Here's a quick bit of fluff, as I attempt to pick my choices for major NHL award winners.
Hart Trophy Finalists:
Jarome Iginla, Calgary; Alexander Ovechkin, Washington; Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa.
My Pick: Ovechkin.
Ovechkin is the most exciting player in the game and he is the Capitals. Not only is he supremely talented, but he plays the game with a passion and level of pure joy that should resonate with every fan in the NHL.
Norris Trophy Finalists:
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit; Brian Rafalski Detroit; Jay Bouwmeester, Florida
My Pick: Lidstrom
I mean, c'mon....
Vezina Trophy Finalists:
Marty Turcon, Dallas; Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose
My Pick: Turco
Turco has split time with Mike Smith a bit, while Nabokov has played just about every minute for the Sharks. I pick Turco, because the guy seems incapable of having a bad game. So far, this was easily the hardest one to choose.
Calder Trophy Finalists:
Peter Mueller, Phoenix; Patrick Kane, Chicago; Alexander Edler, Vancouver
My Pick: Edler. This was a lot harder than the Vezina. It's so damned close, I basically tossed a dart. Others I considered: Tobias Enstrom, Jonathan Toews, Nik Backstrom and Matt Niskanen. Excellent crop of rookies this year.
Jack Adams Finalists:
Wayne Gretzky, Phoenix; Joel Quenneville, Colorado; Ken Hitchcock, Columbus
My Pick: Quenneville. Take a young team, lose guys like Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth, not to mention your best young player, Paul Stastny, and still be in the playoff hunt? That is some PURE D coaching skill on display.
Masterton: Jason Blake, Toronto....Dude has been playing with freaking Leukemia.
Art Ross: My guess is Alfredsson, if the Capital Punishment line stays healthy.
Selke: My pick would be Pavel Datsyuk. The guy is an unbelievable two way player.
Now, for my Anti-Awards:
Hurt Trophy, LEAST Valuable Player: Michal Handzus, Los Angeles. The Kings are paying Zeus $4mm this year for 5 goals, 11 assists and a -20.
The Fitzpatrick Trophy, Worst Defenseman: Steve McCarthy, Atlanta. He only sees 15 minutes a night, but this offensive defenseman has racked up an ugly -24 rating to go along with his 5 assists on the year.
The Steph Beauregard Memorial Award, Worst Goalie: We have a 3 way tie!!! Andrew Raycroft, Toronto; Marc Denis, Tampa Bay and Ray Emery, Ottawa. Emery's performance on the ice has been bad, but what really got our eye was his off the ice performance.
The Ted Sator Cup, Worst coaching job: Jacques Martin, Florida Panthers.