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Friday, June 22, 2012

2012 NHL Award Winners and Voting Totals – And my Comments and Picks

Art Ross Trophy – Player with the Most Points in the Season

1. Evgeni Malkin – 109
2. Steven Stamkos – 97
3. Claude Giroux – 93
4. Jason Spezza – 84
5. Ilya Kovalchuk – 83

Maurice Richard Trophy – Most Goals in the Season

1. Steven Stamkos – 60
2. Evgeni Malkin – 50   
3. Marian Gaborik – 41
4. James Neal – 40
5. Alex Ovechkin - 38

Ted Lindsey Award – Best Player in the League as Voted by Fellow Players

Evgeni Malkin

Malkin had a great year but too bad he took his foot off the gas at the end, and it was a shame that his play in the playoffs wasn’t near as spectacular. In the playoffs he admitted that he was really nervous, but he needed to put that away mentally and just work harder. When Crosby first returned to the line-up, Malkin played well but then I believe he got caught-up with the media hype about Crosby returning and people saying that Crosby was the best in the world. In fact, Malkin had previously convinced himself that Crosby was the best in the world and was stating that to media. In my opinion, Malkin needs to believe that he is the best, set some goals, and work as hard as he can to achieve them.

Hart Trophy – Player Deemed Most Valuable to His Team in the Regular Season – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association in all NHL Cities at End of the Regular Season

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Evgeni Malkin, PIT 1,473 (144-4-1-0-0)
2. Steven Stamkos, T.B. 598 (1-54-24-24-18)
3. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 556 (3-35-36-28-17)
4. Claude Giroux, PHI 458 (0-25-34-28-29)
5. Jonathan Quick,
L.A. 357 (1-22-23-19-21)
6. Jason Spezza, OTT 134 (0-2-14-11-17)
7. Pekka Rinne, NSH 64 (0-4-2-6-8)
8. Erik Karlsson, OTT 52 (0-0-4-7-11)
9. Henrik Sedin, VAN 40 (0-2-2-5-1)
10.
Ilya Kovalchuk, N.J. 38 (0-1-2-5-6)
11. Mike Smith, PHX 16 (0-0-0-4-4)
12. Zdeno Chara, BOS 15 (0-0-1-3-1)
Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
13. Shea Weber, NSH 12 (0-0-1-2-1)
14. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 11 (0-0-1-1-3)
15. Brian Elliott, STL 10 (0-0-1-1-2)
16. Ray Whitney, PHX 8 (0-0-1-1-0)
17. Marian Gaborik, NYR 8 (0-0-1-0-3)
18. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 7 (0-0-0-2-1)
19. David Backes, STL 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
20. Brian Campbell,
FLA 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Radim Vrbata, PHX 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
22. Jamie Benn, DAL 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
James Neal, PIT 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
24. Marian Hossa, CHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Hard to argue too much over the top three, and Malkin’s win, but I would have had Quick in fourth and Mike Smith in fifth. The Hart for the player most valuable to his team and Smith had a .930 Save Percentage, 8 big shutouts, a 2.21 GAA and 38 wins. He made Coyote defensemen look better than they are. I can’t help but say that Steve Yzerman (VP and GM of the Lightning) let Smith go for nothing and the Coyotes were fortunate to sign him. How long did Yzerman think 42 year old Roloson would play? Hard to believe!

