The 2009 NHL Awards Preview: Who Ya Got?

If there were an NHL Award for Best Looking, Steckel would be my pick!

If there were an NHL Award for "Best Looking," Steckel would be my pick!

UPDATED:  I’m watching the Awards Show, so I’ll be updating the winners as they’re announced.  See how you did in your predicitions!

Award season is upon us.  Well, at least the NHL Award season.  The Stanley Cup has been awarded, so the NHL Award Show is our mini hockey fix until September rolls around.  This year there is some excitement surrounding the nominees.  Some new faces have popped up in unexpected places, and some old faces have fallen out of contention.  I’ve always viewed the NHL Awards as some type of high school awards assembly only with nicer threads.  Some awards sound like a superlative right out of your high school yearbook, while others are pretty standard.

I thought I would give you a little blurb on each nominee and my pick.  I’ve even let you all get in on the action!  I’ll tell ya who I got if you tell me who ya got after the jump.

Warning: This might be on the long side, but I swear it’s useful information.  Well, it’s really only useful if you a) love the NHL; b) love voting in online polls and/or c) love reading my posts (which I know you all love to do!).

Calder Memorial Trophy, Top Rookie

Nominees:

Steve Mason, Goalie, Columbus Blue Jackets – Mason had a pretty great season with 10 shutouts (1st in NHL), a 2.29 save percentage (2nd), 3,664 minutes (8th), 33 wins (9th), 61 games (10th), and a .916 save percentage (11th). He led all rookie goalies in every category except save percentage. He was the backbone of a Columbus team that reached the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Bobby Ryan, Right Wing, Anaheim Ducks – Ryan was drafted second behind Sidney Crosby in the 2005 Entry Draft.  In his first year with the Ducks, he became the first West Coast player to lead the NHL rookie scoring race since Luc Robitaille in 1986-87. He led all NHL rookies with 31 goals and 57 points, despite missing the first 18 games. Ryan had to start the season in the AHL because the Ducks couldn’t fit him under their salary cap.

Kris Versteeg, Right Wing, Chicago Blackhawks – While I’m not too familiar with Versteeg, I hear he’s quite the funny guy.  Humor alone does not win one the Calder Trophy, so I’ll give you some quick facts. Versteeg led NHL rookies with 31 assists and was eighth on the Blackhawks. His 22 goals and plus-15 rating ranked fourth among NHL rookies. Kris notched four shorthanded goals (4th in the NHL). Bobby Ryan and Versteeg tied for second among NHL rookies with three game-winning goals.

My Pick: Steve Mason

Steve Mason was the man this year.  Without him, the Blue Jackets would have definitely been the bottom-dwellers of the league.

Steve Mason was the man this year. Without him, the Blue Jackets would have definitely been the bottom-dwellers of the league.

I’m picking Steve because ultimately he was the catalyst in the Blue Jackets run to the playoffs (and my fantasy team’s run, as well).  An early season call-up due to multiple injured goalies, Steve was the savior of the Blue Jackets.  At one point in the season, he had a four-game winning streak that included three(!) shutouts. Clutch!

And the winner is…Steve Mason!

The Ladies… Readers are 1-for-1 right now.  65% of our voters selected Steve!

 

James Norris Memorial Trophy, Best Defenseman

Nominees:

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins – Chara recorded 26:04 ice time per game (6th in NHL), more than fellow nominees Mike Green and Nik Lidstrom.  He’s a plus-23, notched 19 goals, fourth-best among NHL defenders, and 31 assists, 26th among NHL defensemen. His 50 points was tied for 12th among NHL defenseman. His 169 hits ranked 17th among NHL defensemen and his 123 blocked shots ranked 51st. He also had 28 takeaways.

Mike Green, Washington Capitals – Mike led NHL defensemen with 31 goals and 73 points, tied for 28th among NHL skaters. His 42 assists ranked seventh among NHL defensemen and 38th in the NHL. Green’s plus-24 this season, tied for fifth among NHL defensemen and 17th in the NHL. His 18 power play tallies led all NHL defensemen, and he was second on the Capitals behind Alex Ovechkin. Green had 86 hits, 110 blocked shots and 49 takeaways.

