6.13.2008

Late blog for the Awards

Well, the usual and expected players were announced for various awards in the NHL yesterday.

Nick Lidstrom won the Norris trophy. Again. For the sixth time. Geez, does anyone else even play defense in this league? When he retires, we'll just call it the Lidstrom Trophy. Jack Norris was the owner of the Wings anyways, he wouldn't mind having his trophy renamed for his best defenseman ever (with all respects to Red Kelly).

Alex Ovechkin, already the proud owner of Rocket Richard and Art Ross trophies, completed the hat trick by winning the Hart trophy in a landslide. While Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla had good performances, it was all but guaranteed that Ovechkin would get the hardware. Conrgats to the best Russian in the league (with respects to Pavel Datsyuk, Geno, Evgeni Nabokov [Although he's from Kazakhstan, right?], and a lot of other Russian guys that are really good out there). Ovechkin also won the Lester B. Pearson trophy, so it looks even other NHLers like his style of play.

Speaking of the Russian-Red Wing-Wonder (you like that one, right?), Datsyuk picked up the Lady Byng trophy and the Selke trophy. I'm kind of mad at Youtube and the NHL highlights, because I've only ever seen Datsyuk in one game, in which he mostly played offense because the Wings already had the No. 1 seed and the Presidents trophy locked up. I haven't seen any proof that Datsyuk was a great player other than his plus/minus-, and that could easily be brought up by points scored while being on the ice with Lidstrom, who's definitely a great defensive player (hence the multiple Norris trophies). Even for Zetterberg, I've only seen one picture of him making a defensive play during the Cup Finals. So the reason I'm mad at NHL highlights is that I can't go look up "Datsyuk big defensive play". If I did, it probably would have no results, because most people would only care about how many points he scored. I'm not saying that Datsyuk isn't any good at defense, but I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to get proof that he's a Selke-type player.

Martin Broduer won his fourth Vezina trophy. New Jersey fans get a reason to cheer, but the rest of the NHL burns as they wonder why Evgeni Nabokov, who posted better stats and went farther in the playoffs, didn't win the trophy for the first time in his shorter but fantastic career. New Yorkers, on the other hand, might start a cross-river war as Broduer beat out rival Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who also went further in the playoffs. Nevertheless, Broduer is an all-time favorite goalie who's a lock to make the Hall of Fame, already has a great NHL record in his name (most single season wins), essentially owns the New Jersey goalie record book, and might even catch Patrick Roy as the winning-est goalie ever if he plays long enough. Sorry, 'King' Henrik, but the Emperor of New Jersey isn't ready to give up his reign yet.

Who doesn't feel happy for Jason Blake? If you don't, be ashamed of yourself. Even if a 15-goal, 52-point season wasn't the expected numbers for his contract, he still had a comeback year that's admirable among the likes of Saku Koivu, Mario Lemieux, and Phil Kessel. Blake was diagnosed with a rare but fortunately treatable type of leukemia in early October. Let me tell you this; If I was anyone, and I had been diagnosed with any type of cancer at all, I would've stopped everything and tried really hard not to panic. Blake, on the other hand, merely announced it to the league, kept playing hockey, and is now cancer-free after treatment. He played in all 82 games. What a great guy, I'm glad I have his autograph, so I can remember that one of the most courageous NHLers actually took time to sign a small scrap of paper for a 13-year-old kid that he couldn't even see.

Bruce Boudreau is another happy story in the NHL. After being a career minor-leaguer, both as a coach and a player, he finally got his chance to coach in the big league after the Caps started off way below .500 under Glen Hanlon. Boudreau set the team on a total turnaround immediately. The team didn't take long to get back above .500, and although the playoffs were uncertain all year, Boudreau and the Caps put on a late-season tear and ended up winning the Southeast division. Many Caps, including Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, and Brooks Laich, enjoyed productive years, and their play picked up when Boudreau arrived. Congrats to a great coach who should enjoy a productive coaching career at the NHL level.

Patrick Kane won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, and he was definitely deserving of it. After being drafted 1st overall by the Blackhawks in 07, there were many people who wondered whether or not Kane (only 5' 10") could really play at the NHL level, despite scoring 145 points in only 58 games in the OHL the previous season. Kane took it all in stride and responded with 21 goals, 51 assists, 72 points, 7 power-play goals, 4 game-winning goals, 191 shots on goal, and only a minus- 5 on a defensively weak Chicago team. Kind of a "What now?" response to all his critics, I guess. He'll have an awesome NHL career.

That's all I have to write for now. I might not be able to think of anything else until the NHL draft.


STARS RULE!!!!!!!

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