Vezina Trophy – Best Goaltender in the League – Voted on by NHL General Managers

Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd
1. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 120 (
17-11-2)
2. Jonathan Quick,
L.A. 63 (6-9-6)
3. Pekka Rinne, NSH 42 (
4-4-10)
4. Mike Smith, PHX 35 (
2-5-10)
5. Brian Elliott, STL 5 (1-0-0)
6. Jaroslav Halak, STL 3 (0-1-0)
7. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 1 (0-0-1)
Miikka Kiprusoff, CGY 1 (0-0-1)

Lundqvist had his best year ever and in my opinion he just squeaks-out the win over Quick considering the regular season. Marc-Andre Fleury does not belong among the top goalies, even when we solely consider his play in the regular season (which the Vezina is for). Fleury is overrated and much of his success is due to the great team in front of him. This past year was one of his best years and he still did not make my Top 20 Goalies for 2012. In the 2011-2012 season his Save Percentage was .913, his GAA was 2.36, he had 42 wins (thanks to the team in front of him) and only three shutouts. When a goalie is on a great team and only gets three or four shutouts you know that he is letting in some easy goals. Roberto Luongo is the same, always just three or four shutouts in a year and overrated. Goalies better than Fleury this past year were: Lundqvist, Quick, Rask, Rinne, Smith, Elliott, Halak, Schneider, Thomas, Niemi, Howard, Kiprusoff, Ward, Lehtonen, Miller, and Luongo. Lehner (.935), Holtby (.922), Hedberg (.918) and Harding (.917) were also easily better than Fleury but did not get to see much ice time. That puts Fleury at 21st in the league at best. Of course, he was utterly brutal in the playoffs and so bad that he made Bryzgalov look “okay” at times.

William Jennings Trophy – Goalie Duo with Fewest Goals Against (25 game minimum each)

Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak

Elliott and Halak were absolutely dynamite this year! If they can come close to that next year you can expect the Blues to battle for first again.

Norris Trophy – Most Valuable Defenseman During the Regular Season – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association

Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
1. Erik Karlsson, OTT 1,069 (66-31-32-9-5)
2. Shea Weber, NSH 1,057 (49-54-32-9-2)
3. Zdeno Chara, BOS 950 (32-48-47-19-2)
4. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 381 (0-7-20-68-28)
5. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 132 (0-5-4-16-29)
6. Dan Girardi, NYR 70 (2-0-4-6-12)
7. Brian Campbell,
FLA 58 (0-2-2-6-16)
8. Ryan Suter, NSH 57 (0-1-3-5-20)
9. Kris Letang, PIT 40 (0-0-4-3-11)
10. Dan Hamhuis, VAN 21 (0-1-0-3-5)
Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
11. Ryan McDonagh, NYR 13 (0-0-1-2-2)
12. Michael Del Zotto, NYR 5 (0-0-0-1-2)
13. Duncan Keith, CHI 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
Keith Yandle, PHX 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
15. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG 4 (0-0-0-0-4)
Alexander Edler, VAN 4 (0-0-0-0-4)
17. Dan Boyle, S.J. 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
18. Kevin Bieksa, VAN 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Willie Mitchell,
L.A. 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Kevin Shattenkirk, STL 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Honestly, I am glad that Karlsson beat Shea Weber, and for four reasons:

First, because Karlsson had a great season and was, without question, the spark that turned the Senators around this season.

Second, because I do not like Senator GM Bryan Murray (particularly because he has been brutally unfair to goalie Robin Lehner) and neither do I care for coach Paul MacLean who is overrated and who played his part in shafting Lehner.

Third, because I really hated Weber’s dirty play against Henrik Zetterberg in the playoffs (grabbing Zetterberg behind the head and smashing his face into the glass).

Fourth, Weber was not able to lead his team (which was stronger than last year due to trades) past the Coyotes; while, Karlsson was “overcome” in the playoffs by the officials who purposely allowed the Rangers to punch him in the face repeatedly and commit many other infractions against him. This was easily the dirtiest series in the entire playoffs due to “lack of officiating.” I don’t care if an American or Canadian team wins, I just want an “even playing field” so that the most deserving team has control over their own destiny—rather than officials preventing a victory. The Senators were the better team and proved that by having the better record over the Rangers in the regular season.