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings – Lidstrom has won the Norris six times, including the last three seasons. He topped Green and Chara with his plus-31 rating, third among NHL defensemen and seventh-best in the league. He had 43 hits, 67 blocked shots and 26 takeaways.  Lidstrom’s 10 power-play goals ranked fourth on his team, fourth among NHL defensemen and 17th among all players.  He scored 16 goals, which isn’t too shabby for a guy not known for having an offensive prowess.

My Pick: Mike Green

Mike had a record-breaking year for defensemen.  Hopefully that doesnt go unnoticed by the voters.

Mike had a record-breaking year for defensemen. Hopefully that doesn't go unnoticed by the voters.

OK, I’m biased. Sue me. Green is my favorite player, and he deserves the Norris.  He’s got an exceptional all-around game.  The scary thing is that he’s still learning and growing in the league.  People look at his 31 goals and write off his plus/minus, but more than half of his goals came on the man-advantage.  And how can we forget his record-breaking performance back in February?  Mike scored in eight consecutive games setting the NHL record for most consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman.  I definitely think Lidstrom’s time at the top is over.

And the winner is…Zdeno Chara!

Ok, I was right about one thing.  Lidstrom’s reign at the top is over.  We were all a little wrong about who would win, but Mike was wearing a tux, and he looked soooo hot! Yay for being nominated!  He’ll win next year. Bet on it.

 

The Vezina Trophy, Top Goaltender

Nominees:

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins – Thomas led the NHL with a 2.10 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage and had five shutouts. He went 36-11-7, gaining 83 percent of the available points in his games for his team. Thomas has already accumulated three honors this season: playing in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, winning the Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award for best save percentage, and sharing with Manny Fernandez the William M. Jennings Trophy, which rewards the goalies on the team that permitted the fewest goals.

Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota Wild – Backstrom went 37-24-8 for a team that finished out of the playoffs while his backup went 3-9-1. He gained 58 percent of the team’s available points in games he played while the Wild earned 54 percent overall. He’s the best player on his team, simply put.  He saw the second-highest shot total and was second in saves; was third with 71 games played, a 2.33 GAA and eight shutouts; fourth with a .923 save percentage and 4,088 minutes played; fifth with 37 wins; and sixth with eight overtime ties.

Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets – I’m not going to repeat all of Mason numbers for you again (see Calder Trophy), but I will reiterate that he led all goalies with 10 shutouts.  Columbus was 4-5-2 before he went into the lineup on Nov. 5 and finished 41-31-10. He’s the biggest reason the Blue Jackets made the playoffs.

 

My Pick: Tim Thomas

Timmy was a beast in the crease this year! I think hes a lock for the Vezina.

Timmy was a beast in the crease this year! I think he's a lock for the Vezina.

I’d love to pick Mason here, but I think Thomas is more deserving.  He is a phenomenal goalie that led his team to the top of the Eastern Conference.  I think you can pretty much take Backstrom out of the equation.  This award comes down to Mason and Thomas, with Thomas taking home the prize. Mason is only 20 years-old, so he’ll have many more opportunities to bring this baby home.

And the winner is…Tim Thomas!

Did we really think anyone else was walking away with this baby? Congrats Drew Carey’s little brother!

 

Frank J. Selke Trophy, Top Defensive Forward

Nominees:

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings – Datsyuk was second in the NHL this season with 89 takeaways and posted 32 goals and 65 assists for 97 points, fourth in the NHL. Datsyuk was third in the NHL with a plus-34 rating, an important measure of defensive responsibility. He was ninth in winning in 56 percent of his faceoffs, important in keeping the puck out of the rival’s hands.

Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks – He had 26 goals and 33 assists for 59 points, 63rd in the NHL this season. Kesler was plus-8 and had two shorthanded goals. He won a valuable 54 percent of his faceoffs and ranked seventh among NHL forwards with 70 blocked shots. He tied for seventh with 74 takeaways.

Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers – Mike had a career year with 30 goals and 50 assists and was plus-22. Richards tied Chris Drury for the NHL lead among forwards with 90 blocked shots and finished 33rd with 147 hits. He was third among NHL forwards with 83 takeaways.

My Pick: Pavel Datsyuk

Datsyuk is the incumbent for the Selke Award.  Since this award isnt based on statistics, Im giving Pavel the nod.

Datsyuk is the incumbent for the Selke Award. Since this award isn't based on statistics, I'm giving Pavel the nod.

