Archive for the ‘Trophy’ Category

In honor of our country’s Independence Day, I’ve decided to compile a full 23 man roster of the greatest American hockey players.

Centers
Pat LaFontaine scored over 1000 points in a career that was cut short. He was surpassed as the American points leader by Mike Modano, who has 561 goals and 1374 points (and still going?). Another player with 500 goals and 1000 points is Jeremy Roenick. The recently retired Doug Weight played for various teams in the NHL for 19 seasons, also scoring over 1000 points. Neal Broten, a member of the 1980 Olympic hockey team, played 1099 NHL games, being named an All Star twice.

Left Wings
Keith Tkachuk is only one of four Americans to score 500 goals, and went to five All Star games. In Montreal, John LeClair was a 3rd line center, but when he was traded to Philly in 1995, his career took off. 3 straight 50 goal seasons (only American to do that) and 5 straight 40 goal seasons, LeClair finished with over 400 goals. Brian Rolston has played over 1100 games and scored over 700 points in the NHL. Even though he never played an NHL game, Mike Eruzione scored the biggest goal in American hockey history, as he captained the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. (more…)

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We all know who the best players have been the best in the NHL in the 2010-11 season, but who have been some of the worst?  Years ago, I created some “awards” in my old sim league (DCHL), as a semi roast to certain players, GMs and teams.  I took some of these awards,  and created some brand new ones.

First, we start with the Trigger Happy Award, which goes to the GM who has pulled off the most trades in the last year (for the purpose of a starting point, I used 2010’s regular season end to this regular season’s end).  With 18 counted trades, including acquiring (and trading) Dennis Wideman, Dale Tallon of the Florida Panthers is our 2011 winner.  The other GM award, the aptly named You Suck Award goes to Ottawa’s Bryan Murray.  Last summer, Murray signed Sergei Gonchar for 3 years and $16 million, and the 37 year old played like he was 57.  The team plummeted to last place and Murray started the firesale, trying to get what he could for many players.  Some of his deals were to rectify mistakes he had made in the summer, and in previous seasons.  All this, while Daniel Alfredsson remained on the team and his value continued to drop.

Moving on to some statistical awards, the winner of the Broad Street Bully Award goes to Islander Zenon Kenopka, who blew away the field in the penalty minute department, finishing with 307.  Kenopka is the first player to break the 300 PIM barrier since Dan Carcillo in 2007-08.   The Greg Millen Trophy for allowing the most goals in the regular season goes to the Colorado Avalanche.  The team allowed a whopping 287 goals, the most since the 06-07 Flyers.  On the topic of goalies, our Red Light Award for worst goalie of the year (minimum of 20 games) is Rick DiPietro.  DiPietro “lead” the league with a 3.44 GAA, had the second worst save percentage at 88.6% and finished with a record of 8-14-4.

The Bettman Trophy for Villain of the Year was no surprise.  Suspended for 21 games this season within two separate incidents, including missing the entire first round of the playoffs, Matt Cooke easily wins the award.

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After the regular season, we took it upon ourselves to vote for five major NHL awards (Hart, Vezina, Norris, Calder and Adams).  With the awards show tomorrow night, let’s take a quick look back on how we did voting wise and who the frontrunner for those awards are.

Hart Memorial Trophy
This year, the three finalists are: Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis. Our voting had Perry, Sedin and Tim Thomas. With no disrespect to St. Louis, this is a two horse race. Corey Perry had 50 goals and dominated down the stretch. Sedin scored a career-high 41 goals, and 104 points, winning the Art Ross. Both guys are deserving but there can only be one winner. This season Perry’s been the most valuable to his team and should pick up the Hart. However, Sedin should win the Ted Lindsay (Most Outstanding Player) award.

Vezina Trophy
The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo, Predators’ Pekka Rinne and Bruins’ Tim Thomas are the finalists for the Vezina trophy. All three made were our finalists also. Thomas should dominate the voting and easily pick up the hardware this year, which would be his second Vezina (2009).

James Norris Trophy
Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are the 2010-11 finalists. Our voting was close, with those three defenseman along with Lubomir Visnovsky finishing as our top vote getters. (Yes, I know that is four, but we had a 3-way tie for 2nd). Even though he’s not as well known as his co-finalists, Weber had a fantastic season and should win his first NHL trophy.

Calder Memorial Trophy
This year, the Sharks’ Logan Couture, Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner are the NHL’s finalists. Once again, our top 3 voted finalists match the NHL’s. All three topped 30 goals and 50 points. Couture and Skinner will likely go 1-2 (in some order) but Couture is the pick here.

Jack Adams Award
The NHL’s finalist for the Adams Award are: Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, Nashville’s Barry Trotz and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault. Unfortunately, of those three only Bylsma made our finalists. The other two were Tampa’s Guy Boucher and New Jersey’s Jacques Lemaire. The frontrunner should be Bylsma, who almost won the Atlantic Division, despite his two best players (Crosby and Malkin) being injured.

