The NHL Awards ceremony returned to Las Vegas Tuesday night. The show was it’s usual “meh” self, but was highlighted by Jabbawockeez and an over-the-top Cuba Gooding Jr.
(via Josh Gold-Smith)
Most of this year’s awards had obvious winners, but others were a little tougher to call. Who would win the Vezina and the Norris? Was Patrick Roy a shoe-in for the Jack Adams, even though his team relied so heavily on an otherworldly season from Semyon Varlamov? Here are the results of this year’s awards, including the final tabulations.
And don’t forget to check out THN’s in-house awards.
Ryan Getzlaf really had an excellent season, especially the first half. And if Sidney Crosby didn’t win the scoring race by 17 points this season, the MVP would surely have been Getzlaf’s.
But the problem is, Crosby did win the Art Ross by that whopping amount, so it really wasn’t in doubt who this year’s MVP was. The Penguins captain was lifted to a 104-point season on the strength of his league-leading 68 assists and seventh-ranked 36 goals. It was Crosby’s second Hart and Art Ross of his career – and he also won his third Ted Lindsay Award, given to the most outstanding player as voted on by his peers.
Here are the voting results for the Hart Trophy (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th place votes)
This one isn’t voted on by the writers, but it was considered to be a tight race. Semyon Varlamov had all the credentials. He was certainly the MVP of the Colorado Avalanche, who surprisingly won their division in the regular season over the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. Varlamov finished fourth in Hart Trophy voting and even received one first place vote. But Boston’s Tuukka Rask had the better save percentage, GAA and more shutouts. Ben Bishop was in the running for most of the season.
The GMs had a tough decision to make and, in the end, more than half of them voted for Rask. And in this tabulation, we see how close Price was to being the finalist he should have been. At least he got more first place votes than Bishop.
GM OF THE YEAR
In another GM-voted award, this one comes with all kinds of interpretation. Should a team builder be rewarded for long-term success and planning paying off, or for immediate, short-term boosts? Finalist Dean Lombardi just won his second Stanley Cup in three seasons and though the voting took place before the post-season, he kept most of that first champion intact and the team as dangerous as ever. And then he added Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline, an eerily similar move to the Jeff Carter trade in 2012.
But then there’s Anaheim’s Bob Murray, who built a prospect base so deep, he could acquire whichever available center he wants this off-season and still be in good shape. Meanwhile, his NHL team was one point short of the Presidents’ Trophy. Chicago’s Stan Bowman, Boston’s Peter Chiarelli, Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman: all of these guys would be worthy winners and they weren’t even finalists. To say nothing of Marc Bergevin, who was.
The GM’s narrowly gave this year’s award to the Ducks’ Murray, but beware. Two past GM of the Year winners were fired this year (Mike Gillis and Ray Shero).
LADY BYNG TROPHY
This had been Pavel Datsyuk and Martin St-Louis’ award for seven of the past eight seasons, but the torch was passed Tuesday to Colorado’s Ryan O’Reilly. He scored 28 goals and 64 points in 80 games this season and got all of one penalty. It took 71 games for him to get that penalty – and it wasn’t even taken against another player. Here is the one penalty O’Reilly got this season.
Whether the pending RFA has a long future ahead of him with the Avalanche, or if he’ll play the next stage of his career for another franchise, you get the feeling this is only the start for O’Reilly. Datsyuk and St-Louis may have owned this award for the last while, but the O’Reilly era has begun. This won’t be his last sportsmanship award. It wasn’t even close.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Another one open to interpretation: should a coach be awarded for his team’s sudden success, or for consistently excellent results?
Rookie NHL coach Patrick Roy took an Avalanche team that just picked first overall at the draft to the top of a very tough Central Division. But Mike Babcock dealt with an older, more banged-up roster and still managed to extend Detroit’s playoff streak to 23 seasons. Put the NHL Broadcasters’ Association to a vote and Roy wins in a land slide, becoming the first coach of the year who also won a major award as a player.
There are so many good choices for this award, which is also open to all sorts of interpretation. How much should points count and how much weight should defensive reliability hold? Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban were two contentious winners in a row, but no one could argue with this year’s three finalists, which didn’t even include Drew Doughty, Ryan Suter or Ryan McDonagh.
Zdeno Chara is a regular here and the Great Wall on Boston’s defense. Shea Weber, who somehow hasn’t won one of these yet, has a heavy shot and is one of the league’s most intimidating and dangerous players. And then there’s Duncan Keith, a swift-skating, offensively elite, defensively dominant blueliner, who also has the best D-partner of the three finalists.
But the writers’ vote wasn’t as close as it could have been, with Keith receiving more than twice as many first place votes as the next finalist. Keith’s 61 points were second only to Karlsson among blueliners. It was Keith’s second Norris win, with the first coming in 2010. But when will it be Weber’s turn?
There was little doubt who was going to win this one. Last summer’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Nathan MacKinnon was a dynamic player in his first season, finishing first among freshmen in goals, assists and points (24-39-63). Tampa Bay offered two challengers, with Ondrej Palat finishing just four points shy of MacKinnon and Tyler Johnson finishing tied with MacKinnon at 24 goals. But as the voting shows, this one was never close. MacKinnon took away 130 of 137 first place votes.
We’ll be left to wonder, though, if San Jose’s Tomas Hertl would have made this one interesting had he stayed healthy.
These days, the Selke is a superstar’s trophy that rewards the finer points of the game. Since Pavel Datsyuk’s run of three ended, Ryan Kesler, Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron won with strong offensive seasons. But these guys are also known for their tireless work at the other end of the ice.
Dominant centers are so valuable and this year’s Selke finalists were three of the league’s best at the position. Toews returned to territory that will be familiar throughout his career and Azne Kopitar had a surge of support that will surely grow next year. But for the second time in three years this one was Bergeron’s.
The Bruin scored a career-high 30 goals this season and led the NHL in faceoff wins. He was a key cog on Boston’s penalty kill and is a leader in the suffocating system the Bruins employ. Last year, Bergeron finished second to Toews – and this year he absolutely ran away with the award. He’ll be back again.
In all, the Avalanche had three big award winners on the night, telling the tale of their shocking season. Varlamov, the player most attributable to this success, was the only one who came up empty at the NHL Awards. But remember, Colorado’s season came crashing down in Round 1 of the playoffs after they supposedly got a favorable draw in the Minnesota Wild. Is Varlamov’s season a sign of more Vezina runs to come, or was it an aberration? Is Patrick Roy really a miracle worker, or does he need Varlamov to be a top three goalie in the league to get results from this group? Will MacKinnon continue his rise – and will Matt Duchene climb up that Hart Trophy voting chart?
We’ll find out next season if these Avs are for real.