Out of the four awards in which Datsyuk is nominated, I think this is the one he takes home. According to the NHL, “The Selke Award is a subjective judgment, largely based on observation and not entirely fairly judged by statistics.”  So basically, you can throw all statistics out the window.  Datsyuk is a defensive-minded forward and the reigning Selke winner.  He takes home the hardware again.

And the winner is…Pavel Datsyuk!

The voters were right!  Pavel nabbed himself a Selke award!

 

Jack Adams Award, Coach of the Year

Nominees:

Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks – McLellan guided the Sharks to their fourth Pacific Division crown in the past seven years and to their first Western Conference title and first Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s best team during the regular season. Under McLellan, San Jose had its best power-play in five years, 24.2 percent effective, and finished fifth with 83.3 percent effectiveness on the penalty kill. They were nine points better than a year ago.

Claude Julien, Boston Bruins – Julien guided the Bruins to the top seed in the Eastern Conference in only his second season with Boston, with 116 points.  He led the Bruins from an eighth-place finish in the Eastern Conference a year ago to the front-runners of the Northeast Division and Eastern Conference.  He has guided young players like Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, David Krejci and Matt Hunwick into high caliber talents.

Andy Murray, St. Louis Blues – After losing Paul Kariya, Erik Johnson, T.J. Oshie, Eric Brewer and Andy McDonald to long term injuries, the outlook for the Blues’ season went from bad to worse. Murray rallied his troops from a terrible start to a playoff berth, producing the best second-half record in the league.  Murray also coached in his 700th NHL career game last season.

My Pick: Andy Murray

Murray has done the rounds in the NHL, so its about time hes rewarded for his hard work.

Murray has done the rounds in the NHL, so it's about time he's rewarded for his hard work.

McLellan and Julien had the talent and superstars, but Andy Murray didn’t have that luxury.  Murray took a bad team and got them to the playoffs.   Murray has been bounced all around the league and the world, so this is a feel-good story that deserves a happy ending.

And the winner is…Claude Julien!

Ok voters, you got me.  Julien was the big wiener! 

 

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, Skills and Sportsmanship

Nominees:

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning – St. Louis led the Lightning with 30 goals, 50 assists and 80 points. He had seven power-play goals and three game-winners and led all Lightning forwards with an average of 21:45 minutes of ice time. In his 10 NHL seasons, St. Louis has never taken more than 38 minutes in penalties and had only 14 minutes this year for a points-per-penalty minute ratio of 5.71.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings – He led the Red Wings with 65 assists, fifth in the NHL, and 97 points, fourth in the NHL, and his 32 goals were 23rd in the NHL. He led the Red Wings with a plus-34 rating, third in the NHL. Datsyuk had 11 power-play goals. Datsyuk led the League with 25 power-play assists and 36 power-play points. He also had a goal and an assist while playing shorthanded. He accumulated only 22 penalty minutes, for a points-per-penalty minute ratio of 4.4.

Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils – He played every game and finished third in the League with 45 goals and fifth with 95 points. Zach finished eighth in the NHL and second on the Devils with a plus-30 rating. His eight game-winning goals were seventh-best in the NHL. He led all Devils forwards with an average of 18:45 minutes of ice time and had only 24 penalty minutes all season, averaging 3.96 pts/PIM.

My Pick: Martin St. Louis

St. Louis is always there for his teammates and is a gentleman on the ice. Aww Martin is such a good guy!

St. Louis is always there for his teammates and is a gentleman on the ice. Aww Martin is such a good guy!

Despite Datsyuk winning the Byng for three consecutive years, I think St. Louis walks away with this one.  A star player on a last-place team, Martin has become a cornerstone in the Lightning’s rebuilding process.  According to the NHL, the Lady Byng rewards “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”  Datsyuk’s one fight this season, may have cost him this award.  Both St. Louis and Parise went fightless this year.  St. Louis is the only one of the nominees with zero fights in his career.

And the winner is…Pavel Datsyuk!

Well most of us had St. Louis, but it’s hard to dethrone the king of the Byng! 

 

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, Perseverance and Dedication to Hockey

Nominees:

Chris Chelios, Detroit Red Wings – Chelios, 47, has played 25 NHL seasons. He suffered a fractured tibia when he blocked a shot in a Sept. 30 preseason game, and missed the first 28 games of the season. He played only 28 games after returning Dec. 13 and did not register a point. His teams have made the playoffs in 24 of his 25 seasons. He is the oldest player in the NHL.

