Thursday, June 12, 2008

Awards Show Preview!

As tonight's NHL Awards show draws near (6pm on VS), two things are certain: bad comedians hosting, and horrible rock bands most Americans outside of Buffalo, Minnesota, Michigan and Washington haven't heard of.

One thing is certain though, Alexander Ovechkin has already won two awards, and those shiny trophies will be on display at the Kettler Capital Iceplex on Friday during your lunch break. As far as the other trophies, well, here's my predictions.

Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player, as voted on by the writers)
Nominees:
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Jaromie Iginla, Calgary Flames
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

My prediction: Ovechkin
Who should win: Ovechkin

Really isn't a question. Malkin was great for a few months when the team needed him, but the MVP of that team was Conklin, not Malkin. Iginla doesn't feel like an MVP candidate, more like a token Western Conference guy.

Vezina Trophy (Best goaltender)
Nominees:
Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils
Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

My prediction: Nabokov
Who should win: Brodeur

Brodeur is the best goalie in league history. Even if he doesn't win the Vezina, he should win a special award for playing so well behind a defense that had Johnny Oduya seeing top pair minutes. Unfortunately, the Vezina is a tricky trophy to predict since it is the only award voted on by the GMs. My gut just tells me that Nabokov finally wins it this year.

Norris Trophy (best defenseman)
Nominees:
Nick Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins
Dion Phaneuf, Calgary Flames

My prediction: Nick Lidstrom
Who should win: Lidstrom

Lidstrom is a living legend on the blue line. He may not have had the most goals, but he had the most points and was an amazing shut down defenseman at the same time. Simply look no further than the skid Detroit hit with him out of the lineup for further proof. He probably should have been a finalist for the Hart Trophy as well.

Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year)
Nominees:
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Johnathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

My prediction: Patrick Kane
Who should win: Patrick Kane

Toews was in the hunt for winning until he missed time with an injury. In a year with no standout, the guy that didn't get points playing on a line with Alexander Ovechkin is going to be win the award.

Lady Bing Award (most gentlemanly/best sportsmanship)
Nominees:
Jason Pominvile, Buffalo Sabres
Pavel Datsuyk, Detroit Red Wings
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lighting

My prediction: Martin St. Louis
Who should win: Jason Pominville

I don't really understand why St. Louis is up for this. He's just as whiny as any of a number of players in the league. Datsuyk certainly is a class act, but it's easier to show class when you win every game. Things weren't so easy for Jason Pominville this year, missing out on the playoffs after his team made consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference finals. This award is extremely difficult to predict.

Jack Adams Trophy (best Coach)
Nominees:
Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings
Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals
Guy Carbonneau, Montreal Canadiens

Who will win: Mike Babcock
Who should win: Bruce Boudreau

The word going around is that Mike Babcock is walking away with it. And if it wasn't for that stretch when they went 1-8-2, I'd agree with you. But when you take a team from last place in the league at Thanksgiving, and steer them to the division title, well that to me is how you say "Jack Adams."

Bill Masterton Trophy (perseverance, dedication to hockey)
Nominees:
Chris Chelios, Detroit Red Wings
Jason Blake, Toronto Maple Leafs
Fernando Pisani, Edmonton Oilers

Who should win: Fernando Pisani
Who will win: Jason Blake

Without taking anything away from the gentlemen who are up for the award, there are 3 easy ways to get nominated for this award: get cancer, get a weird disease that no one has heard of, get old. And all three are demonstrated this year.

Lester B. Pearson Award (best player as voted on by the NHLPA),
Nominees:
Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

Who should win: Ovechkin
Who will win: Ovechkin

See the arguments above for Hart.


Tomorrow we'll talk about how my predictions are. If I guess correctly on every trophy except the Lady Bing, I'll consider that a win.

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