Home HockeyBuzz Register Login
CA • United States • 2009 Years Old • Male
Note: Since my last name is Grimm, the name is a takeoff on my name and the music awards of a similar name. These are not predictions, nor are they any kind of announcement of the actual awards.

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player): Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Runners-up: Joe Thornton (San Jose), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh)

In the end, it was not even close.

The only thing that could keep Ovechkin from winning the Hart Trophy was the Capitals missing the playoffs. When the Caps were in 14th place in the conference at Thanksgiving, the playoffs looked like a dream.

Thanks to Ovechkin and new coach Bruce Boudreau -- more on that later -- the Caps eventually won the Southeast Division, grabbing the East's third seed in the process. To say Ovechkin led the way would be an understatement.

He led the league with 65 goals, the highest total in 12 years. He led the league with 112 points. He posted an impressive +28, and despite being among the league leaders in hits, he finished with only 40 penalty minutes. Ovechkin also had 43 more points than the next highest scoring Capital -- his linemate Nicklas Backstrom.

Considering the low-scoring nature of this season's NHL, Ovechkin's season was of historic proportions.

Joe Thornton led a middling San Jose offense with 96 points, while Evgeni Malkin posted remarkable numbers (47-59--106) and carried the Penguins while Sidney Crosby was injured.

Calder (Rookie of the Year): Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Runners-up: Nicklas Backstrom (Washington), Peter Mueller (Phoenix)

It simply is not possible to separate the duo. Toews and Kane not only made hockey in Chicago popular again, they have the potential to make the Blackhawks perennial contenders for years to come.

The two linemates fed off each other, with Kane (21-51--72) posting the higher totals as a result of Toews (24-30--54) missing 18 games with an injury. The Hawks slumped with half of the duo missing, and that slump unquestionably cost them a playoff berth.

Kane's speed and vision is the perfect complement to Toews' goal scoring ability and all-around game. Perhaps it is too easy to pick a duo for this award, but in this case, it only seems appropriate.

Backstrom posted 69 points while playing on a line with Ovechkin, while Mueller (22-32--54) helped keep the Coyotes in the playoff race well into March.

Norris (Top Defenseman): Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Runners-up: Dion Phaneuf (Calgary), Brian Campbell (San Jose/Buffalo)

They might as well rename this award the Lidstrom Trophy.

After all, he has enough of them. But year in and year out, Lidstrom makes it tough to pick anyone else. This year, he led all blueliners with 60 assists and 70 points while posting a +40.

Just another year for the so-called cerebral assassain. Lidstrom out-thinks opposing players at both ends of the ice, and the results show.

Detroit general manager Ken Holland has joked he will retire minutes after Lidstrom retires, and it is easy to understand the genesis of the comment.

Phaneuf anchored Calgary's blueline with 60 points and 112 penalty minutes, while Campbell (8-54--62) made a huge impact in San Jose after the trade deadline, posting nearly a point per game with the Sharks.

Jack Adams (Coach of the Year): Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals
Runners-up: Guy Carbonneau (Montreal), Mike Babcock (Detroit)

This one was tough -- very tough.

With a month left in the season, Carbonneau was an obvious choice. He led the Canadiens to the best record in the Eastern Conference, and did it while playing an entertaining style that eschewed the all-too-prevalent dump-and-chase for a more offensive minded system.

Yet it is impossible to overlook what Boudreau has done. The career minor league coach finally got a shot at the NHL on Thanksgiving, and he made the most of his opportunity.

Boudreau scrapped Washington's dull, structured system and turned his team loose. When you have a player like Ovechkin, that only makes sense.

The result? The team had fun, the fans had fun, the owner had fun, the arena staff had fun, and Boudreau had fun. Did we mention how much fun Boudreau brought to the game?

Babcock led the Red Wings to yet another President's Trophy, and did so with a dominating puck-possession style of play.

Selke (Top Defensive Forward): Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks
Runners-up: Samuel Pahlsson (Anaheim), Daniel Cleary (Detroit)

It might seem strange for a Selke winner to come from a non-playoff team, but consider the numbers.

Sharp posted impressive offensive totals (36-26--62) and finished tenth in plus/minus at +23 -- by far the highest of anyone on a non-playoff team.

Penalty killing? Check. His 7 shorthanded goals tied for the league lead with Daniel Alfredsson. Thanks to Sharp, the Hawks became a formidable threat while short-handed, causing teams to become more conservative on the power play.

Pahlsson missed 28 games with injuries, but when he returned, the Ducks found last season's form. Without Pahlsson, Anaheim might not have been a playoff team this year. Cleary (20-22--42) was +21 for the season, and Detroit faltered greatly during his mid-season absence.

Vezina (Top Goaltender): Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks
Runners-up: Martin Brodeur (New Jersey), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Anaheim)

Critics will point to the middling .910 save percentage, but Nabokov got the job done for an often offensively challenged San Jose squad.

His 2.14 goals against average was third in the league, and Nabokov always seemed to come up with the big save at the right time. Following several seasons of splitting time with Vesa Toskala, Nabokov was handed the reins this year, seeing action in a league-high 77 games.

Brodeur also had 77 appearances, posting a 2.17 goals against and .920 save percentage. Giguere's posted a 2.12 goals against and .922 save percentage behind the league's best blueline brigade.

Executive of the Year: Rocky Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks
Runners-up: Paul Holmgren (Philadelphia), Doug Wilson (San Jose)

Typically, executive of the year is code for best general manager. Not this year.

Wirtz took control of the Hawks following the death of his father, Bill Wirtz, and wasted no time making changes. With weeks, Chicago had home games on television, a new marketing director, a new organizational philosophy, and sold out games at the United Center.

By the end of the year, Chicago's average attendance had soared to 16,814 -- a significant increase from last year's 12,727. The numbers are understated, as the first month of the season continued to draw half-full crowds at the United Center. By the end of the year, sellouts were the norm.

Sure, Toews and Kane had something to do with the increase. But the most important issue was home games on television. With modern NHL economics, most fans cannot afford to attend each home game. It only seems natural they would want to see the rest on television, and if they cannot, fans will lose interest.

That problem is fixed. All 82 games will be televised next season -- and in high-definition yet.

Holmgren did an impressive job in retooling last year's cellar dwellers into a playoff team, as the Flyers grabbed the sixth seed in the East. Wilson pulled off a deadline deal for Brian Campbell, and the Sharks have just one regulation loss since that time. His signing of Jeremy Roenick also turned out to be far more significant than almost anyone expected.
Filed Under:   NHL   Ovechkin   awards  
April 8, 2008 10:28 PM ET | Delete
Executive of the Year:Paul Holmgren hands down! Is team shattered the previous recored of biggest point gain from one season to another! His team made the playoffs with some of his amazing trades over the last two years!
April 9, 2008 5:22 PM ET | Delete
Holmgren has made mistakes in the past 2 years as well...
April 9, 2008 9:51 PM ET | Delete
There's no doubt that Holmgren has taken a franchise that was in the cellar and turned it around in one season. It's hard to overlook what Wirtz not only did for the organization, but for the fans though. I'd agree with Wirtz on this one solely for the fact that he's revived, not only the team, but the fan base as well.
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment.

Blog Archive