Posts Tagged ‘NHL Awards 2012’

Jack Adams Award Finalists Announced

April 30, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues

Many believe that there is no doubt that Hitchcock will win the Jack Adams, and you can’t really argue that.  Taking over the team early in the season, the team quickly bought into his defensive system and never looked back.  Just ask Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, who had career years as they combined to create the league’s #1 goaltending duo.  The Blues finished with 109 points, the team’s highest total since 1999-2000.

The Blues' early coaching change paid heavy dividends.
PHOTO CREDITS: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators

Many didn’t expect the Ottawa Senators to be as competitive as they were this season.  Projected by many to finish well out of the playoffs, the Sens were one of the better teams in the East for most of the season under the guidance of first-year coach Paul MacLean.  At one point, Ottawa was leading the Northeast division, ahead of the Boston Bruins.  He was able to spark the team’s offense, as Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek both rebounded from a tough year last season to post some solid stats.

Paul MacLean did an admirable job in his first season as an NHL coach.
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

John Tortorella, New York Rangers

“Torts” took a team that barely made the playoffs last season to the top team in the East all in one season.  He was able to use all his assets to his advantage, with a solid mix of offense and stingy defense.  Henrik Lundqvist provided the Rangers with some solid goaltending, and the offense was led by Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.  It almost feels like Tortorella has been in New York for longer than his four-year tenure so far.

John Tortorella continues to prove that he is one of the better coaches in the league.
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Hart Trophy Finalists Announced

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

(50 goals, 59 assists, 109 points, +18)

Many wondered how Evgeni Malkin would fare this season, as the Pens knew that they would start the season without Sidney Crosby.  Coupled with him coming off season-ending knee surgery, and you had a lot of questions left to be answered.  Well, he answered them all right, and in classic Malkin fashion.  He would carry the offensive load for the team, finding great success with linemate James Neal, who had a career year.  Malkin would finish the season with a league-high 109 points, and his 50 goals were second behind Steven Stamkos.  Crosby who?

There was certainly no rust this season from Evgeni Malkin, as he was back to his old self after a knee injury cut his season short last year.
PHOTO CREDITS: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

(39-18-5, 1.97 GAA, .930 SV%, 8 shutouts)

It’s not often that a goaltender appears as a finalist for the MVP, but  you could definitely make a case for Henrik Lundqvist this season.  Time after time, he kept his team in the game, whether up by a goal or trailing late in the third.  He finished within the top 5 in all four major goaltending categories (wins, save percentage, goals against average, shutouts), and helped lead the Rangers to the #1 seed.

The Rangers' star netminder continues to prove that he is one of the best goaltenders, if not, the best, in the league.
PHOTO CREDITS: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

(60 goals, 37 assists, 97 points, +7)

Despite missing the playoffs, it was another incredible year for Steven Stamkos as he became the first player to hit 60 goals since Alex Ovechkin back in 2007-2008.  Unlike last season, he was consistent all year round, scoring 10 goals in the final 9 games of the season.  His 60 goals are also a club record, surpassing the previous record of 52 held by captain Vincent Lecavalier.  At the young age of 22, the rest of the league has to wonder what Stamkos’ limit is, because the way he’s playing, there doesn’t seem to be one.

Steven Stamkos continues to be a scoring machine. Will he hit 65 next season?
PHOTO CREDITS: Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

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Vezina Finalists Announced

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

(43-18-8, 2.39 GAA, .923 SV%, 5 shutouts)

It’s easy to see why GM David Poile was so eager to get a new deal done for Pekka Rinne.  Considered one of the elite netminders in the league, Rinne once again provided the Preds with superb goaltending.  His 43 wins ranked 1st in the entire league, and he definitely carried the load for the Preds, appearing in a whopping 73 games.  His GAA and SV% may be down in comparison to last year, but he’s still the go-to guy in Nashville, and for good reason.

Pekka Rinne showed why he was worthy of a 7-year, $49 million extension.
PHOTO CREDITS: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

(39-18-5, 1.97 GAA, .930 SV%, 8 shutouts)

One of the more consistent goalies in the league since his arrival in 2005-2006, Henrik Lundqvist had his best season to date, shattering his previous career highs in wins, GAA, and SV%.  Lundqvist finished in the top in 5 in all four major goaltending categories, and was a huge reason for the Rangers’ surprise rise to the top of the Eastern standings.

A career year for Henrik Lundqvist helped his Rangers soar to the top of the Eastern Conference standings - and their first division championship since 1994.
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

(35-21-13, 1.95 GAA, .929 SV%, 10 shutouts)

Quick just keeps getting better and better, and this season was no different.  Known for being in tight games, the Kings relied on their young netminder to keep them in many games, especially considering how tough goals came by for the Kings during the regular season.  He led the entire league with 10 shutouts, and finished within the top 5 in wins, GAA, and SV%.

The Kings heavily relied upon Jonathan Quick, and he didn't disappoint.
PHOTO CREDITS: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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Masterton Trophy Finalists Announced

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are….

Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs

It’s been rough for Joffrey Lupul the last couple of seasons, as he has had to deal with multiple injuries, including a serious back injury in 2009 that caused him to lose upwards of 40 pounds.  A blood infection following the back injury would force Lupul to miss the majority of the ’09-’10 season and the first 28 games of the following season.  Finally healthy this season, Lupul found instant chemistry with Phil Kessel, and they both helped each other establish career highs.

