One Puck Short End of Season Awards
Waaaaay back in October, I penned the customary ‘Awards Prediction’ post. 2,460 regular season games later, 16 teams advanced to the Stanley Cup play-offs, whilst 14 advanced to the first tee.
Now the dust has settled (at least in terms of the regular season), here are the One Puck Short End of Season Awards:
Hart Trophy – Winner: Sidney Crosby (Prediction: Sidney Crosby)
The favourite going in to the season, the clear winner now all is said and done. The best player in the world hands down, Crosby kept an injured plagued Penguins on course and helped secure the inaugural Metropolitan Division title.
In any other season, Ryan Getzlaf might have won it – but Crosby was head and shoulders above everyone else this year. He was both the most valuable player to his team (or one of them anyway) and the best player in the league; covering both the actual and the understood definition of a Hart Trophy winner.
Art Ross – Sidney Crosby (Prediction: Sidney Crosby)
36 goals and, more importantly in this conversation, 104 points secured Crosby’s second Art Ross trophy. The only player to break the 100 point barrier, he finished a whopping 17 points clear of the next best performer (Getzlaf again…).
Rocket Richard – Alex Ovechkin (Prediction: Steven Stamkos)
Stamkos injury may have turned this race in the Caps stars favour somewhat, but Ovechkin’s torrid pace early in the season set him on course for his fifth 50+ goal season and fourth Rocket Richard trophy.
As snarky as you can be about his cringe worthy -35 rating, the Russian rockstar sure knows where the net is.
Norris Trophy – Duncan Keith (Prediction: Ryan Suter)
Perhaps the toughest category of all to pick a winner in; Keith shone at both ends of the ice this season and narrowly beats out Zdeno Chara to be my Norris winner.
Only Erik Karlsson had more points than Keith from the blue line, whilst the smooth skating Hawk was a far more reliable influence defensively for the defending champions.
Calder Trophy – Nathan MacKinnon (Prediction: Alexsander Barkov)
Whilst it took the Avs forward a few games to make the transition to ‘The Show’, once MacKinnon got his legs under him he flew – literally and figuratively.
With an honourable mention to Ondrej Palat, and early season favourite Tomas Hertl (who might have won the Calder were it not for injury), MacKinnon became an integral part of a Colorado team that went from the basement to Central Division champs in the space of a year.
Vezina Trophy – Semyon Varlamov (Prediction: Henrik Lundqvist)
Another category with multiple strong candidates. Ben Bishop was my front runner for almost the entire season; but another Avs takes this one as Varlamov’s consistency trumps the Bolts stopper’s red hot start – just.
Under Francois Allaire, Varlamov has found consistency and balance to temper his natural athleticism. He was a rock for a Colorado side who can still be described as questionable in their own end, and broke Patrick Roy’s franchise record for wins in a season.
Selke Trophy – Jonathan Toews (Prediction: Jonathan Toews)
Pavel Datsyuk’s injury turned a three horse race in to a two horse race; and the Blackhawks captain takes this one for me. Toews frequently faces the opposing teams top players, and meets the challenge on every occasion. He is perhaps the most well rounded player in the world.
Patrice Bergeron is the ‘clear’ runner up of course, but Marian Hossa deserves an honourable mention.
Jack Adams – Patrick Roy (Prediction: Patrick Roy)
When I picked the Avs to grab one of the wild card spots in my preseason predictions, I felt like a huge optimist. Few others thought the Avs would rebound from one of its worst seasons since moving to Denver (and there have been a couple lately…) to win arguably the toughest Division in the newly aligned NHL.
Roy has the Avs playing with a freedom and belief many are envious of, and looks to have helped fired the franchise back to relevance in the Mile High City.
Lady Byng – Teemu Selanne
I didn’t do a prediction for the Lady Byng – an award generally about not being a jack ass, not clocking up too many PIMs whilst also chipping in offensively.
It’s why Martin St Louis is a perennial contender (and is a nominee again this year). But the diminutive forward threw his toys out of the pram as he engineered his way out of Tampa.
Ryan O’Reilly is also a strong contender. Another big part of the resurgent Avs; he almost went the entire season without taking a penalty, until a broken stick ended that party. He also had 28 goals and 64 points.
Ordinarily you’d say O’Reilly has this in the bag. The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability”, a description you can more than attach to the Ontario native this season.
But for once, just once, The Lady Byng is more than a one season award on this occasion. Or it should be.
Has their been a better model for sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and high standards of play than Selanne?
Universally loved by fans, players and pundits young and old, the veteran Finn has been the perfect example of a model pro throughout his career. In what is likely to be his last season, it seems only fitting it should end with an award that recognises those very virtues he has upheld for two decades.
Posted on April 23, 2014, in Hockey, NHL and tagged Alexander Ovechkin, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Nathan MacKinnon, NHL, NHL Awards, Patrick Roy, Semyon Varlamov, Sidney Crosby, Teemu Selanne. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.