington. Alexander Semin might have been nominated, except… wait for it… he has no “Hart.”
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit. Three Selkes, Four Byngs. Maybe it’s time that the "Carhartt Hardest Working Player of the Month, December 2007" (it’s true…look it up) gets this one?
Winner: Alex Ovechkin, Washington