2011 NHL Awards Spectacular

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2011 NHL AWARDS SPECTACULAR

 

While the NHL won’t be giving any actual hardware away until Wednesday in Las Vegas, we feel there’s no need to make the good people wait any longer for regular season glory.  It’s time for the 2011 The Sports Bank NHL Awards Spectacular.  The three finalists for each award have already been announced, and will be on hand in Las Vegas for the announcement during the live show, hosted by Jay Mohr.  Who deserves each award?  Find out after the jump.

 

Bryan Vickroy

 

Some actual award winners have been announced already.  Based on regular season statistics, three award winners have been known since the last day of the regular season was complete.  Daniel Sedin will take home the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in scoring this year with 104 points during the 2010-11 campaign.  His teammates, goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider, will share the William Jennings Trophy as the goaltending duo who yielded the fewest goals during the regular season.  The pair gave up only 180 goals over the 82 games for a goals against average of 2.20.  Finally, the Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry earned himself the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer.  Perry lit the red light an even 50 times this season, and was the only player to reach the 50 goal plateau.  Now without further ado, let’s get into the rest of the awards.

 

 

corey perry the sports bank hockey

 

 

Adams Trophy (Coach of the Year)

–  Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins

–  Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators

–  Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks

Dan Bylsma, Penguins: While the Canucks were the league’s best team, and Nashville continued to play a strong, team defense first mentality, Bylsma took a Penguins team to the playoffs.  A Penguins team that was missing two of the world’s best players most of the season.  Injuires to Evgeni Malkin and the concussion that knocked Sidney Crosby out for half the season would have doomed most squads.  But Bylsma simply chose not to let the absences affect the team’s play, and they made it to the playoffs thanks to great goaltending, great team play, and superb moves behind the bench by Bylsma.  Bylsma already has a Stanley Cup ring with the Penguins, and showed this year that he will coach his way to more before his career is done.

 

 

Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year)

–  Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

–  Michael Grabner, New York Islanders

–  Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

Logan Couture, Sharks: While there will be no surprise if Skinner or Grabner win the award thanks to them playing on the Eastern seaboard, Couture was clearly the best rookie skater all season long.  While he didn’t lead in any categories, Couture was second in rookie goals and total points, as well as seventh in assists by a rookie.  More importantly, Couture was +18 playing in the Western Conference, and won more than 50% of the faceoffs he took, a strong feat for a player of any experience level.  While the stats may be close, Couture is the only player to make the playoffs of the three.  And while Couture may have been on a much better team than the other, his contribution was key to the Sharks making the postseason.

 

logan couture the sports bank hockey


General Manager Of The Year

–  Dan Gillis, Vancouver Canucks

–  David Poile, Nahville Predators

–  Steve Yzerman, Tampa Bay Lightning

Steve Yzerman, Lightning: Yzerman did wonders in his first year on the job, taking a very unstable franchise and giving them confidence and stability in the front office.  Yzerman didn’t go out and make a splash through free agency, but added pieces that would compliment the core of the team.  The biggest move of the year, in my opinion, was when he traded for goaltender Dwayne Roloson before the deadline.  That one move almost got the Lightning into the Stanley Cup Finals, and was the cherry on top for Yzerman’s very successful first season on the job.

 

 

Hart Trophy (League MVP)

–  Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

–  Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

–  Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Daniel Sedin, Canucks: Last  year, Daniel’s twin broth Henrik won the MVP while Daniel missed much of the season due to injury.  This year, Daniel Sedin picked up where his brother left off.  Daniel led the NHL in points, was third in total assists, and fourth in goals scored for the best team in hockey, during the regular season.  Sedin also was a staggering +30 on the season, and netted ten game winning goals.  While Perry had the better individual season  and St. Louis the more surprising season, Sedin was steady, dominant most of the time, and should join his brother with his own MVP award.  The Sedins would be the first ever brothers to win back to back Hart Trophies. 


daniel sedin the sports bank hockey

 

 

Lady Byng Trophy (Gentlemanly Player)

–  Loui Eriksson, Dallas Stars

–  Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

–  Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Martin St. Louis, Lightning: St. Louis seems to be a yearly nominee for this award, and finally won one last season after the Lady Byng had been dominated by Pavel Datsyuk for years.  For the season, St. Louis put up just shy of 100 points (31 goals and 68 assists) yet only had to sit for twelve total penalty minutes.  St. Louis plays the game right at both ends of the ice, without getting caught up in the altercations that lead to his team being penalized.  Four straight nominations and two straight wins in this category shows how well respected Martin St. Louis’ game is throughout the National Hockey League.