Lupul (above) & Kessel were one of the deadliest duos this season.
PHOTO CREDITS: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators

After undergoing back surgery in the offseason, many wondered if Daniel Alfredsson would ever be the same.  Well, he sure looked like his old self, fitting right in with what is a relatively young lineup.  No one expected the Sens to make the playoffs.  In fact, many penciled them in somewhere near the basement off the Eastern standings.  Instead, they punched a ticket into the playoffs, and silenced all their critics.

Daniel Alfredsson showed that he can still play at the age of 39.
PHOTO CREDITS: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

Coming off a serious concussion at the hands of Zdeno Chara’s infamous hit last season, Pacioretty came back and showed everyone why the Habs drafted him 23rd overall, posting 33 goals and 32 assists while mostly playing with David Desharnais and Erik Cole.  It is no coincidence that both of his linemates also had career highs, as the three of them helped carry the load offensively for a struggling Montreal team.


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GM of the Year Finalists Announced

April 24, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

Dale Tallon, Florida Panthers

In his second full year as GM of the Panthers, Tallon went on a massive shopping spree during the offseason just to get his team over the $48.3 million salary floor.  Brian Campbell and Tomas Fleischmann were two of his offseason acquisitions who had career years, while Kris Versteeg and Jose Theodore also did their part en route to Florida’s first playoff berth in a decade.

David Poile, Nashville Predators

Once again, the Predators continue to be a competitive team, despite being relatively close to the salary floor.  Poile was able to retain the service of all-star defenseman Shea Weber for another year, while locking up their franchise netminder in Pekka Rinne long-term.  He may not have got any “big names” during the trade deadline, but acquiring Paul Gaustad, Hal Gill and Andrei Kostitsyn helped bolster what was already a solid lineup.  Not to be left out is the return of Alexander Radulov, and you have what is potentially a Stanley Cup caliber team.

Doug Armstrong, St. Louis Blues

It’s easy to see why Doug Armstrong is one of the finalists after watching him transform an average team into one of the top teams in the league in just one season.  His low-risk, high reward gamble on Brian Elliott paid off huge dividends, as he and Halak combined for a whopping 15 shutouts.  Veterans Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott have helped to mentor a young Blues lineup, and Armstrong was also the man who pulled the trigger and made the coaching change early in the season, as Ken Hitchcock took over with his defensive system and helped the Blues en route to their first division championship since 1999-2000.

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Selke Trophy Finalists Announced

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

David Backes, St. Louis Blues

It’s no surprise that a Blues player is one of the nominees for this award, especially considering the amazing defensive job the team did as a whole this season.  As usual, Backes led his team with a whopping 226 hits.  He also led all Blues forwards with 72 blocked shots, a huge reason why the Blues only allowed a stingy 26.7 shots per game.  To top it off, Backes also had 50 takeaways, good for second on the team.

David Backes finishing one of his many hits during the regular season.
PHOTO CREDITS: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins

One look at Patrice Bergeron’s plus-minus (+36), and you can already see why he is one of the finalists.  Like Backes, he also did his share of blocking shots (67) and takeaways (55).  But perhaps the most important stat is his faceoff winning percentage, where he finished at an eye-popping 59.3%.  Here’s another amazing stat if you aren’t sold on Bergeron just yet: he was on the ice for only 33 even-strength goals during the regular season.

Patrice Bergeron taking away of a turnover.
PHOTO CREDITS: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

It just wouldn’t be an NHL awards ceremony without Pavel Datsyuk nominated for the Selke.  Once again, the talented Russian forward finds himself as one of the finalists, and for good reason.  Like Bergeron, Datsyuk won many important faceoffs for his team, winning 56.2% of all his faceoffs.  It adds up if you factor in that Datsyuk took nearly one-third of all of Detroit’s faceoffs during the regular season.  His 97 takeaways were third in the league, and the opposition has found out on numerous occasions what happens when you giveaway the puck to Datsyuk.

You don't want the puck to be on this man's stick when he's in the offensive zone.
PHOTO CREDITS: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

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Lady Byng Trophy Finalists Announced

April 23, 2012 Leave a comment

And they are…

Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers

Following a solid rookie season, Eberle shattered his totals with a breakout sophomore season, scoring 34 times while adding 42 assists in the mix.  His 22 penalty minutes from last season were quite impressive for a rookie, but he took it to another level this season by taking only five minor penalties, good for just 10 penalty minutes.  Considered as part of the youth movement in Edmonton, Jordan Eberle will certainly continue to improve, and his discipline is starting to get noticed now as well.

Jordan Eberle looks to win his first piece of NHL hardware in just his second full season.
PHOTO CREDITS: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers

Shipped off to Florida in the off-season in order to dump his salary, Brian Campbell certainly made GM Dale Tallon look like a genius by posting some solid stats (4 goals, 49 assists) in his first season with the Panthers.  What’s really amazing, however, is the fact that he only took three minor penalties during the whole season, and none of them came in the final 25 games of the season.  Could Brian Campbell become just the third defenseman in NHL history to win this award?

Brian Campbell was able too put together a solid season because of his discipline.
PHOTO CREDITS: Joel Auberach/Getty Images

Matt Moulson, New York Islanders

In his third season with the Islanders, Moulson once again shattered his previous career highs in all three major offensive categories (36 goals, 33 assists, 69 points).  As the Isles look to continue their quest to clinch a playoff berth, Moulson will certainly be a key member down the stretch.  Remember Campbell’s 25-game streak of penalty-free hockey?  If you thought that was impressive, then you haven’t seen Moulson’s streak of 47 consecutive games to end the season without a single penalty taken.  Good things do indeed happen if you stay out of the box.

Matt Moulson didn't take a single penalty in 2012, which helped him to establish career highs in goals (36), assists (33), and points (69).
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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