yankee hockey


Posted in awards, predictions by yankhockey on April 14, 2009

This little break between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the post-season is a great time to do a little award predicting. Of course, Alexander Ovechkin has already won the Rocket Richard scoring title, and Evgeni Malkin has won the Art Ross for overall scoring but there are still plenty of awards to hand out.


There’s one thing I can say for sure about the Vezina this year; it won’t be going to Martin Brodeur. As to who is going to receive it there are a few candidates. First lets get rid of some of the poseurs. Mikka Kiprusoff will not even come close to winning this even though he leads the league in wins. His other stats are not Vezina worth. Steve Mason will not win the Vezina even though there are some very good arguments in his favour. Because he will be winning a different award the GMs who vote for the Vezina will not vote for him. As to who will win the award there are three very real candidates: Tim Thomas, Evgeni Nabokov, and Roberto Luongo. Tim Thomas leads the league in save percentage and goals against average. Add to that his 36 wins and you’ve got yourself a very good case for a Vezina. Nabokov is second in wins, has a 2.4o goals against, and has seven shutouts. If we were to go on wins alone he would be a shoe in. Luongo leads all three in shutouts with 9 including his last two games, as well as having the longest shutout streak of the season. He has 33 and 13 losses in 52 games as he was injured a good part of the year. He also has a 2.34 goals against.

I believe this award will go to either Luongo or Thomas. Nabokov definitely deserves some serious consideration as well, but Thomas has shined all year, and when healthy and on his game Luongo has been the best goaltender in the league. My best guess… Thomas.


There have been a ton of good rookies this year. Bobby Ryan in Anaheim, Drew Doughty in LA. But the rookie of the year will be unanimously Steve Mason in Columbus. He leads the league in shutouts with a 2.29 goals against and 33 wins in his first year. If Columbus missed the post-season you could make a case for another rookie, but he dragged them into the playoffs this year and that, combined with his stats, is more then enough to earn him this trophy.


The Norris is going to go to Mike Green this year. Let’s just get that out of the way so we can get to the person it really should belong to: Shea Webber. Green is an absolutely amazing offensive defensemen and there’s not a team in the league that wouldn’t want him on their blueline. But there’s also not a team in the league that wouldn’t hesitate to put him out against the best players on the opposite team. This award is supposed to go to the best defensemen, not the one that can score the most goals. Webber not only can put up a lot of points he’s a defensive beast. He’s both one of the best defensive and offensive defensemen in the West if not the league and he deserves a real shot at this award. Too bad for him Green scored thirty goals this year.


This award will likely go to Joel Quennville in Chicago, Todd McClellan in San Jose, or Claude Julien in Boston with my money going to Julien. With almost the exact same Boston team Julien took them from eighth in the East to almost first in the league. The other two guys did a lot of good too what with Quennville bringing the ‘Hawks back to the playoffs and McClellan’s team winning the President’s Trophy. I think there should be some consideration for Ken Hitchcock in Columbus who not only brought them into the playoffs for the first time, but made them competitive too. Would anyone be surprised if they made it to the second round? Not me.


Pavel Datsyuk will be in the running again this year for the Selke, but along with him will be newcomers Ryan Kesler and Mike Richards. Picked 23rd and 24th respectively in 2003 these two forwards have had similar career arcs. Both are known throughout the league as tough shut-down forwards with an offensive upside. Both work the power play and the penalty kill. Both have had their numbers rocket up this year while becoming team leaders. Richards gets a slight edge thanks to leading the league in short handed goals (though Kesler is no slouch with 2 of is own), including a 5-3 short handed goal. If it goes to Datsyuk again then people just aren’t paying attention to what Richards does.


To the player that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice, the King Clancy is the first of the crap shoot awards in the NHL. It really could be just about anyone with an A or a C on the sweater. Even though he hasn’t played much this year, Joe Sakic is always a clear choice for this award because of all his charitable works. Jarome Iginla would also be a good choice this year. Even though he doesn’t officially wear the C, Roberto Luongo receiving this award would make a lot of fans happy.


My favourite award goes to the player who displays the most gentlemanly decorum on the ice. Sorry Sean Avery, you’re forever banned from even being in the same room as this award. Normally I’d say this award should go to Joe Sakic every year, but he was injured all year so I must choose another recipient. I choose Saku Koivu who is everyone’s favourite Fin. This guy always plays with class and grace, even when he’s high sticking someone. I honestly have no idea where this award is going, it’s a shot in the dark, but Koivu has a pretty good shot in my mind.


Going to the player who exemplifies perseverance (going once to Koivu who came back from cancer), the Masterton trophy is another one that is hard to gauge. I could suggest Mike Modano who had to persevere Sean Avery for half a year, but I think hockey writers (who vote on this award) won’t take that into consideration. It could go to Chris Chelios of Claude Lemiuex who don’t know how to quit. It could go to Martin Brodeur who had a horrible arm injury that kept him out for a long period of the season who then put a goose egg on the board his first game back. I’m sure it will be someone else entirely, someone out of left field. Those hockey writers love to throw curves.


This award goes to the best player in the league as voted on by the other players. Really it’s a popularity contest. It’s currently held by Ovechkin and it’s hard to see anyone else get it. Maybe Zach Parise or Jeff Carter. Maybe even the fore-mentioned Mike Richards. I could also see Patrick Marleau getting some consideration as well.

and finally the… HART:

To the MVP of the entire league, the Hart is a trophy whose recipient is argued about from the very first game of the year until the very first game of the next season. I can’t imagine why it would go to anyone other the Alexander Ovechkin again. If you want to argue that the award should go to the best player in the league regardless of the team he plays for then that is unquestionably Ovechkin. If you argue the award should go to the player that has the biggest impact on their team, again it is Ovechkin. If you argue it should go to the player that the fans love the most… Ovechkin. You’d could say it could go to Malkin, he certainly had more points (in more games), and he was the best player on his team, but Ovechkin is, and I’m only going to say this one more time this year, the best player in the entire sport worldwide. That’s my argument and I’m sticking to it.

So there are my award predictions. How will they turn out? Only time will tell.