Our voting produced 12 of the 15 NHL’s finalists. So who will win some of the other awards?

Ryan Kesler seems like the heavy favorite to unseat 3-time defending winner Pavel Datsyuk (a co-finalist) for the Selke Trophy. Datsyuk isn’t even going to Las Vegas for the awards show, and could be a sign of a new winner. The Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews is the other candidate.

The Lady Byng was another Datsyuk specialty, winning four times since the lockout. However, he was in a fight this season which prompted the internet to joke that he “blew his Byng chances.” Last year’s winner Martin St. Louis is in the running once again, along with Lidstrom and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson. St. Louis will probably win the award again this year.

The Masterton trophy is given to a player that shows perseverance and this year’s field has gone through a lot. Ray Emery (degenerative hip condition), Daymond Langkow (neck injury) and Ian Laperriere (brain injury) all are deserving, but this year’s winner has to be Emery. Thought to possibly have trouble walking in the future (let alone playing hockey), Emery rehabbed most of this season, and signed with the Ducks in February, playing in 16 games (including playoffs) for Anaheim.

One other award up for grabs is the Messier Leadership award. Chara, Lidstrom and Phoenix’s Shane Doan are this year’s finalists. The Coyotes battled relocation rumors all season and still managed to finish fifth. Doan’s been Phoenix’s captain since 2003. He was also Canada’s captain in the 2007 World Championships. He should be recognized for his leadership.

After tonight’s Vancouver’s Game 1 victory, thanks to Raffi Torres’ late goal, there are a few things we learned during the course of the game.

1. Daniel & Henrik are brothers

Over the course of the whole game, Doc Emrick may have mentioned that the Sedins were brothers about 479 times.  I can understand mentioning it a couple times, because there are new viewers, tuning into the playoffs for the first time.  But it seemed like everytime the two were on the ice together, or passing to each other, it was mentioned.  Reminded me of the old Slapshot quote from Ned Bradon to the Hansons, “are you guys brothers or something?”

2. Zdeno Chara is in the wrong spot on the Bruins PP

Not that I’m an NHL coach or anything, but one would have to think Chara would be more effective on the powerplay at the point with his booming shot.  Yeah, Chara can out-muscle and outreach any other player on the ice for a loose puck in front of the net, but wouldn’t you want a 106 MPH cannon on the blueline?  Just ask Ryan Callahan how that feels.

2a. Speaking of the Bruins PP….

The Bruins’ powerplay woes were well known coming into the series, going 5 for 61 (8.2%) heading into tonight, including an awful 1 for 26 (3.8%) on the road.  Their woes continued tonight, as the team went 0 for 6, making their overall playoff percentage 7.5. Yikes. The Bruins failed to score on an early four minute powerplay and a 1:32 two man advantage, and it cost them in the end.

3. The referees’ whistles work

Through the first two periods, the refs called 13 penalties for 28 minutes.  Thankfully they put the penalty whistles away in the third period.  Unfortunately they still had to blow them for offsides and icing, which seemed to happen every couple minutes during the game.  Hopefully Game 2’s flow is a bit better.

4. Patrice Bergeron tastes like chicken

At the end of first period, there was a scrum, in which Patrice Bergeron got mixed up with Alex Burrows.  Bergeron picked up a minor for roughing; Burrows a double minor for roughing and a quick snack.  Video appears to show Burrows biting Bergeron.  Burrows should probably be suspended, but do the importance of the Stanley Cup Finals cancel that?  I’d bet no, but regardless, Brendan Shanahan has his new job cut out for him.

5. Thomas & Luongo are good; really, really good

Everyone knew these two guys were two of the best goalies in the league, as shown by their Vezina nominations.  But their play in Game 1 was stellar.  People talked about nerves, as these guys are playing in their first Stanley Cup.  If either one is nervous, neither is showing it.  Both goaltenders made “wow” saves throughout the game to keep their team alive.  When Pierre McGuire said, “the goaltending has been magnificent”, he actually wasn’t exaggerating for once.  The two were the clearcut first and second stars of the game, combining for 69 saves on 70 shots.  If these guys keep playing this well, we might have a bunch of 1-0 games in our future.

(note: Andy chooses not to pick series his team is involved in.)

