Now Blogging at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NHL Awards

The NHL presented their annual awards last night in Las Vegas.  The full voting results are here.  At the end of the regular season, I made my predictions for the award finalists and winners.  Let's see how I did. 

The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
2. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
3. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes

And the winner is:

Runners up:  Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes, and Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils.

I picked the winner and all 3 finalists, I just switched the #2 and #3 spots.

Ryan Miller (126 voting points) has been dominant at his position and is the major reason the offense-starved Sabres won their division.  This is his first Vezina. 

Ilya Bryzgalov was runner up (79 points) after a strong season saw him drag a low-budget Coyotes team to 50 wins and the playoffs after most had left the bankrupt franchise for dead.

Four-time Vezina winner Martin Brodeur (32 points) played the most games (77) this season and his team allowed the fewest goals in the league, giving him his 5th William Jennings Trophy

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.  The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

And the winner is:

Runners up:  Brad Richards, Dallas Stars, and Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings.

I picked the winner and the runner-up, but didn't expect Datsyuk to be in the top 3.

Four-time Lady Byng runner-up Martin St. Louis (971 voting points) won his first award with 29 goals and 94 points with 12 Penalty Minutes (PIM) in 82 games.

2004 Lady Byng winner Brad Richards (449) scored 24 goals and 91 points with 18 PIM in 80 games.

The winner of the last 4 Lady Byng awards, Pavel Datsyuk, finished 3rd in the voting (438) after I predicted a 4th or 5th place finish for him. Datsyuk scored 27 goals and 70 points with 18 PIM in 82 games.

My #3 pick, Patrick Kane, scored 30 goals and 88 points with 20 PIM in 82 games, and finished 12th in the voting with 55 points.

The ever classy Nicklas Lidstrom (215 points) was the most-voted defender in 5th place; he would have been the first defenseman to win since Red Kelly in 1954 and only the third defenseman ever.

The most-voted goaltender was Ryan Miller in 19th place (14).  One of my favorite non-Capitals, Devils defenseman Andy Greene, finished 41st in the voting (5), and Capitals' center Nicklas Backstrom received one 5th place vote, finishing 54th in the voting. 

#19 Nicklas Backstrom

The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.  Players are only eligible if they are 26 years old or younger by September 15 of their rookie season and cannot have played any more than 25 games previously in any single season, nor have played in more than six games in two separate preceding seasons in any major professional league.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
2. Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres
3. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings, and Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche.

I picked two of the three finalists, and my winner and runner-up were reversed.  My #3 picked finished #4. 

Tyler Myers (1178 voting points), a 6'8 defenseman playing a leading role in all 82 games with the Sabres, led all rookies in average ice time with 23:44 a night and in assists with 37.  He finished third among all rookies with 48 points, and he led rookie defensemen in all offensive categories and finished second in Plus/Minus (+/-) with a +13.

I thought goalie Jimmy Howard would win for playing 63 games with a 37-15-10 record, a 2.26 GAA and a .924 Sv% with 3 shutouts, but he finished second with 778 points.

Second runner-up with 755 points, center Matt Duchene, led the rookie scoring race with 24 goals and 55 points, a +1 rating, and only 16 PIM. 

My #3 pick, Tuukka Rask, led the league (all goalies, not just rookies) in GAA (1.97) and Sv% (.931).  He only played 45 games, but his 22-12-5 record and 5 shutouts on an offense-starved team helped him to a 4th place finish (339 points). 

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Mike Green, Washington Capitals
2. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
3. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Mike Green, Washington Capitals, and Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings.  

My homer pick of Mike Green was almost right, I switched the top-2 here and my #3 pick was #4.  

Duncan Keith (1096 voting points) finished 2nd in the league in average ice time per game (26:35) in all 82 games and finished second among defensemen in assists (55) and points (69).  He also finished with a +21 rating.

Mike Green (831 points) again finished as a better than point-per-game defenseman this season with 76 points in 75 games to lead all defensemen, and he also led in goals (19), assists (57), powerplay goals (10), powerplay assists (25), and powerplay points (35).  He also finished 2nd among NHL defensemen with a +39, 9th in average ice-time per game (25:41).

Doughty scored 16 goals and 59 points for the Kings as he finished 3rd with 662 points. 

My #3 pick, Nick Lidstrom scored 9 goals, 49 points, +22 in 25:25 of ice per game in every game, and just 24 PIM.  Oh, and he's 39 years old.  The six-time winner still has his all-around game and got enough voting points (303) to finish 4th.

