The Time Has Come! My Montreal Canadiens Mid-Season Awards!
Inspired by other awards handed out by our colleagues here at on Bleachers Report who hand out mid-season award, I wanted to give out my own awards to the players of my favorite team.
A lot of people here hand out mid-season award and I think it’s a great idea to compare who you thought was best in the first half, and who stepped it up in the second so this will also serve as a comparison tool.
Since there are only trophies and awards given at the end of the season for every single player, I decided create new and specific awards to Canadien’s players for their effort in the first part of the 2008-09 season.
I also renamed the trophies and for some their meaning as well!
Keep in mind these a my personal awards, so feel free to approve or disapprove!
So here are my winners for the Canadiens Mid-Season Awards!
Henri Richard Award
The player who shows the most hard work and dedication.
Winner: Steve Begin
Begin has been admirable considering all that happened to him in the past couple seasons. He’s been injured a lot and has also been a healthy scratch for a few games already.
But Begin never complains and bring 100% every time he hits the ice. He’s not the biggest or most talented player but if he had half the talent of those Kovalev and Kostitsyn he’d be our best player!
Guy Lafleur Award
The award is given to the team’s best goal scoring machine.
Winner: Andrei Kostitsyn (14 goals in 38 games)
To me Andrei edged out Kovalev and Lang simply because he’s shown more scoring abilities so far. This guy has such a dangerous shot and I’ve already seen him score from anywhere in the offensive zone.
He started slow, got benched, got frustrated, started scoring again and never looked back. He’s scoring at a much faster pace he did earlier this year and faster than Lang and Kovy as well so I believe he is that dangerous sniper we’ve wanted him to become.
Larry Robinson Award
Given to the defensemen who shows the best all around abilities.
Winner: Andrei Markov
No surprise here. Markov has no equal on Montreal’s blueline. He’s reliable at both ends, is one of the best playmaking defensemen in the league, he may not score 20 goals from the blueline but will provide 30 to 40 assists and 50 points or more.
Markov is considered one of the best defensemen in the league, he may not be very physical but makes up for it with his speed and puck handling. Honestly, I’ve rarely seen Markov make a mistake.
Ken Dryden Award
Obviously, the goaltender who has shown the best abilities so far.
Winner: Carey Price
No surprise here either. The 21 year old phenom has been awesome. Just considering he came in the league just last year backing up Huet and at 20 showed he was more than good enough to get the number one goaltender job. He plays on a top team expecting a huge season…with just half a year of experience and looks so comfortable!
I honestly feel a lot better when Price is in net. I feel he’ll make those saves to keep the team in the game and already at this point, he’s won a few games all by himself. He IS our goalie of the future.
Guy Carbonneau Award
The best defensive forward on the team so far.
Winner: Maxim Lapierre
Maxim has been stronger than expected and might be the biggest surprise this year. Who knew Lapierre had such offensive talents! Lately, he’s been on fire, scoring and making amazing plays for his wingers.
He’s telling management that he is much more than just fourth line material and most likely, will be marked as the third line center for next year if he keeps it up. He could very well double his offensive production while playing in defensive role on the team. He’s our best face-offs man and he’s currently 13th in the league (for those with at least 400 face-offs).
At this point, I feel more at ease when I see Lapierre killing penalties than most players on the team.
Serge Savard Award
To the best defensive defensemen so far.
Winner: Josh Gorges
No it’s not Komisarek! Gorges has been formidable and is quickly being noticed around the league. He’s not big, physical nor an offensive guy but wow has he been effective on defense. He’s posting a nice plus/minus 15 at this point! Now for a guy who was considered our fifth or sixth defensemen to start the season I think it says a lot about how he’s been playing.
When Komisarek was out, he took control of the defensive aspect beside Markov and has been the perfect replacement. Who thought the trade with San Jose could have been so beneficial? Honestly, I prefer having Gorges and Pacioretty (San Jose’s first round choice) than an aging Craig Rivet.
Bob Gainey Award
Awarded to the player judged the best overall on the team.
Winner: Robert Lang
Lang has been one of if not the most consistent player so far. We took him in as our third center player but with Koivu’s absence and Plekanec’s shortcomings, he has been taking control of first line duties and the oldest players on the team has looked good!
He’s tied for second on the team with a plus/minus 11 so far, tied for first in team scoring with 32 points, first in goals with 16 and third in time for forwards averaging 17:04 minutes per game and he’s our top forward for short handed time on ice. So overall, he’s been our best forward.
Mats Naslund Award
Awarded to the best European player on the team.
Winner: Andrei Markov
There are nine europeans on the team and 8 out of the 10 top scorers are europeans. Markov shares the scoring lead with Kovalev and Lang with 32 points and he’s third in the league in points for defensemen. As far as europeans go, he’s in the top three in almost every category with the Canadiens.
Markov is one of the few players on the team who I don’t feel has been overpaid. He’s been our top defensemen over the last three or four years and would be a top two defensemen on pretty much any team.
Patrick Roy Award
This is just to illustrate who’s been the best rookie or first year player so far. In this category, I’ll also include every player that has played less than 82 games last year but enough so we can see what they can do.
As an example, Sergei and O’Byrne are still elligible but Pacioretty is out having not played enough for me to judge him effectively.
Winner: Sergei Kostitsyn
Oh I can already ear you guys saying "D’Agostini has been much more impressive." I agree…but only for a short period of time. Where has he been lately? He was hot in his forst 10 games but has disappeared in the last 10.
Sergei, although I don’t like his lack of motivation, has shown he will become a geat playmaker in the NHL and make a dangerous duo with his brother Andrei. Sergei has 19 points in 39 games but his on-ice complicity with his brother, great passing skills, grittiness and willingness to play physical that makes him stand out from the others, plus I think he has much more to show us.
Chris Nylan Award
The player who has showed the most physical aspect to his game.
Winner: Tom Kostopoulos
Tom is not a fighter, but he drops the gloves to protect his teammates. He never backs down from a fight and isn’t scared of anyone. He loses most of his fights but it doesn't matter, his dedication to his teammates is admirable.
Every game he throws his body around, plays gritty and is not afraid to go in front of the net. Another one like Begin, if he had the talent of Kovalev or Kostitsyn he’d be one of our best player! He had to raise his physical game this year because of Laraques injury and did an admirable job.
Doug Wickenheiser Award
Named after a player who became a huge disappointment. This award if given to the most disapointing player so far this year.
Winner: Ryan O’Byrne
Not that hard to figure out O’Byrne has been a huge disappointment! Besides the fact he scored in his own goal, Ryan has seemed out of place. He looks nervous, unstable and out of place.
I can remember at least three occasions where he looked completely ridiculous and was deked out if his shorts for a bad goal. You just can’t do that in the NHL. At this point, a grandmother on skates can make him look bad. He’s horrible one on one and, VERY shake defensively and has very little offensive potential.
Most likely Gainey will have him wait a year or two before he’ll become a regular defense…but he’s definitely not fourth defensemen material right now.
Benoit Brunet Award
For the unsung heroes, the ones who persevere even when the odds were against them.
Winner: Jaroslav Halak
How do you feel when you start the season as the backup of the most talked about young goaltender in the NHL? How do you feel when the guy before you is considered as Patrick Roy’s replacement and possibly one who will challenge Brodeur for his records?
It can’t feel great for Halak to know he will never be a number one in Montreal now that Price is here. But still…he’s been patient, waited and now that Price is injured, he has the chance to show what he can do. Although he has had some shaky games, Halak has done the job asked of him. I hope for him he can get a number one spot somewhere in the league because he’ll be number one material within the next two years.
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