Richard Zednik, Florida Panthers – Zednik had his carotid artery virtually severed by teammate Olli Jokinen’s skate on Feb. 28, 2008, in a game against the Sabres. Jokinen tripped over a Buffalo player and his foot went high in the air, catching Zednik in the throat. When he got into surgery, Zednik had lost almost five pints of blood and had gone into shock. Doctors were close to losing him and said after surgery that it was a miracle that Jokinen’s sharp blade hadn’t also cut his jugular vein. He came back this season to score 17 goals and add 16 assists while going plus-2.

Steve Sullivan, Nashville Predators – Sullivan fragmented a spinal disc in a game against the Canadiens in early 2007. He played in his first game this past season on Jan. 10, 687 days after his initial injury. Sullivan missed 142 games while he underwent two back surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. He had 11 goals and 21 assists in 41 games, a 0.78 points-per-game that was just slightly lower than his 0.8 points-per-game career average.

My Pick: Richard Zednik

Zednik basically came back from near-death to play this season.  This award belongs to him!

Zednik basically came back from near-death to play this season. This award belongs to him!

Is there really any other pick?  Zednik was practically dead on the table, but came back to play the season after his injury.  Would you give this award to an old guy or a guy with a back problem over a man who had his throat sliced open and was millimeters away from death? No. Zeds, the Masterton is all yours, bud!

And the winner is…Steve Sullivan!

Uh, really?  We were all soo wrong.  Well, all but three of us.  Poor Zeds. He gets his throat sliced open and still doesn’t get an award out it! Oh well, like Laurie said he still has one of the sickest goals ever.

 

NHL Foundation Player Award, Contributions to Charitable Causes

Nominees:

Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings

Alex Kovalev, Montreal Canadiens

Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

Since this award isn’t about stats, but contributions to the community, I’m going to direct you to a link on the three nominees.  Here’s the NHL’s take on the nominees for the NHL Foundation Player Award. I could keeping going and going like the Energizer bunny about these three.  All of them have contributed so much to their communities, and that is why they’re nominated.

My Pick: Dustin Brown

 

Dustin contributed more than just his money to local charities, but he spends a lot of time working with kids in the LA area.

Dustin contributed more than just his money to local charities, but he spends a lot of time working with kids in the LA area.

I’m going with Dustin because, after reading through his contributions, I feel he dedicates the most time and energy toward his community.  He has already won some awards for his charity work in California, so he’s obviously making a difference.  I don’t think this one will be judged by who has the deepest pockets.  Instead the voters will go with who has the biggest heart!

And the winner is…Rick Nash!

Apparently they announced this one sometime before the show.  Whoops! I must have missed that memo.  Rick Nash was overseas, so they didn’t really acknowledge him besides a quick little note by the PA announcer.

 

And last, but certainly not least…

Hart Memorial Trophy, League MVP

Lester B. Pearson Award, Most Outstanding Player voted by the NHLPA

Nominees:

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals – Ovechkin repeated as the winner of the Rocket Richard Trophy by leading the NHL with 56 goals. His 110 points led the Capitals and were second in the NHL. The next nearest Capitals player was Nicklas Backstrom with 88. Ovechkin’s 54 assists were tenth-best in the NHL.  Alex led the league in shots with 528, but was only plus-eight. He had 19 power-play tallies, second in the NHL, with one short-handed goal. His 10 game-winning goals were third-best.

Evegeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins – Malkin led the NHL with 113 points and 78 assists and played in all 82 games. He had 14 power-play goals, eighth in the NHL, two short-handed goals and four game-winners. He took 290 shots, tenth-highest, and was plus-17. He had only 18 games without a point all season. Malkin led the NHL with 94 takeaways and his 39 blocked shots were six more than Datsyuk and seven more than Ovechkin.

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings – Datsyuk’s 65 assists ranked fifth this season. He was second a year ago and has been in the Top 10 the past four seasons. He was third in the NHL with a plus-34 rating.  He finished fourth among point leaders with 97.  His 32 goals were good for 23rd in the NHL.  While his numbers might not jump off the page, Datsyuk’s leadership skills and contributions to his team are what make him a prime candidate.