I wouldn’t change the order too much for the top ten players in the poll. There is one player who does not belong in the Top 20, and who is not even in the Top 100 defenseman in the league, and that is Dustin Byfuglien. From where I am standing, his offensive contributions are entirely overshadowed by his poor defensive play. He cost the Jets a pivotal game in their quest to make the playoffs this year, and it took the steam out of the team. Not only does Byfuglien have major issues in the plus-minus department (as compared to his teammates), but his dedication and effort have been brought into question as well. He was minus-8 this past year which was one of the worst on the Jets. The year he won the Cup with the Blackhawks he was one of the only two players in minus figures in the regular season, and in fact his plus-minus was the worst on the team at minus-7. In comparison, Duncan Keith was plus-21 and had 35 more points than Byfuglien, Brian Campbell was plus-18 and Seabrook was plus-20. In the playoffs, Byfuglien almost matched Keith in points but he still had the worst plus-minus on the team at minus-4. You really can’t excuse Byfuglien’s defensive problems because he has been a liability every year. Yet, incredibly, he was rewarded with a five-year deal worth 26 million (which began this past year). Nice gift! Byfuglien is listed at 265 pounds, and what he really needs is less fat in his diet and intensive training, particularly work on his skating which is not at the NHL level. He could easily drop 15 pounds and be better for it. Phaneuf for the Leafs is another defenseman who gets points but is brutal defensively (not fast enough to defend) and grossly overpaid (cap hit of $6 500 000).

In getting back to the poll, for Duncan Keith’s cheap shot on Daniel Sedin (which cost the Canucks the series against the Kings), Keith should not have even been placed as an option on the poll. Daniel Sedin is the best player on the Canucks and he missed the last part of the season and did not return until the Kings had the Canucks down 3-0 in the series.

Lady Byng Trophy – Player who Displays the Best Skill Combined with Sportsmanship in the Regular Season – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

 Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
1. Brian Campbell,
FLA 582 (31-22-13-15-8)
2. Jordan Eberle, EDM 518 (18-23-23-17-11)
3. Matt Moulson, NYI 517 (13-28-26-15-16)
4. Loui Eriksson, DAL 448 (21-12-20-13-15)
5. Martin St. Louis, T.B. 284 (6-14-14-14-14)
6. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET 247 (18-5-3-4-5)
7.
Patrik Elias, N.J. 162 (3-5-9-13-13)
8. Jason Pominville, BUF 161 (2-8-5-16-12)
9. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 137 (3-7-7-5-8)
10. Claude Giroux, PHI 101 (6-3-3-1-2)
Pts. 1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
11. Marian Hossa, CHI 95 (3-4-4-4-5)
12. Teemu Selanne, ANA 79 (6-2-1-0-0)
13. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 61 (4-0-3-2-0)
14. Daniel Alfredsson, OTT 46 (1-2-2-2-6)
15. Ray Whitney, PHX 45 (4-0-0-1-2)
16. Phil Kessel, TOR 41 (0-3-0-4-8)
17. John Tavares, NYI 35 (0-2-3-2-0)
18. Kyle Wellwood, WPG 34 (2-1-1-0-2)
19. Anze Kopitar,
L.A. 33 (1-1-1-3-2)
20. Frans Nielsen, NYI 28 (1-1-1-2-0)

Brain Campbell was a deserving winner of the Lady Byng this year. He only had three minor penalties all year due to his skating ability and discipline. Eberle is a great competitor who had a huge year, and he wasn’t that far behind Campbell in the poll.

Claude Giroux isn’t as clean of a player as he has promoted himself to be. He had 29 penalty minutes in the regular season as compared to Campbell and Moulson who only had 6 minutes each, while Eberle had 10, Erickson had 12 and Datsyuk 14. I know this is a regular season trophy award, but I want to say that Giroux was involved in a couple instances of dirty play in the playoffs (and suspended) and I also did not like his taunting of two young lady fans in Pittsburgh—he faked to toss them a souvenir puck and held on to it himself! Is that what a grown man who is an NHL star does? Grow-up Claude!

