As the NHL Awards Ceremony approaches tonight in Toronto, I would like to take a look at who I believe should be going home with the hardware.
Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Play)
Finalists: Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Jason Pominville (BUF), Martin St. Louis (TB)
My choice would have to go 100% to Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings. The reasoning being that he again put up another sensational season of 31 goals and 66 assists (97 pts) to go along with the most takeaways in the league and only 20 minutes spent in the sin bin.
For a player to have that sort of season both offensively and defensively without clutching and grabbing and diving so people won't go near him as he enters the offensive zone shows me that he plays the game right.
Frank Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
Finalists: Pavel Datsyuk (DET), John Madden (NJ), Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
My choice would have to go to again Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings.
Being a die-hard New Jersey Devils fan, I would love to see Madden take the Selke for the second time, but you can't ignore the numbers Datsyuk put up this year.
To have 144 takeaways this season (Mike Modano came in second with 86) shows you the type of player Pavel Datsyuk really is. While yes Datsyuk (and Zetterberg) have the offensive advantage of one of the most dominant lines in the NHL as compared to the checking line of Madden is on, which brings Datsyuk's plus/minus to (+41), you still can't ignore Datysuk as one of the best two-way players in the league.
Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Finalists: Nicklas Backstrom (WAS), Patrick Kane (CHI), Jonathan Toews (CHI)
My choice would have to go with Patrick Kane of the young and high-flying Chicago Blackhawks.
If there could be two award winners though, it would have to be Kane and Toews. For these young kids to bring back energy to a building that was half-empty and was a joke of a franchise (even the fans weren't allowed to watch on TV), it's just amazing to watch.
Kane, while having the advantage of playing the whole season, unlike Toews, picked up a rookie-leading 72 points and 28 power play points. While Nicklas Backstrom did lend a helping hand to Washington's return to the playoffs, most of that was due to Alexander Ovechkin. What Kane and Toews did was bring a dismal franchise a shining ray of hope.
Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)
Finalists: Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Zdeno Chara (BOS), Dion Phaneuf (CGY)
My choice would have to go with another Central Division player, Nicklas Lidstrom, of the Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings.
My opinion on the Norris Trophy is a very confused one. Is it to the best defensive defenseman? Or the defenseman with the most points? Honestly this award should go to the best defensive defenseman by the terms "Most Outstanding Defenseman", not "Most Points".
If they want that, they should have the Bobby Orr award.
But when it comes to this year you have to look at Nicklas Lidstrom as the rightful owner YET AGAIN. To have 70 points and still have time to focus on being the best defensive defenseman is sensational and that is a reason why he won the Stanley Cup this spring.
By the way, Scott Stevens should have won the Norris in 1993-1994...just throwing that out there :)
Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie)
Finalists: Martin Brodeur (NJ), Evgeni Nabakov (SJ), Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
Call me biased if you want, but I feel Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils should win his fourth Vezina Trophy tonight.
Here is my reasoning for it: One, he is the only reason, besides Zach Parise, that the Devils were first in the East so late in the season. Two, he had a sub-par defense and inconsistent offense, unlike Nabakov. Three, he never had a terrible stretch like Lundqvist did mid-season.
Overall Brodeur was second in wins (46), fifth in G.A.A. (2.17)...which is really third if you consider Osgood (leader) and Hasek (fourth) played in under 50 games, and Brodeur had a better SV% than Nabakov or Lundqvist (.920). In the shootouts he had more wins and a better SV% then Nabakov and Lundqvist as well.
Hart Trophy (M.V.P.)
Finalists: Alexander Ovechkin (WAS), Jarome Iginla (CGY), Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
My choice is Alexander Ovechkin, and yours should be too.
Sure Malkin did sensational once Crosby went down, but he also had a great cast of young talent and experienced veterans to help out.
Iginla was also great, but not to the likings of what Ovechkin did to his Washington Capitals and the NHL.
Ovechkin picked up 65 goals and 47 assists, was a +28 and had a ridiculous 11 GWG. His sensational season drove Washington from a team in turmoil after a coach's firing to South East Division Champions.
Ovechkin's unforgettable season not only re-energized the Capitals franchise but showed us great NHL fans that it is turning a corner from the long defensive-ridden league (which I admit I loved, as the Devils got three cups out of it) to a more exciting and appreciated league.
Move over Arena Football League! The NHL is coming BACK! Thank You Ovechkin.
Good Luck to Marty Brodeur and John Madden tonight
and LET'S GO DEVILS!
Enjoy the show tonight on VS and TSN.