Mike Green's partner, Washington Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz finished 16th in the Norris voting after leading the NHL in +/- (+50), garnering a 4th place vote. 

 #52 Mike Green       #55 Jeff Schultz  

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

Predicted Winner:
Jose Theodore, Washington Capitals

And the winner is:

Goalie Jose Theodore had the most compelling case for the award.  In a previous post on February 3rd, I explained his case for the award.  Theodore is a true competitor, having won the Vezina and Hart Trophies in 2002, but he faced a battle he just couldn't win last summer when he lost his infant son to complications from a premature birth.  With much less time spent conditioning in the summer than he would have liked, Theodore stumbled out of the gate, showing a clear lack of focus and struggling with routine plays.  With the leeway from the team to handle his affairs, Theodore found his solace at the rink and persevered.  He strung together a 20-0-3 unbeaten streak lasting three months and finished the season with 30 wins.  While he is the starting goalie for the Stanley Cup favorites, his most lasting mark on the world could be his foundation, Saves for Kids, to donate money to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the National Children's Medical Center. Theodore is the first Capital to win the award and we wish him well as he leaves DC this summer. 

The other two finalists were Jed Ortmeyer of the San Jose Sharks and Kurtis Foster of the Tampa Bay Lightning.  My honorable mention was Jonas Gustavsson of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
2. Chris Drury, New York Rangers
3. Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks, and Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins.

I predicted Datsyuk would win again and predicted Staal to finish 3rd.  I missed out on Kesler, but he was a good pick. 

Pavel Datsyuk (688 voting points) has won the last two awards in large part on the strength of his takeaways and faceoff prowess.  Nothing has changed this year, Datsyuk is 12th in the league with a 55.1% faceoff win percentage and led the league by a wide margin with 132 takeaways.  He also scored 70 points and averaged just 44 seconds of Penalty Kill time a game

Vancouver's #2 center Ryan Kesler was #2 in takeaways with 83 and #13 in faceoffs at 55.1% to go along with 75 points and 2:39 of PK time a game.  Kesler was a close second with 655 voting points.

I would argue Jordan Staal is the best #2 center in the league who plays on the third line.  He scored 49 points in 82 games, led the Pens with a +19, and was the #3 forward with 3:20 of shorthanded ice time per game.  He has healthy numbers with 121 hits, 41 blocked shots, and a 41-31 Takeaway to Giveaway ratio, but is only a 48.3% faceoff man.  He garnered 528 voting points. 

My #2 pick, Chris Drury, was #9 among forwards in shorthanded ice time and #1 in blocked shots (97), #21 in faceoffs (52.9%) faceoff win percentage and he had a 58-17 Takeaway to Giveaway ratio.  If not for the plus/minus (-10) and missing the playoffs, he may have finished higher than 25th in the voting (15 points). 

As it happened, Capitals' center Nicklas Backstrom finished higher than Drury in the voting, coming in at 10th place (51 points), and even received a 1st place vote.  Backis had 54 takeaways, 62 blocked shots, 90 hits, and a 49.9% faceoff winning percentage with 1:05 on the PK.

Also receiving a first-pace vote was Alex Ovechkin (28th place, 13 points), who posted 185 hits (19th) and 66 takeaways (10th), but only 3 seconds of PK time a game.

Eric Fehr also got some love, finishing 33rd (10 points) on the strength of a 39-9 takeaway to giveaway ratio and 34 seconds of penalty kill time for the entire season

#8 Alex Ovechkin        #16 Eric Fehr    

The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes
2. Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
3. Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators, and Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche.

Former Capital Dave Tippett took over for Wayne Gretzky at the beginning of the season, which is intimidating enough, but he took a no-name team most left to the vultures in the desert to 50 wins, 107 points, and home-ice advantage in the playoffs.  Phoenix had not made the playoffs since 2002.

Runner-up Barry Trotz has been a pillar of stability for the Nashville Predators for the past decade.  He guided the Predators to a 47-win, 100-point season with a budget lineup and ownership issues. 

The second runner-up is much like the first, rookie coach and former Capital Joe Sacco took over the Colorado Avalanche at the beginning of the season and most pundits expected the team to be too young to compete for the playoffs.  Sacco's team jumped out of the gate to an early division lead and played well enough down the stretch to make it into the last playoff spot.  If not for the weak ending and a carbon copy story in Phoenix, the award would be Sacco's.  Kudos should also go to his assistant coach, former Caps captain Steve Konowalchuk.