My Pick: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin is no stranger to the Hart or the Pearson trophies.  Obviously.

Ovechkin is no stranger to the Hart or the Pearson trophies. Obviously.

Call it blatant homerism, call it telling it like it is, but I’m betting on Ovi bringing home both awards.  The Hart is awarded to the “player adjudged most valuable to his team,” NOT the best overall player in the league.  This is where things get tricky.  Everyone is well aware of who else shares the ice with Geno.  And Datsyuk is just one of many superstars in Detroit.  Detroit is like one of those movies where all the characters are played by big-name Hollywood stars.  Ovechkin is one of the main reasons for the Capitals’ success.  He has a great supporting cast in Mike Green, Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom, but Ovi is the star of the show.  This is why he’ll win the Hart.  As for the Pearson, well that’s voted on by his peers. Ovi won the Sporting News Player of the Year Award, voted on by his fellow players.  He was also voted the best NHL Player by his Russian peers and by a panel of USA Today journalists.  He won The Hockey News Player of the Year, as well.   So is winning the Hart and Pearson so easy a caveman can do it?  You bet!

 

And the winner of the Pearson is…Alexander Ovechkin!

Looks like our voters were torn between Malkin and Ovechkin with the edge going to Malkin.  Well, at least some of you were right! (I know I was, at least!)

And the winner of the Hart is…Alexander Ovechkin!

YAY Ovi!! See, it is so easy a caveman can do it! Our voters were torn between Ovi and Geno for the Hart.  So half of you were right!

 

So watch the NHL Awards tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. EST on Versus and keep track of who wins.  Or if you live in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, feel free to stop by the Japer’s Rink/Puck Daddy Viewing Party at Bailey’s Pub and Grille, located in the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va. They’re giving away a bunch of free prizes, so I’m sure a fun time will be had by all. I’ll update this post with the winners after they’re announced.  Come back and see how well you did picking the winners!  Feel free to tell me how right (or wrong) I am with my picks in the comments.

Ok so I went 5-for-10. Not too bad for my first year predicting.  I really wanted to see Ovi win the Hart and Pearson, so I was happy those predictions were right.  I was a little sad to see Mike lose the Norris, but what can ya do?  There’s always next year.   Our Ladies… Readers went 4-5-1.  Not too shabby.

9 thoughts on “The 2009 NHL Awards Preview: Who Ya Got?

  1. Wow, I’m with you on every single one!

    Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils – He played every game and finished third in the League with 45 goals and fifth with 95 points. Zach finished eighth in the NHL and second on the Devils with a plus-30 rating. His eight game-winning goals were seventh-best in the NHL. He led all Devils forwards with an average of 18:45 minutes of ice time and had only 24 penalty minutes all season, averaging 3.96 pts/PIM. He is also hot.

    Fixed.

  2. Pam, I tried to avoid picking awards based on hotness. lol Parise is the reason I started to notice hot hockey players! I blame him.

    • I should mention that he’s my favorite hottie in all of sports! I suppose that could have to do with him playing for my favorite team.

  3. I actually agreed on everything! (Well, except that I picked Geno for the Pearson — he seems a less divisive character, and I didn’t want to pick *all* the same winners. :-D) The Foundation Award was the hardest, though — can we give them *all* an award?

    Also, I always approve of gratuitous Steckel.

  4. I’m with you on Ovechkin, Raven. Maybe it’s time the NHL calculated VORP. Such an interesting stat that I don’t quite understand completely (Crane? Minda?)

    I don’t normally tune in to the Awards, but I’ll watch this year… just to catch Tim Thomas in a suit. But that’s it, because I mean, have you seen the entertainment lineup? Chaka Khan? Huh?

    • Don’t forget Robin Thicke. When was the last time he had a hit song?

      I’ll be watching to see how hot Mike Green looks! lol I’m salivating just thinking about him in a suit!

  5. Raven, knowing your adoration for all things Green, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down and pointing at my screen at this. Of course, it’s pretty much a implicit understanding the Caps boys are the hottest, and aside from my rabid lust for the Kid, Stecks is still just about the hottest athlete on the planet. That’s right Beckham lovers – come and get me!

    100% with the Zednick call, and it must be mentioned still has one of the most awesome goals ever under his belt.

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