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NHL End of Year Awards

This article has been submitted by Chris Pope.

The 2008-09 National Hockey League season has come to an end and another team has chiselled their names into Lord Stanley and lifted the Holy Grail over their heads after an invigorating post season.

Every year upon the completion of the season, the NHL hands out certain awards and deems it necessary to do so on a nationally televised broadcast that will most likely bring in almost as many viewers as a new episode of Bob Saget’s Full House. Fans love to debate on who should have gotten each award and how this person got robbed and so on so forth. Most of the awards this year are almost automatic – take note Mr. Ovechkin, you should buy some lumber for a new trophy case for your son.

I felt the need to go through the main awards that are being distributed tonight and make my opinion known as to who I think should be awarded the hardware.

HART TROPHY: Awarded to the player judged best in the league.
Nominees – Jarome Iginla, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin

Ovechkin almost single handily led a terrible team in the Washington Capitals to a division championship and a playoff berth. Malkin picked up the slack for the Pens when Crosby went down and had maybe the hottest three weeks of any player. Iginla led his Flames under the radar again – only two points shy of 100 - like he always does and quietly earned himself a nomination for the best player in the league.

POPE’S PICK – If Ovechkin doesn’t win I’ll quit watching hockey. Okay, well maybe I’ll keep watching the minors.

VEZINA TROPHY: Presented to the league’s top goaltender.
Nominees – Evgeni Nabokov, Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur

Nabokov led the league in wins and goals against average on an offensive minded team and was easily part of the hottest team going into the playoffs. Lundqvist was the only thing the Rangers could rely on this season as they had trouble putting talent with more talent. King Henry bailed them out all season long. Brodeur again led the league in games played – tied with Nabokov with 77 – and was only .03% off of Nabokov for the GAA lead. His .920 save percentage was tops among goalies who played over 60 games.

POPE’S PICK – I think Nabokov may deserve it more, but the fact that Brodeur only allowed five more goals on over 280 more shots and the fact that he is Marty Brodeur will be enough for Brodeur to add one more stamp to his Hall-of-Fame career.

NORRIS TROPHY: Awarded to the top defensemen in the league.
Nominees – Nick Lidstrom, Dion Phaneuf, Zdeno Chara

All three defensemen quarterback their teams on offence and on defence. They all can hit, score and make the big defensive stop when called upon. All three of the nominees earned over 50 points this season.

POPE’S PICK – Hands down Nick Lidstrom. Nick had as many assists as Phaneuf had points. He beat both Phaneuf and Chara in plus/minus by 28 and 26 respectively.

CALDER TROPHY: Given to the rookie judged top in the league.
Nominees – Patrick Kane, Nick Backstrom, Jonathan Toews

All three of these nominees are going to be outstanding hockey players and just fantastic to watch them mature and grow into the dominant forces they have already shown they can be. Kane and Toews together are the younger version of Sid and Gino. If Backstrom is smart he will take whatever Washington will give him for the next however many years to stay playing with Ally O, which could lead to many Chicago – Washington Finals. Yeah I said it, Chicago – Washington Finals.

POPE’S PICK – If Toews doesn’t get hurt during the year, he takes it home. Consolation – it’s still going to Chicago, Patrick Kane will win the R.o.Y honors.

LADY BYNG TROPHY: Given to the league’s most gentlemanly player (aka pussy) (aka whoever glues their gloves on the tightest.
Nominees: Jason ‘POPULATION OF” Pominville, Martin St. Louis, Pavel Datsyuk

Before the playoffs began I would have said Datsyuk would earn his third straight LBT but watching him rough it up all finals long – highlighted by a near drop of the mitts with Mr. Gary ‘I’m Horrible at Hockey but for Some Reason Everyone Still Loves Me Even Though I Haven’t Accomplished Anything Since 1993-94’ Roberts (Editor’s Note: that is going to start a feud between two of my writers, great), – it made me re-think my decision.

POPE’S PICK – Derek Boogard. No I’m kidding; Datsyuk will take this home again despite showing us all a different side of him in the playoffs.

FRANK SELKE TROPHY: Awarded to the top defensive forward.
Nominees: Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, John Madden

Datsyuk and Zetterberg form what proved to be the deadliest 1-2 punch both defensively and offensively combined. I think they are both awesome individually but together they’re damn near unstoppable. Madden has always been a large part of the Devils penalty kill ever since he went to the Swamp.

POPE’S PICK – Datsyuk. Don’t ask me why because I don’t really know… gut feeling I guess.

JACK ADAMS AWARD: Presented to the league’s best coach.
Nominees: Mike Babcock, Guy Carbonneau, Bruce Boudreau

First place team in the West? Check. First place team in the East? Check. Underdog team that had a turn around season and barely snuck into the playoffs? Check. The NHL isn’t predictable at all. Babcock is a great coach with a greater team. Carbonneau has the playing experience and should almost get the award jus for putting up with a GM that got less for Cristobel Huet than the Leafs got for Hal Gill.

POPE’S PICK: Easily Bruce Boudreau.

BILL MASTERSON TROPHY: Given to the player who shows perseverance to hockey.
Nominees: Jason Blake, Chris Chelios, Fernando Pisani

All three over came major odds this season and I truly do respect that. Pisani was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in July. Chelios is 100 – really he is only 46 – and in better shape than almost everyone. Jason Blake was diagnosed with leukemia and didn’t miss a game.

POPE’S PICK: Jason Blake - you get diagnosed with the deadliest disease in the world and still manage to put in 82, good on ya my boy.

LESTER B. PEARSON: Given to the NHL’s top player voted by the NHLPA.
Nominees: Jarome Iginla, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin

I believe this award is simply made up by the NHLPA to make clear who the true MVP of the league is just in case the media screws it up. Honestly.

POPE’S PICK: “He’s one of those guys that comes down on you one on one and you’re actually a little bit scared.” - John-Michael Liles

“More and more players are talking about this guy like they’re fans of his.” - Brendan Shanahan.

ALLY O will indeed win this award to add to his Art Ross Trophy (most points) and the Maurice “The Rocket” Richard Trophy (most goals).

This article has been submitted by Chris Pope.

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7 Responses to “NHL End of Year Awards”

  1. Pope Says:

    Pretty sure I went 9 for 9..

  2. Austin Kent Says:

    Like father like son, we both wrote about the same subject. If you’re interested in seeing how the NBA should take a page from hockey’s book (but only one page, we’ll pass on the whole impending bankruptcy part), then head on over to HoopsAddict.com.

    There’s something about the Award Ceremony that makes me wish the NBA do something similar.


  3. stu Says:

    9 for 9 means nothing when you lose all your credibility by ripping on Full House.

  4. Pope Says:

    Bob Saget sucks … the only good thing about Full House were Uncle Jesse and the Olsen twins (15 some odd years later)

  5. Blake Murphy Says:

    Thinking about uncle jesse and the twins…in the same way??

  6. paul Says:

    ovechkin’s awesome, i kaka’ed in my pants

  7. Pope Says:

    Ovechkin is indeed filthy!

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