 Joe Sacco                          Steve Konowalchuk

My #3 pick, Lindy Ruff, I thought did a marvelous job winning the Northeast Division with a goalie and little offense.  While the scorers eventually turned on the jets late in the season, for a long time third and fourth liners were producing as much as the top line players. The people who matter voted him 7th place (13 voting points).  Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau finished in 10th with 7 points. 

Bruce Boudreau

The Lester B. Pearson Award was renamed the Ted Lindsay Award and is presented annually to the "most outstanding player" in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players' Association.

Predicted order of finish:
1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
2. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
3. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, and Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

I got the winner and another finalist, I had Miller and not Crosby. 

There are a cluster of players at the top this year, aided by Ovechkin missing 10 games, and the two suspensions may make his fellow players less likely to vote for him this season, but he is still the most outstanding player in the league.   With another 50 goal season he finished 3rd in the league, just 1 goal behind the co-leaders.  He also finished tied for second in the points race with 109 points, just 3 behind Sedin, but goals go a longer way than assists.  He was the best player on the best team, the highest scoring player on the highest scoring team, the top powerplay goal scorer (13) on the league's top powerplay, and scored the most game winning goals (7) on the winningest team.  He led the league in shots on goal again with 368.  Perhaps most importantly, he became the team captain in January and the team went 30-4-6 since, half the record of the NHL record-setting 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens who finished 60-8-12, the best season ever.   His offense did not come at the expense of defense, Ovie finished with a +45 rating, #2 in the league, and he finished 29th in the league with 185 hits.  He also blocked 20 shots and had a 66-76 Takeaway to Giveaway ratio. 

Henrik Sedin led the league in scoring and won the Art Ross Trophy with 112 points on 29 goals and 83 assists.  He did this without his twin brother and linemate Daniel for a quarter of the season.  While sportswriters may have trouble seeing Western Conference games, the players know what's going on.  He also finished 8th in the league with a +35. 

Crosby is the Rocket Richard Trophy winner and had 109 points.  Crosby was integral in his team's success this season, and they made the playoffs.  Crosby got the job done at both ends of the ice and won 55.9% of his faceoffs.  He is the team captain and he had to make do without several key players who were out with injury.

My #2 pick, Ryan Miller, is a rock-star this season leading an offensively-challenged team to a division title and he should be the Vezina Trophy winner.  He has amazing numbers and is an excellent team leader.  Without him, the Sabres do not even make the playoffs.

The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Predicted Finalists:
1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
2. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

And the winner is:

Runners-up:  Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, and Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

I missed the boat on this one, but my 1-2-3 picks finished 2-3-4, as Ovechkin was edged out by Sedin, 894-834.  Crosby finished 3rd with 729 and Miller came in 4th with 505 voting points. 

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom finished 11th in the voting with 10 points, Mike Green finished 14th with 5. 

NHL All-Star Teams:

Predicted First Team:
C - Henrik Sedin, Vancouver
LW - Alexander Ovechkin, Washignton
RW - Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
D - Mike Green, Washington
D - Duncan Keith, Chicago
G - Ryan Miller - Buffalo

Actual First Team
C - Henrik Sedin, Vancouver
LW - Alexander Ovechkin, Washignton
RW - Patrick Kane, Chicago 
D - Mike Green, Washington
D - Duncan Keith, Chicago
G - Ryan Miller - Buffalo

I predicted a 2nd Team berth for Patrick Kane, who edged Martin St. Louis in the voting 397-348 to push him to the 2nd team. 

Predicted Second Team:
C - Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
LW - Patrick Marleau, San Jose
RW - Patrick Kane, Chicago
D - Nick Lidstrom, Detroit
D - Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
G - Martin Brodeur, New Jersey

Actual Second Team:
C - Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
LW - Daniel Sedin, Vancouver
RW - Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
D - Nick Lidstrom, Detroit
D - Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
G - Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix

Ilya Bryzgalov made the team over Martin Brodeur (371-136). Daniel Sedin edged Patrick Marleau 153-151 at left wing, but Marleau also got 3 points in the voting at right wing, finishing 11th in the voting at that spot.

Nicklas Backstrom finished 4th in the voting at center.  Alex Semin finished 6th in the voting at Left Wing.  Interestingly, Semin and Ovechkin both got points at right wing, too, finishing 9th and 10th respectively.  Jeff Schultz finished 12th in the voting at defenseman. 

Predicted and Actual All-Rookie Team:
F - John Tavares, New York Islanders
F - Matt Duchene, Colorado
F - Niclas Bergfors, New Jersey and Atlanta
D - Tyler Myers, Buffalo
D - Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers
G - Jimmy Howard, Detroit

No comments:

Post a Comment