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Screen Shots: Who I voted for and why

Ryan Miller's Sabres trail the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their best-of-seven first round series. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Ryan Miller's Sabres trail the Boston Bruins 3-1 in their best-of-seven first round series. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Transparency – it isn’t just for the skin of Extreme Caucasians (shout out to my sun-averse W.A.S.P.y brothers and sisters!) anymore.

In fact, the willingness to pull back the curtain and give people an honest glimpse into a particular process has finally begun to seep into the hockey world. As such, we have transparency in the NHL’s lottery draft – once held behind closed doors and away from reporters, but now broadcast on multiple media platforms as it happens – and we have it at the league’s annual draft combine.

Sadly, there are a couple of NHL-related institutions that still are allowed to operate in near total-secrecy. One is the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction process, which only discloses the names of those chosen to be honored. And the other is the result of voting for the NHL’s annual individual awards (the league does reveal total award votes, but doesn't reveal the specific ballots cast by each voter).

In typical NHL fashion, the reasoning behind the Hall’s induction secrecy runs counter to the reasoning behind its individual awards.

The HHOF believes that revealing the identities of hockey greats who didn’t get enough votes for induction would embarrass those people. But if that were true, why does the NHL allow three finalists to be named for every individual award? By the HHOF’s logic, shouldn’t the two losers in every award category be afraid to show their faces in public again?

And what about the NHL’s Second All-Star Team? Obviously the six players named to that squad every year didn’t have as good a season as the six players on the First All-Star Team, so why does the league insist on insulting them in such a public manner?

The answer, of course, is that the notion of secrecy is ill suited for the ‘Transparent Age’ that hockey is a part of whether it likes it or not. That’s why the HHOF should make voting results available to the public, just as the NHL should post a breakdown of individual award ballots – if not for the awards that GMs vote on, then certainly for the submissions of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

I’ll show you how easy it can be. Below is my complete ballot for the Hart, Norris, Calder, Lady Byng and Selke prizes and the league’s First and Second Team All-Stars. They’re presented – along with a few explanations – to encourage debate, something that can only help the sport evolve and prosper.

HART TROPHY (Five selections)
1. Ryan Miller, Buffalo
2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
3. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
4. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver
5. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix

Why, Adam, Why? This award goes to the player most valuable to his team and not the best player in the league, as much as some would prefer it. Because of that fact, the only reasonable choice is Miller, without whom the Buffalo Sabres would be a non-playoff team (as they were last season following a Miller injury). Every other player in contention had a far stronger lineup in front of him.
 
NORRIS TROPHY (Five selections)
1. Duncan Keith, Chicago
2. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit
3. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
4. Shea Weber, Nashville
5. Mike Green, Washington

Why, Adam, Why? This was the toughest award to vote on, but I picked Keith because he was superb by almost every imaginable measurement: he ranked second in scoring by a defenseman, led all NHL D-men in even-strength goals, assists and points and ranked second in the league in average ice time.

CALDER TROPHY (Five selections)
1. Tyler Myers, Buffalo
2. Jimmy Howard, Detroit
3. Matt Duchene, Colorado
4. Tuukka Rask, Boston
5. Niclas Bergfors, Atlanta

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Why, Adam, Why? Myers led the entire Sabres squad by averaging 23:44 of ice time per game. He was third in rookie scoring – only six points behind John Tavares and seven behind Duchene – and was second in plus/minus. Howard was great, but his influence didn’t extend into as many areas as Myers’ did.

LADY BYNG TROPHY (Five selections)
1. Martin St-Louis, Tampa Bay
2. Brad Richards, Dallas
3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles
4. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
5. Brandon Sutter, Carolina

Why, Adam, Why? Because St-Louis had 94 points and 12 measly penalty minutes. He is overdue to win this.

SELKE TROPHY (Five selections)
1. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver
2. Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh
3. Patrick Marleau, San Jose
4. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
5. Jay McClement, St. Louis

Why, Adam, Why? The Selke isn’t about how many defensive takeaways an NHLer has nor is it presented to the guy who plays the most minutes on the penalty kill. For these five, defense is a consistent focus at both ends of the ice – and I think Kesler used his physicality and shot-blocking ability this year to ramp up his goal-preventing skills to their highest peak yet.

NHL All-Star Team
CENTER (Three selections)
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
2. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver
3. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington

RIGHT WING (Three selections)
1. Martin St-Louis, Tampa Bay
2. Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
3. Patrick Kane, Chicago

LEFT WING (Three selections)
1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington
2. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver
3. Patrick Marleau, San Jose

DEFENSE (Six selections)
1. Duncan Keith, Chicago
2. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit
3. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles
4. Shea Weber, Nashville
5. Mike Green, Washington
6. Dan Boyle, San Jose

GOALTENDER (Three selections)
1. Ryan Miller, Buffalo
2. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix
3. Tuukka Rask, Boston

NHL All-Rookie Team
FORWARD (Three selections, regardless of position)
1. Matt Duchene, Colorado
2. Niclas Bergfors, Atlanta
3. John Tavares, New York Islanders

DEFENSE (Two selections)
1. Tyler Myers, Buffalo
2. Michael Del Zotto, New York Rangers

GOALTENDER (One selection)
1. Jimmy Howard, Detroit

Feeling Lucky? Subscribe or Renew your subscription to The Hockey News and you and a guest could be going to the NHL Awards in Las Vegas!

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear regularly in the off-season, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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