The Envelope, Please

Although the NHL does not announce its annual award winners until June, and finalists won’t be known for a few weeks yet, the balloting is basically finished. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote for most of the awards, although the NHL’s 30 general managers vote for the Vezina Trophy winner and the NHL Broadcasters’ Association is responsible for choosing the Jack Adams Award winner.

I’ve been a dues-paying member of the PHWA for more than a decade now, but I voluntarily surrendered my voting rights in 2001 when I became an official Caps employee. Conflict of interest, and all that. Anyway, even though I don’t vote anymore I can still get a blog entry out of listing my choices. And I can chime in on the Vezina and the Adams, too.

The ballots are distributed to the PHWA members in late Mar.-early Apr., and they must be completed and returned prior to the start of the playoffs. Can’t remember if you’re supposed to list three or five, so I’m copping out and listing five. Here’s how I’m seeing it:

Hart Memorial Trophy
(to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team)
1. Martin Brodeur, New Jersey (only three teams scored fewer goals than NJ in ’06-07; none are in playoffs)
2. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver (helped the Canucks to a franchise-high 105 points)
3. Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay (his career season helped paper over the Lightning’s abysmal goaltending)
4. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver (assisted on nearly a third of his team’s goals)
5. Joe Sakic, Colorado (almost willed the Avs into the playoffs)

I take the wording of this one fairly literally. Sidney Crosby wins the Ross Trophy, but he’s one of many offensively gifted players on the Pens. These guys were more crucial to their team’s success in 2006-07.

Calder Memorial Trophy
(to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League)
1. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh (lived up to the hype)
2. Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose (teenaged defensemen aren’t supposed to be playing 22 minutes a night)
3. Paul Stastny, Colorado (stunning season punctuated by record scoring streak)
4. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles (led all rookie forwards in ice time, second in assists)
5. Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh (exceeded expectations, tied for second among rookies with 29 goals)

Malkin wins, but he’s not the runaway choice many predicted.

James Norris Memorial Trophy
(to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position)
1. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit (terrific at both ends and should win his fifth Norris in last six seasons)
2. Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim (he’s right there)
3. Sergei Gonchar, Pittsburgh (possibly his best year)
4. Dan Boyle, Tampa Bay (underrated)
5. Jay Bouwmeester, Florida (here he comes)

Lidstrom by a good bit, IMO. Bryan Campbell deserves to be considered at 5.

Vezina Trophy
(to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position)
1. Brodeur, New Jersey (broke Bernie Parent’s three-decade-old wins record)
2. Luongo, Vancouver (tied Parent’s mark)
3. Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary (workload was almost that of Brodeur and Luongo)
4. Dominik Hasek, Detroit (still The Dominator)
5. Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers (went 11-2-4, 1.78 and .938 in his last 18 starts to help Rangers sneak in)

Ryan Miller, Ray Emery, Rick DiPietro and the Nashville Cats are bubbling just beneath.

Frank J. Selke Trophy
(to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game)
1. Mike Fisher, Ottawa (a hard guy to play against all over the ice)
2. Mike Sillinger, NY Islanders (shorthanded specialist and scoring threat, checking center, faceoff whiz)
3. Chris Drury, Buffalo (checks, scores, kills penalties, takes key face-offs)
4. Jay Pandolfo, New Jersey (a Devs fan pointed out his stunning total of 8 PIM over 82 games while playing 18:37 a night)
5. Jere Lehtinen, Dallas (still one of the best)

Hard time choosing between Fisher and Sillinger.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
(to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with high standard of playing ability)
1. Lehtinen, Dallas
2. Brad Richards, Tampa Bay
3. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit
4. Lidstrom, Detroit
5. Tomas Kaberle, Toronto

I don’t need to say anything about this.

Jack Adams Award
(to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success)
1. Bryan Murray, Ottawa (on the verge of being fired in Nov., ready for another shot at the Cup in Apr.)
2. Ted Nolan, NY Islanders (who expected them to get in?)
3. Barry Trotz, Nashville (arguably the most balanced team in the league)
4. Randy Carlyle, Anaheim (his young players keep getting better)
5. Andy Murray, St. Louis (from nowhere to respectable in a matter of months)

Lindy Ruff? Please. If you have the best team, you’re supposed to have the best record.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
(to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey)
Owen Nolan, Phoenix

All-Star Teams
First Team

G Brodeur
D Lidstrom
D Niedermayer
LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington
C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh
RW Dany Heatley, Ottawa

Second Team
G Luongo
D Gonchar
D Boyle
LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo
C Lecavalier
RW Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay

All-Rookie Team
G Mike Smith, Dallas
D Vlasic
D Matthew Carle, San Jose
F Malkin
F Stastny
F Kopitar

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5 Comments on “The Envelope, Please”

  1. fauxrumors Says:

    1) We did our Trophy finalist posting a week or so ago when discussing Canada’s reemergence in NHL dominance this year:
    2) Crosby, as much as we dislike his antics, HAS to be a Final 3 Hart candidate. Of the 2 goalies we give the nod to Luongo since the West is so much stronger than the East this year. His win total is even more impressive than Marty’s

  2. dumpnchase Says:

    Thanks for the comment. The West may be stronger in the standings, but there is more offensive firepower in the East. That’s why I went with Brodeur. Nine of the 12 lowest scoring teams in the league come from the West.

    And I maintain that by the literal interpretation of the Hart Trophy Award, Crosby was not among the five most valuable players to his team this season. He’s certainly top 10. And you’ll note that I had him as the center on the First All-Star Team. Great season, yes. MVP? Not quite.

  3. Kazer Says:

    I agree with regards to the argument for Crosby not being in the top 5 of the MVP race, but I wonder how you can make that argument and still list Vincent Lecavalier so highly. Vinnie only had 6 points over his teammate and linemate Martin St Louis, yet Crosby had 35 points over his second Evgeni Malkin. I agree that Crosby’s 17 point improvement did not spark the Penguins to their great season, and that it was really the coming out party of a number of their younger players that propelled them. However, the fact remains he had an outstanding season and even as a Caps fan I have to give him the nod in the top five.

    For the record, my top 5:
    1. Martin Brodeur (Possibly his best season with his worst defense)
    2. Roberto Luongo (Great numbers behind a relatively weak team)
    3. Sidney Crosby (120 pts, outstanding season)
    4. Joe Sakic (Amazing season, especially down the stretch)
    5. Joe Thornton (Big Joe had a slow start and a great finish)

  4. dumpnchase Says:

    Thanks for the comment. Vinny scores goals, Sidney sets them up. Sometimes very indirectly (second assists). Vinny also ranks among the ice time leaders in the league among forwards. He’s fourth, playing almost two minutes a night more than Crosby.

    I agree with you that Thornton and St. Louis are worthy of consideration. And I agree with you that Crosby had an outstanding season. I just don’t see him as one of the five best Hart candidates.

  5. Murshawursha Says:

    I’d pick Lecavalier over Crosby, easily. Pittburgh is a good team all around, but Vinny and his linemates basically carried Tampa on their backs into the playoffs. TB doesn’t have near the depth Pittburgh does IMO, not to mention their rather subpar goaltending.

    That also happens to be the reason I see TB losing to the Devils in round 1.

    And is it farfetched to consider Boyd Gordon a contender for the Selke in a couple of years?

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