 


Masterson Trophy (Comeback/Determination)

–  Ray Emery, Anaheim Ducks

–  Daymond Langkow, Calgary Flames

–  Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia Flyers

Daymond Langkow, Flames: The Masterson Trophy is not one of the more well known awards, and is usually won by players who aren’t as well known to the public.  However, they are known inside the hockey community, and the nomination for this award is high praise from their peers.  All are deserving of this award for what they’ve come back from, but Langkow truly earned this award.  Langkow was struck in the back of the neck by a puck last season, causing spinal cord damage and threatening his career.  After more than a year of rehab, waiting, and hard work, Langkow returned this past spring to play in regular season games.  Langkow’s season, while not the same type of season that he’s used to, shows how far the human spirit is willing to go to complete a goal.

 

 

Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)

–  Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

–  Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

– Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Shea Weber, Predators: While Lidstrom had the most dominant offensive season of his career, it was clearly not one of his best defensively as he ended up with a -2 plus/minus.  That leaves the heavyweights of Weber and Chara to battle for the award.  Chara’s offensive numbers were good, and his +33 led the NHL in that category.  However, Weber had more points, more responsibilities, and added responsibility of shutting down the top line every night in the Western Conference.  With last year’s Olympics and this past season, Weber has mad the jump from talented player to possibly the best defenseman in hockey today.  Weber is a pending restricted free agent, and winning his first Norris Trophy will just mint even money for the shutdown defenseman.


shea weber the sports bank hockey

 

 

Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)

–  Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

–  Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

– Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings: As much as opposing teams fear seeing Pavel Datsyuk with the puck, he is just as dangerous at shutting down opposing teams.  Despite missing a good portion of the season to injury, Datsyuk averaged more than a point per game, had only 15 total penalty minutes, and helped shutdown opposing team’s top lines.  A win this year would be Datsyuk’s fourth straight Selke Trophy, making that the second award that Datsyuk has won four consecutive years (Lady Byng 06-09).  Datsyuk is by far the best two way player in the game right now.

 


Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie)

–  Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

–  Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

–  Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins

Tim Thomas, Bruins: While the voting for this award was done before the postseason domination by Tim Thomas, those same skills also make Thomas deserving of the Vezina Trophy.  Thomas went from backup to best in the game this year, making highlight save after highlight save.  Besides making the ridiculous saves, Thomas also had more shutouts, a better goals against average, and better save percentage than both Rinne and Luongo.  While Luongo will probably finish a close second in the voting, the Stanley Cup Finals obviously showed who the best goalie in the game is right now.

 

One final event has been added to the schedule at the 2011 NHL Awards Show.  The cover athlete for EA Sports NHL ’12 will be announced during the event.  While Blackhawks’ teammates Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been the last two profiled on the cover, expect the Blackhawks’ run to end.  Most likely, the player will be from the Boston Bruins, since they are the Stanley Cup champions.  My money is squarely on Tim Thomas.  While Zdeno Chara is the biggest name on the Bruins, Thomas put together a season unlike anybody else.  A season so good, you would think the stats were generated in a video game.  Expect to see Tim Thomas on the cover of NHL ’12 this fall.

 

That’s all for the awards spectacular for this season.  Tune into Versus on Wednesday, June 22 to catch the actual 2011 NHL Awards Show, live from the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Until then, enjoy the greatness that is the chase for the Stanley Cup, and continue reading through the rest of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, the NHL Entry Draft, and beyond.

 

bryan vickroy the sports bank hockey

 

Bryan Vickroy has an addiction to hockey, and is willing to partake in all its forms.  He is skating extra shifts for The Sports Bank, covering the Minnesota Wild, the NHL, and NCAA hockey all year long.  Look for new articles throughout the week.  He can be followed on Twitter at @bryanvickroy.  If you’d prefer to speak in more than 140 characters at a time to him, he can be reached at bryan.vickroy@gmail.com .

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