Top 10 Norris candidates: Letang the leader?

Kris Letang (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

Year in and year out, one of the most heavily debated awards is the Norris Trophy.

The award given to the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman has, in recent years, had a tendency not to go simply to the best defenseman, but rather the one with the most points. At times, it feels as though the trophy should be split in two, with one award going to the defenseman with the most points and another to the best overall defenseman.

However, in our ranking of the top 10 Norris candidates, we did our best to take into account all facets of defense in hopes it gave us a true picture of the Norris race. By using the standard statistics like points, average ice time and shorthanded time on ice – a key defensive situation – mixed with advanced statistics like Corsi for, quality of competition, and defensive zone starts, the things that can help tell us which players are driving play and not just benefitting from sheltered minutes.

There are a few surprises, but for the most part, it’s the usual suspects. Read more

What would it take for Ted Nolan to win coach of the year?

Jared Clinton

With the Buffalo Sabres eking their way into playoff contention, coach Ted Nolan has a shot, no matter how small it may be, at making this season Jack Adams Trophy worthy.

Traditionally, winners of the yearly award for best coach are those who are the bench boss of teams that finish atop the standings or make the playoffs while exceeding all expectations placed upon them. It’s in that last point that Nolan’s hope at his second Jack Adams becomes a reality. Read more

Shannon Szabados named Southern Pro League Player of the Week

Jared Clinton
Shannon Szabados (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Just one week after recording her first professional men’s league win, Shannon Szabados is adding Southern Pro League Player of the Week honors to her trophy case.

Szabados picked up the award for her performance from Nov. 24-30, which included two wins, a 1.49 goals-against average, and .963 save percentage. She didn’t stop there, however, adding an assist on the game-winning goal as her Columbus Cottonmouths downed the Fayetteville FireAntz 2-1 in overtime. She’s the first woman to take home the honors. Read more

Corey Perry: a root canal at the DMV for opponents – and a worthy Hart candidate

Adam Proteau
Corey Perry (Getty Images)

In posting two hat tricks already this season, Ducks right winger Corey Perry is reminding NHL fans the Hart Trophy-winning season he had in 2010-11 was not mere chance occurrence. He and center Ryan Getzlaf have already combined for 10 goals and 20 points, and having two consistent Hart Trophy candidates in the lineup is, of course, one of the key reasons (if not the key) to their team’s success.

But what Perry has that sets him apart – what gave Anaheim one of the little extra edges it needed to win the Stanley Cup in 2007 – is the simple, unmistakable fact he’s fresh out of damns to give, and that includes giving a damn about having his supply of damns restocked. And at 29 years of age, he looks to be more dangerous than ever and primed to challenge his career-best 50-goal, 98-point, Rocket Richard-winning ’10-11 campaign. Read more

Top 10 Hart Trophy candidates for 2014-15

Matt Larkin
Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are again leading candidates to win the Hart. (Getty Images)

The Hart Trophy debate is my favorite of the Great Hockey Debates, largely because nobody knows what the award truly means.

By definition, the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association votes for “the player judged to be most valuable to his team.” It’s debatable whether that happens. Last year, it’s safe to say the Penguins would’ve gone nowhere without Sidney Crosby. But was any player more valuable to his team the year before than John Tavares, who almost singlehandedly took the Islanders to the playoffs? He finished third in the vote, with the Hart going to the defensively deficient but offensively potent Alex Ovechkin.

More often that not, the Hart skews toward prolific point totals, so keep in mind that my top 10 Hart candidates for 2014-15 factor in that common bias. Sorry, Patrice Bergeron and Anze Kopitar.

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Best bets for the Hart, Art Ross, Rocket Richard, Norris, Vezina and Calder Trophies

Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Hockey is in the air. Pre-season games are on the TV, jerseys for the Winter Classic are being released, Maple Leafs star Phil Kessel has been at the center of a non-story…the world is right again.

And before you know it, the games will start counting.

We’ve been previewing each NHL team and releasing top 10 lists related to the upcoming season. We can’t wait to see how it all starts to unfold.

Today, gambling site Bodog released odds on who will take home the major individual NHL awards this season. Below, we take a look at the lines set by Bodog and provide what we think are some decent picks – plus a few off the board options for you to consider and guys to stay away from.

Who will win the 2014 Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player?
Sidney Crosby: 7/4
Ryan Getzlaf: 6/1
Steven Stamkos: 6/1
John Tavares: 8/1
Alex Ovechkin: 12/1
Claude Giroux: 15/1
Tyler Seguin: 15/1
Evgeni Malkin: 15/1
Jonathan Toews: 16/1
Anze Kopitar: 18/1
Corey Perry: 20/1
Patrick Kane: 20/1
Jamie Benn: 35/1
Tuukka Rask: 35/1
Henrik Lundqvist: 40/1
Jonathan Quick: 50/1
Carey Price: 50/1
Erik Karlsson: 50/1
Nathan MacKinnon: 50/1

Best bets: OK, so if Crosby stays healthy, he’s more of a lock to be a Hart Trophy contender than anyone else. That’s obvious. If you want to make a safe pick, but think Crosby’s health is too big of a risk for the 7/4 odds he holds, Stamkos at 6/1 is your guy on a bulked up Tampa Bay Lightning squad. But how about Evgeni Malkin at 15/1? If Crosby does go down, Malkin is a great candidate to take over that team and explode up the scoring chart. Of course, he comes with injury risk too. Read more

Top 10 Art Ross Trophy candidates for 2014-15

John Tavares (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

In the 21 seasons between 1980-81 and 2000-01, a total of three players won the NHL scoring championship. Perhaps you’ve heard of them – Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

In the 12 seasons since then, nine players have won it and nobody has taken home the Art Ross Trophy in successive seasons. We at predict that trend to continue. And if our crystal ball isn’t defective, there will be another first-time winner this season.

With that in mind, here are our top 10 choices for the Art Ross Trophy in 2014-15, in descending order. Read more

A new statue for every franchise in the NHL

Ryan Kennedy

The Los Angeles Kings will honor Luc Robitaille with his own statue outside the Staples Center, where he will join fellow luminary Wayne Gretzky. But let’s play Oprah here and give everybody a statue! Below you’ll find new candidates for every NHL franchise. Legends who already have statues are noted, too. And yes, some players get two statues because they managed to win hearts in multiple cities.

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