As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for. At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins by Joey

Throughout October and November, Marc-Andre Fleury was Public Enemy Number 1 to the local fans and a butt to jokes at the water cooler around NHL fans at work. Then one crisp November evening, Fleury won a game, it was a shutout, it was at home and he had the fans backing him once again. Since that point Fleury was himself again. But what makes him Hart worthy is his play after the Penguins lost Crosby and Malkin after the turn of the New Year. While statistically, Fleury may not be a standout choice, this award is for the player deemed most indispensible to his team. As solid of a defensive pairing as the free agent tandem of Zybnek Michalek and Paul Martin were in junction with the coaching of Dan Bylsma to keep the Penguins ship pointed in the right direction, this season collapses to potentially out of the playoffs without Marc-Andre Fleury’s play. It’s only proper to go beyond numbers, and recognize the true MVP this season.

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks by Realdeal

Perry emerged in 2010-11 as a superstar.  The Ducks forward was the only NHLer to notch 50 goals this season, securing the Rocket Richard trophy for most goals.  But his play down the stretch where he carried the Ducks from 11th to 4th propelled him into the Hart debate.  Perry scored 19 goals in his final 14 games, helping his team to a 10-4 record during that time.  He tied for first in game winning goals with 11, and tied for first with 18 special teams goals (14 PPG, 4 SHG; tied for 5th in both individual categories).  Despite his borderline play (104 PIM), Perry is the choice this year.

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks by Gabbi

The real league MVP is one half of the league’s most dynamic duo; Daniel Sedin of Sedin Twins & Co. This season, Daniel lead the league in points (104), was fourth in goals, and third in assists (his brother Henrik had the most assists). His 18 power play goals were also tops in the league, and his game winners third most. The only thing Sedin was not tops in the league of was penalty minutes and shooting percentage. All in all, the top five man should be number one this year in the Hart Trophy voting.

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks by Cujo

When you vote for Hart, consider voting for Jonathan Toews, the other guys are all impressive, but they do not come close to what Toews has done for Chicago. The Blackhawks captain led his team in points (2nd in goals, assists, powerplay goals, +/-, and shots on goal), and also led the team in game winning goals. In the regular season when Chicago struggled, Toews kept going strong, when he wasn’t scoring, he was setting up goals. Especially in the month of February during a important playoff point race, he scored 3 game winning goals against conference foes Minnesota, St.Louis, and Columbus.

Final Voting (more…)

As the NHL season comes to a close, we are going to vote on the NHL Awards, and four of us will pick one candidate each to “campaign” for.  At the bottom, you will see balloting and the final results.

Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks by Cujo

Logan Couture deserves the Calder trophy, the kid is just flat out amazing. Former team captain Patrick Marleau said himself that Logan is talented offensively, and defensively, which would explain his numbers. He leads the team in +/-, he is second in goals on the team only behind Marleau, and also 2nd in game winning goals for the team. This is a team with Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton who by all means Couture should be setting up for goals (not that he is bad at that with 23 assists on the year), but he is proving he has what it takes to put the puck in the net, and help to keep it out of his own.


Corey Crawford, G, Chicago Blackhawks by Realdeal

As the season opened, the defending Cup Champions were looking to fill the hole of the departed Antti Niemi with Marty Turco.  However, Turco’s starting job was taken over by rookie Corey Crawford.    Crawford has filled Niemi’s void nicely.  In 54 games, Crawford’s won 31 games (good for 13th in the NHL), posted a 2.26 GAA (6th) and 91.9% save percentage (13th).  He’s also posted four shutouts this season.  While the team has struggled, Crawford has kept the Blackhawks in the playoff race.

Michael Grabner, RW, New York Islanders by Gabbi

When looking at this years crop of Calder nominees, it’s amazing to see how talented the future of the NHL is looking. So out of big names like Couture, Skinner and Fowler why go with the seemingly obscure Michael Grabner? On a team of young studs he leads the team in goals (33) and was fourth in points (50) in 74 games. This all after a summer where he was traded from his draft team from Vancouver to Florida, where he was subsequently waived from. The twenty three year old’s placement in the NHL was questionable at best, until he (and his silky mitts) found a niche on Long Island. He’s now a pivotal piece of the puzzle for the young Islanders core. Strange coming from the mouth of a Rangers fan, but this Austria native should be the next Calder trophy winner!

Jeff Skinner, C, Carolina Hurricanes by Joey

As if you need any more reasons why Jeff Skinner should be the Rookie of the Year besides his surname conjuring up images of an early 90s wrestling superstar (that’s Vince’s word not mine), I suppose I should continue to tip your scales. Skinner, by far, the youngest of the most viable ROY candidates being 18 until late in the conference finals and not only that, is also the most consistent having 30 goals and 29 assists as of this writing. I also venture that Skinner has done the most with the least. Outside of having Eric Staal as a teammate, Skinner is surrounded by a handful of solid but not quite venerable teammates. Which I feel is less to work with than the budding forwards in Long Island like Tavares, Okposo, Moulson, and the like. Vote young, vote Skinner. And perhaps Jeff will celebrate with a skulleted homage to Crocodile Dundee…ok maybe not.

Final Voting

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