Selke Trophy – Best Defensive Forward – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Patrice Bergeron
, BOS
1,312 (106-30-6-4-0)
2. David Backes, STL 698 (24-46-15-17-10)
3. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 553 (8-30-38-21-10)
4. Ryan Callahan, NYR 326 (6-11-22-22-13)
5. Ryan Kesler, VAN 152 (1-3-14-13-12)
6. Jonathan Toews, CHI 117 (1-2-8-13-14)
7. Mike Fisher, NSH 72 (0-3-6-6-3)
8. Jordan Staal, PIT 67 (0-1-6-7-9)
9. Anze Kopitar,
L.A. 62 (0-3-4-4-9)
10. Patrick Sharp, CHI 52 (0-2-5-4-1)
Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
11. Joe Pavelski, S.J. 44 (0-3-0-5-8)
12. Ray Whitney, PHX 36 (0-4-1-1-0)
13. Pascal Dupuis, PIT 28 (1-0-2-2-2)
14. Ryan O'Reilly,
COL 27 (0-1-1-3-6)
15. Tomas Plekanec, MTL 25 (0-1-3-1-0)
16. Chris Kelly, BOS 23 (0-1-1-3-2)
17. Marian Hossa, CHI 23 (0-0-2-2-7)
18. Zach Parise, N.J. 18 (0-1-1-2-0)
19.
Patrik Elias, N.J. 15 (0-0-0-5-0)
20. Maxime Talbot, PHI 13 (1-0-0-1-0)

Bergeron definitely deserved to win the Selke. He had 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points, was plus-36 (best in the league), had five power-play goals, 2 short-handed goals and 3 game-winning goals, was second in the league in face-off percentage (59.3), and he only took 20 minutes in penalties. By the way, Jonathan Toews was first in face-off percentage with 59.4. 

Calder Trophy - Rookie of the Year – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Gabriel Landeskog,
COL
1,383 (116-29-4-0-0)
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
, EDM 1,001
(26-83-22-16-2)
3. Adam Henrique, N.J. 620 (3-19-59-50-12)
4. Matt Read, PHI 546 (3-17-45-51-19)
5. Carl Hagelin, NYR 88 (0-0-5-9-36)
6. Jake Gardiner, TOR 70 (0-0-4-8-26)
7. Justin Faulk, CAR 62 (0-1-4-6-17)
8. Cody Hodgson, BUF 49 (0-0-2-7-18)
9. Sean Couturier, PHI 37 (1-0-3-1-9)
10. Slava Voynov,
L.A. 10 (0-0-1-1-2)
11. Jared Cowen, OTT 4 (0-0-0-0-4)
12. Marc-Andre Gragnani, VAN 1
(0-0-0-0-1)
Adam Larsson, N.J. 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Andrew Shaw, CHI 1 (0-0-0-0-1)
Craig Smith, NSH 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Landeskog was a deserving winner of the Calder. Nugent-Hopkins was injured and I have a bad feeling that this skinny guy is going to have a long history of injuries. Let’s hope not.

Conn Smythe Trophy – Most Valuable Player in the Playoffs – Voted on by Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

Jonathan Quick

Quick was unquestionably the MVP of the playoffs. What a great performance by him!

Messier Leadership Award – Best Team Leader on and off the Ice for the Regular Season – Chosen by Mark Messier Himself

Shane Doan

Good choice by Messier. I like Doan because he has humility. On more than one occasion, Doan has stated that the Coyotes don’t have any superstars but they are a good group of guys who work hard together.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy – Player who Shows the Most Perseverance, Sportsmanship and Dedication – Poll Taken by Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association

Max Pacioretty

Other Two Finalists: Daniel Alfredsson and Joffrey Lupul.

For Pacioretty, it was a heck of a comeback from the neck fracture after Chara’s purposeful attempt to injure him. Not only was it a comeback but his play improved tremendously! By the way, I first thought that Chara did not attempt to injure Pacioretty but then I saw a totally different angle much later and I changed my mind.

