Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Awards Picks: Byng, Selke, Adams, Masterton, Lindsay, Messier, Foundation

Tonight the NHL Awards show will come to you from Las Vegas. Alex Ovechkin is up for the Hart and Lindsay (renamed this year, from Pearson), Mike Green the Norris and Foundation, and Jose Theodore the Masterton.

Lady Byng Trophy

The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season and each individual voter ranks their top five candidates on a 10-7-5-3-1 points system. Three finalists are named and the trophy is awarded at the NHL Awards ceremony after the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The finalists: Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis

Favorite: Datsyuk
Who should win: St. Louis

The common definition of this award is basically who played best with the least PIMs. All three had similar PIM numbers this season (more than 10, less than 20) so I will restrict it just to highest playing ability. St. Louis had the most points, and while he may not be the player Datsyuk is, he also contributed heavily to the emergence of Steven Stamkos as a top-notch goal scorer, setting him up time after time. Datsyuk and the rest of the Red Wings didn't have a very impressive first 50 or so games of the season, and Richards I think was just not as good as either of the other two.

Selke Trophy

The finalists: Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Jordan Staal player bios

Favorite: Datsyuk
Who should win: Datsyuk

In my mind a guy more under the radar, like Mikko Koivu, would have been more deserving. Anyways...

All three are excellent defensive players that frequently play against the other teams' top lines and do well not just defensively, but offensively as well (offense is the best defense).

Jack Adams Award

The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association at the end of the regular season.

The finalists: Joe Sacco, Barry Trotz, Dave Tippett

Favorite: Tippett
Who should win: Tippett

Which team was the most popular pick for 15th in the West?


Which team finished 4th in the West, with terrific production all through their lineup, great play in overtime and shootout, and solid defense that overcame a poor offense?


Tippett is their coach. While Sacco and Trotz are both deserving--Sacco doing similarly, with a younger lineup and finishing lower with his Colorado team, and Trotz once again getting Nashville to overperform salary and talent on paper (maybe that's why they're so cost-efficient...)--Tippett should get this one unanimously.

Masterton Trophy

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The winner is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season.

The finalists: Jed Ortmeyer, Kurtis Foster, Jose Theodore

Favorite: Theodore
Who should win: Theodore

In short: Ortmeyer has to inject blood thinners into his stomach every day, knowing any cut could be serious, Foster recovered from a horrific femur injury (you may recall he was pushed into the boards in a race to negate icing) to post an excellent season for Tampa Bay, and Theodore lost his son to post a very good season in goal for Washington.

Slover for the Sporting News argued that Ortmeyer deserves this award because Theodore did not show as much "dedication to hockey." I disagree. Mental focus--"There's not a day" that Theodore doesn't think about his lost son Chace--plus regaining the starting job in Washington and going on a 20+ game unbeaten streak to end the season is dedication to me. That's tremendous mental fortitude--not necessarily physical like Ortmeyer or Foster, but sometimes mental is even tougher.

Ted Lindsay Award

The Ted Lindsay Award is presented annually to the "most outstanding player" in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players' Association.

The finalists: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Sedin

Favorite: Ovechkin
Who should win: Ovechkin

Ovechkin led the league--by far--in points per game and goals per game, plus was the captain and go-to guy offensively for the league's best offense and top power play, as well as President's Trophy winner with 121 points (the only season in which a non-Original Six team topped 120 points). Sedin and Crosby were both very good, but I don't think there's much argument against Ovechkin here, though the anti-East coast bias backlash that writers use to favor Sedin may come back to give him the award.

Mark Messier Leadership Award

The Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone has been awarded since 2006-07 and is awarded "to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season."

The finalists: Sidney Crosby, Shane Doan, Ryan Miller

Favorite: Toss-up
Who should win: Miller (?)

I really don't know enough to say there's a definite favorite. I do know Miller is also up for the Foundation award, which means he went out into the community to expand interest and opportunities in hockey. I'm guessing on-ice Doan and Crosby are roughly equal with Miller--it's almost impossible to judge how forwards compare to goalies in value, let alone leadership--and Miller wins off-ice, so he's my winner here.

Foundation Award

The NHL Foundation Player Award is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) player "who applies the core values of (ice) hockey—commitment, perseverance and teamwork—to enrich the lives of people in his community".

The finalists: Dustin Brown, Mike Green, Ryan Miller

Favorite: Unknown
Who should win: Unknown

It seems like each player has done a lot off the ice to help his community, and I'm not in a good position to judge the impact each player has had. It looks like Brown has tried more, but Miller has had more success (financially, at least). Any of these three players would be deserving.

Other awards:

Art Ross Trophy: Henrik Sedin (most points)
Rocket Richard Trophy: Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby (most goals)
Jennings Trophy: Martin Brodeur (fewest goals against)

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