Two weeks ago I wrote about the first few finalists that were announced for various NHL Awards. Since then, some more finalists have been announced. The NHL Awards Show will be June 23 in Las Vegas. Here’s a preview of the award finalists as well as my picks for who could take home the hardwood. Part three will feature the Vezina, GM of the Year, and other awards.
Hart Trophy: Most Valuable Player (voted by Professional Hockey Writers Association)
Ted Lindsay Award: Most Outstanding Player (voted by NHL Players Association)
- Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
- Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
I get to hit two birds with one stone on this award because both the NHLPA and the PHWA agree on who the finalists for Most Valuable Player should be. All three players have cases for why they should win the award. Ovechkin and Crosby tied for second in points with 109 points. Crosby also led the league in shootout goals with 8, as well as posting a 80 percent success rate in shootouts. Sedin has already won hardware this season as he won the Art Ross Trophy with a league-leading 112 points. Crosby has one Hart Trophy has he won in 2007. Ovechkin has won it each of the last two seasons and is looking for his third in a row. Each of the last three seasons the same player has won both awards. Don’t expect that to happen this season.
My Heart Trophy Pick: Ovechkin
My Ted Lindsay Award Pick: Sedin
Jack Adams Award: Coach of the Year
- Joe Sacco, Colorado Avlanche
- Dave Tippett, Phoenix Coyotes
- Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators
With awards like this, it usually doesn’t go to a coach who wins the Stanley Cup or even the Presidents Trophy. The last Stanley Cup winning coach who won the Jack Adams Award in the same season was JohnTortorella in 2004. It’ll usually go to someone who overachieves or leads his team to the playoffs when they weren’t expected to at the beginning of the season. These coaches are deserving of the award in their own way. Tippett took over the team from Wayne Gretzky a week before the season began and took a team that finished 25th in the league last season to fourth place in the Western Conference this season before losing to Detroit in game seven of the first round. Trotz is the only bench boss Nashville has ever had and has led the Preds to the playoffs in five of the last six seasons. Not bad for a team who has to compete with conference powers Detroit and Chicago more than most other teams. Sacco was a rookie coach who came out on fire in October. His 10-1-2 start was the second-best 13 game start for a coach in NHL history. He also led the Av’s to a second place finish in the Northwest Division.
My Pick: Tippett
Bill Masterton Trophy: Perseverance, Sportsmanship and Dedication to Hockey
- Kurtis Foster, Tampa Bay
- Jed Ortmeyer, San Jose
- Jose Theodore, Washington
This award is presented to someone who had to overcome some type of hardship, injury, or situation to perform at the level that is needed in the NHL. Each player has a unique story which made them a finalist. Foster overcame a severely broken leg suffered two seasons ago. After his surgery, he realized he was lucky to even walk again. He missed nearly a calendar-year of hockey before returning to practice in Febrary 2009. After rehab stints in the AHL he made his return in March 2009 when he was with Minnesota. Signed as a free-agent with Tampa over the summer, he recorded career-high’s of 34 assists and 42 points this season from the blue line. He also blocked 70 shots.
Ortmeyer’s situation is a little different. At some point each day, Ortmeyer must use a needle to inject a blood thinner directly into his stomach to combat a hereditary blood-clotting disorder that has threatened not only his hockey career, but also his life. The process is tricky and the timing must be precise. The blood thinner, Lovenox, needs to be in his system during the down time when he’s not on the ice and it needs to be out of his system when he plays or practices so that a hard check or a high stick does not cause fatal bleeding. He’s suffered blood-clotting twice in his career and almost walked away from the game. This season, he set career high’s in goals, assists and points. Theodore’s situation is more heart breaking. Losing his starting goal position is nothing compared to when he lost his son over the summer. His son, Chace, passed away two months after birth with respiratory complications related to his premature birth. He bounced back this season to have his best year since winning the Heart and Vezina Trophies in 2002 with a 30-7-7 record and a .911 save percentage.
My Pick: Theodore