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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Real DFGs Half-Way NHL Awards

This past Sunday marked the halfway point to this years shortened NHL season.  With half the year gone already, I thought it would be a good time to go back and look at what has been accomplished thus far.  I decided to take the NHL Awards and break them down for half season winners.

Let's get the non-player award out of the way first.

Jack Adams Award - Coach of the Year



First of all, the Jack Adams award for Coach of the Year so far, in my honest opinion should go to Joel Quenneville from the Blackhawks.  As much as I am not a Hawks fan and am mostly a "everything opposite of the Blackhawks" type person, you can't deny what has happened this year.  Regardless of whether they win a Cup this year or not, the team has the record win streak to hang it's hat on.  No one can deny them of that.  I think what is more impressive is that they have such balanced scoring and have done it on special teams as well.  Quenneville deserves the award, hands down.  Plus look at the epic Whaler card over there.  He uses a PIMP stick (not really).  That alone deserves the award.


And now the awards people care about (assuming you care about awards)


Vezina Trophy


My vote here is going to Craig Anderson.  I know that isn't going to be a popular vote with the way Tuuka Rask, Antii Niemi, and that guy from Chicago are playing but this is the best goaltender award.  No one has been better than Anderson up until his injury a week or so ago.  He is the sole reason the Senators are even a viable contender for any playoff hopes at all.  Going into the injury, he has a 1.49 GAA and a .952 save percentage.  Both of those stats are good enough for best in the league.  Plus, I like Anderson better than those other guys.  It's time he gets his due.  I doubt he will be able to keep up the pace, even after coming back from injury but this isn't the year end awards, it's the half-way awards.  So there.


Hart Memorial Trophy & Art Ross Trophy



Sidney Crosby is the Hart winner this year and the Art Ross winner.  My apologies go out to all the haters out there but you can't deny the contribution he has made to this years' Penguins team after being out so long last year with the concussion.  The guy is the team MVP, the league MVP, the universe MVP.  I don't really know what else to say.  He has 45 points in 26 games so far this year, and is on pace for 83 points on the year (*considering the truncated season, that would be about 141 points if he played all 82 games).  That is one of the best seasons on record in recent NHL history, my friends.

He is averaging 1.269 assists per game which is top 20 in highest ratio for a single season.  Look at the other night against the Islanders...he had 5!!  He is averaging 1.731 points per game, which is highest in over a dozen years.  But the best in my book is that he is making his teammates look like superstars.  Even Gretzky said he "is the best player in the game today".  I'm not going to argue with that.


Calder Trophy - Rookie Of The Year


This is an interesting pool of players to choose from for this award. With Conacher, Tarasenko, Yakupov, and Schultz all making a case for their claim to the Calder, I think Jonathan Huberdeau is my pick so far. Huberdeau was a beast in the minors and that's why Florida went for him in the draft. If you compare the top scoring rookies in this years class of guys, Huberdeau is the only one without the supporting cast playing around him. He doesn't have the talent on the ice that players like Conacher or Yakupov have. Even still, he is logging the ice time, he is taking the shots on goal (71) and he leads the league in rookie goals with 12. He is also second in points to Conacher (20) with 17. With less to work with and the fact he is still excelling, I give JH the nod for the Calder at mid-season.


Frank Selke Trophy


This is one of those confusing awards that many people really don't understand.  It goes to the best defensive  minded offensive forward.  I think so far the nod for this one would go to Eric Staal in Carolina.  They guy has righted the ship from his awful start last season.  After 24 games last year, he had 10 points and was a minus-17.  This year at the same point, he is a plus-19 with 30 points.  That's a big improvement when you consider what has happened with the Canes defense.  He scores, he kills penalties, and he is winning in the face-off circle.  Staal is my vote although there are quite a few other guys out there that will most likely come away with this award by the end of the year.


James Norris Memorial Trophy


If this award was completely based off the best defenseman on the ice, I would easily say the Zdeno Chara would run away with this award.  But guess what?  It's not.  This award almost always goes to the best offensive defenseman and this year, Kris Letang is that guy.  He is having the best offensive season of his career.  He leads all d-men with 26 points and has missed 3 games.  He is also averaging more than 26 minutes of TOI per game.  At this pace, he could put up 50 points in the shortened 48 game season.  When that happens, the hardware is his.

And my two wildcard spots are being left up to the readers...

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy


These are the guys that perservere, that overcome adversity, that prevail when all hope seems lost.  I'm not really sure I have a pick for this award.  There are so many "feel good" stories each and every year that it is hard to choose who is most deserving of an award that is so objective.  So with that being said, I'm going to leave that up to you to decide.  If anyone has a choice for this one, leave a comment and tell me why you think they are the best choice for this award.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy


This is the sportsmanship award.  Sportsmanship in hockey is one of those things that I think most fans take for granted because it is simply just part of the game, which is a paradox because the sport is considered by many as a violent, hard-hitting, blood-inducing sport.  With that being said, it's going to go to a player that doesn't fight, doesn't commit penalties, doesn't speak out, and doesn't do things off the ice that are questionable.  Here's another one that I have no idea about because I don't really think about it.  Just like the Masterton, if any readers can think of a deserving player, post a comment and tell us why.

So that's all I'm picking for now.  Agree to disagree.  Or just agree.  Either way I'm right.  

4 comments:

  1. I'm a total homer on the Lady Byng and have to say Patrick Kane. I'm really not a Kaner fan but he's never in the box or fighting and has yet to make it into the headlines off the ice (yet).

    And while I'm at it, Toews for Selke!!

    As much as I'm tired of hearing about Crosby and UD putting him on everything there's no denying how insane his production is when healthy. Absolute beast.

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    1. Nah, those weren't homer picks at all...

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  2. Before the season began, I was listening to Don Cherry. (yes, I do that) He was saying that everyone needs to "watch out for Crosby this year, and years going forward."
    Why? Even coming back from injury? It's because of the lockout. Sid was there. All the time. He was the face of the players. Every interview, every bargaining session, he was there. And any player not there could call him to find out what's what.

    In doing that, he gained mucho respect from all of the players. Much the way Gretz had everyone's respect. As a result, fourth liners wouldn't be out there looking to make a name for himself by crunching him. He will now have that little bit of extra room on the ice to make plays... that split second will make a huge difference. It did for Wayne.

    and you know what? like the other 99% of the time, Don was right. Sid has room out there, and for the first time, other players are treating him with respect like Wayne, Mario, Bobby Orr, etc....

    the best of Sid may be yet to come.

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    1. Interesting point you make there Capt. Although I don't know if I would completely agree that they are treating him with kid gloves like they did with Wayne. Plus there really aren't anymore "goon squads" protecting guys anymore like Gretzky had. I'd probably say he is being treated more like Mario was...maybe. Lemieux was still beat up quite frequently it's just he was big enough to battle back. Crosby is faster than a lot of guys and can hold his own most of the time so he avoids a bunch of the contact. But you are right, he did pick up some major props with the way he handled the lock-out.

      I will definitely be paying more attention to how guys are playing him. I never thought of that before.

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