King Clancy Trophy – Humanitarian Contribution to Hockey – Winner Chosen by Select Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and the NHL Broadcasters’ Asscociation

Daniel Alfredsson

Alfie would have been my choice too. He is an exceptional person and a great player.

NHL Foundation Award – Player Who Applies the Core Values of Hockey (Commitment, Perseverance and Teamwork) to Enrich the Lives of People in his Community – Winner Chosen by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and other NHL executives

Mike Fisher

Other Two Finalists: John-Michael Liles and Matt Moulson

This is similar to the King Clancy Trophy, and I guess the reason for it is so that Bettman can express his pride by being directly involved.

Jack Adams Award - Coach of the Year – Poll Taken by Members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Ken Hitchcock, STL 355 (63-11-7)
2. John Tortorella, NYR 108 (
5-23-14
)
3. Paul MacLean, OTT 89
(
4-19-12)
4. Kevin Dineen,
FLA 82 (5-14-15)
5. Barry Trotz, NSH 39 (
3-5-9)
6. Dan Bylsma, PIT 25 (
2-3-6)
7. Dave Tippett, PHX 22 (0-4-10)
8. Alain Vigneault, VAN 12 (0-3-3)
9. Peter DeBoer, N.J. 4 (0-0-4)
10. Mike Babcock, DET 1 (0-0-1)
Peter Laviolette, PHI 1 (0-0-1)

Hitchcock was easily my first choice but my other choices would have been in different order than the NHL Broadcasters voted. I would have had Hitchcock and then Tippett, Dineen, and DeBoer for my first four.   

MacLean did not belong that high in my opinion, and Tortorella shouldn’t have even been on the poll at all! Why?

First, in December, Tortorella purposely started a game in New Jersey with his fighters and subsequently started a brawl. This in turn led to retaliation by Deboer and more brawls. Nobody does what Tortorella did. It was breaking the code.

Second, the NHL had to fine Tortorella on two occasions for critical remarks about the league’s honestly. I can bash the league as a writer but he does not have enough control and intelligence to keep his mouth shut and save $20 000.

Third, should “cry babies” like Tortorella be considered as top coaches in the NHL? Tortorella has to make all kinds of faces and cry about every little thing that goes against his team, and you know that he was probably crying for cookies and pop when he was a boy.

General Manager of the Year - Voted on by GM’s, NHL executives, and Print and Broadcast Media

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Doug Armstrong, STL 119 (
16-11-6
)
2. Dale Tallon,
FLA 88 (10-11-5
)
3. David Poile, NSH 62 (
11-1-4
)
4. Glen Sather, NYR 17 (
1-2-6
)
5. Paul Holmgren, PHI 17 (0-4-5)

6. Bryan Murray, OTT 10 (0-2-4)
7. Don Maloney, PHX 9 (0-2-3)
8. Ken Holland, DET 8 (0-2-2)
9. Mike Gillis, VAN 7 (0-2-1)
10. Stan Bowman, CHI 5 (1-0-0)
11. Greg Sherman,
COL 3 (0-1-0)
12. Lou Lamoriello, N.J. 1 (0-0-1)
Ray Shero, PIT 1 (0-0-1)

Armstrong deserved the win in my opinion because it was a huge turnaround for the Blues this year. Besides Armstrong, the others who were a big benefit to their organizations were Tallon, Maloney, Lamoriello, Sather and Shero.

Holmgren should not be among the top GMs because he was a fool to sign Bryzgalov to a 9 year deal worth a whopping 51 million (after Bryzgalov had totally choked in the playoffs the previous year when he was with the Coyotes). Bryzgalov was brutal this year for most of the season and then bombed again in the playoffs along with Pen’s Marc-Andre Fleury. The Canucks should have unloaded Luongo last year because the Flyers would have taken him and the Canucks would have received decent return. Gillis was not smart enough to do it. I wonder how much he is making?

TJ Stanley