Since the All Star Game is happening this weekend I want to know who everybody thinks is in the lead for the NHL Awards this year. Sorry for this being so long but I couldn't stop writing.
Hart Trophy - The year that will best be remembered for Sidney Crosby separating himself from any competition. I mean most of the competition,Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos has been lighting the lamp all year. What about the Sedin Twins in Vancouver? How crazy is it that Brad Richards might be playing some of the best hockey of his career but will probably be taking a paycut at the end of the year.
To me it's Crosby's to lose that is if he has a chance. Hopefully he doesn't lose because of injury.
James Norris Trophy - I don't know how Niklas Lidstrom does it every year but everytime I think its the beginning of the end he seems to come back even stronger. Then theres Dustin Byfuglien in Atlanta, has there been a better addition to any team this year? His teammate Tobias Enstrom deserves recognition as he has taken another step in the right direction. Pittsburgh went on a huge win streak and as great as Crosby is he wasn't the only one driving the Penguins offence enter Kris Letang here. Letang is certainly turning into one of the best all around defencemena in the game.
SURPRISE! Nik Lidstrom walks away with another Norris which will eventually be renamed for him after he retires.
Vezina Trophy - Theres something about comeback stories that everyone loves. You win this award a few years ago and you struggle to get your form back the year after. Boston is so deep in net that the leash is a lot shorter than anywhere else in the NHL. But your patient and work hard to earn that spot back. It's weird to me that a goalie can be the most exciting player in hockey at times... Tim Thomas is the only goalie you can say that about since uuummmm Hasek! I was gonna start listing other goalies in this topic but whats the point. Thomas is so far ahead right now with The Bruins beating up on the competition.
Still there are other goalies that are having a great year. Henrik Lundqvist is quietly putting in another solid year tieing Thomas with seven shutouts so far this year. Remember when the Montreal Canadians traded away Halak after he knocked out Washington and Pittsburgh back to back in the playoffs. Fans booed Carey Price in the preseason and it looked like it was gonna be another interesting year for the Price Era in Montreal. Hes been there MVP this year with injuries taking over their team hes been so consistant and is finally living up to the hype that Bob Gainey brought him in with. Over on the West Coast there is Jonas Hiller throwing his weight around. When I look at that defence he plays behind all I think of is offence which is good if your not playing between the pipes for the Ducks.
Calder Memorial Trophy - The best player in San Jose isn't one of the Big 3 its a rookie named Logan Couture. To be a plus player on a team that seems to be going backwards despite the firepower they have up front or should I say had upfront is pretty impressive especially for a rookie. In Raleigh, Jeff Skinner is scoring Like Hank Moody on Californication. Just when you think hes going to disappear he finds a way to show up on the score sheet. You wanna know whats funny about the Flyers they always have the same problem. They can never find a goalie to get the them over the hump. From Roman Cechmanek, Sean burke, Robert Esche, Ray Emery, Antero Nittymakki, Jeff Hackett, John Vanbiesbruck and ofcourse Ken Wregget. That is basically why the Flyers haven't won a cup since Bobby Clarke was captain. But this year is a different story Sergei Bobrovsky the 22 year old Russian is making noise in Philly. Whether or not he can carry the weight come playoff time I'm not sure. But he would be my leading candidate for the Calder.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy - WTF am I supposed to say about this lets say we give it to the Sedin Twins in Vancouver. Only because they deserve an award but I don't think they will get any of the major ones. Maybe the NHL should create a Wayne Gretzky Trophy for most assists so we can give it to Henrik Sedin every year.
Frank J Selke - Imagine if Vancouver didn't match the offer sheet that Bobby Clarke sent Ryan Kesler? I've been watching Kesler his entire career and I can't belive how great of a two-way player he has become. It's hard in this league to always face off against the other teams best line. Hes been doing this the past 2-3 years and is one of the best at it. Then you add scoring to go with the tenacity that he plays with every shift. Its funny how HNIC now accepts him as one of the best all around players in the game. Not because of his play but because hes not as talkative as he used to be on the ice.
Theres a few reasons why the Philadelphia Flyers are one of the teams competing for the Eastern Conference. There depth at forward is matched by no one in the entire league. Where did this Claude Giroux kid come from? I know he had a great playoffs last year but to become one of the best penalty killers in the game in one year is pretty special. You get lost when you think of which forward stands out the most from the Flyers. As long as Jeff Carter keeps swatting pucks out of mid air to score he will be high on the list. Danny Briere is an all star again and he deserves it because hes back to the consistancy that made him a star in Buffalo. The Captain Mike Richards might be another guy you would put in a discusion for the Selke. One of the best two way players in hockey right now and have you ever noticed that when philly needs to step up Richards either fights, hits or scores.
This is the year of Ryan Kesler from video game covers to finally getting credit which he deserves. And ofcourse an injured Pavol Datsyuk!
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