6 May 2014

NHL Awards 2013/14 - meet the contenders

As the saying goes: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas until yet another lockout delays the end of the season enough to make it a logistical and public relations nightmare, meaning it goes away from Vegas for a year before it comes back and maybe then stays in Vegas."

2013 saw the Balding Captain and Power Forward Traded By Alberta Team For Bag of Pucks Trophy awarded for the first time in several years

Here is the usual quick rundown of the main awards (those that are voted on) and those in contention:

Hart Memorial Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association
Supposed to be awarded to: The player adjudged most valuable to his team
In practice, normally awarded to: LeBron James, due to often liberal interpretation of guidance issued by the PHWA to its attentive voters

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Finally receiving some well-deserved individual recognition as something more than just an average player with points totals inflated due to being a regular linemate of Chris Kunitz.

Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)
Sometimes compared to Mark Messier, given his combination of scoring ability and physical play, his size and his Western Canadian origins, although with the parity in today's NHL, his chances of matching #11's number of Cup wins are heavily receding.

Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers)
After opening the season without a goal in 15 games, led the Flyers' recovery the rest of the way by hitting the back of the net 28 times, joining the back of Braden Holtby's head as something hit 28 times to turnaround the Flyers' season.

Ted Lindsay Award

Voted on by: Members of the National Hockey League Players' Association
Supposed to be awarded to: The most outstanding player in the NHL
In practice, normally awarded to: The player voted for by everybody in the NHLPA except Roman Hamrlík

Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
His 17-point margin of victory over Getzlaf in the scoring race was the largest since the 1998/99 season, when Jaromír Jágr beat Teemu Selänne by 20 points, predictive analysis therefore suggesting that the 2028/29 season will see a Penguin win the scoring race over a Duck by a large margin again and Jágr outscoring Selänne by 60 points.

Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)
If not for Rangers superstars, Pavel Brendl and Hugh Jessiman, would surely be recognised as both the most successful graduate of the Calgary Hitmen and the best power forward to come out of the stacked 2003 entry draft.

Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers)
After a unsuccessful 2012/13 campaign, suffered an off-season golfing injury, believed to be the most apt Flyers-related accident since Kate Smith was fatally crushed by a goon dropped from the Spectrum rafters by a terrible goaltender.

James Norris Memorial Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association   
Supposed to be awarded to: The defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position
In practice, normally awarded to: Nicklas Lidström

Zdeno Chára (Boston Bruins)
His booming slapshot has been officially recorded at 108.8 mph, putting it in a similar speed bracket as a David Ortiz home run ball and a character assassination written by a member of the local press following the trade of a scoring forward by the Bruins.

Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks)
The Manitoban All-Star calibre player with missing front teeth and a cavalier attitude to concussions is nicknamed "Clarkey" by his Blackhawks teammates for reasons that nobody has yet divulged.

Shea Weber (Nashville Predators)
After a 12-month period without addition, has a chance of joining the select list of players signed to a contract by Paul Holmgren winning something while not playing for the Los Angeles Kings.

Vezina Trophy

Voted on by: General Managers of all NHL clubs
Supposed to be awarded to: The goaltender who is adjudged to be the best at this position
In practice, normally awarded to: The Russian goaltender who is adjudged to be the best at owning an unsustainable high save percentage on an overachieving team

Ben Bishop (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Already arguably the second best goaltender in Lightning history behind Cup-winner Nikolai Khabibulin, this season's exploits having put him ahead of a moth-eaten curtain, Empty Net and John Grahame.

Tuukka Rask (Boston Bruins)
Although continuing to rack up impressive personal statistics, some believe he still carries the stigma of backstopping Bruins teams that have both blown a 3-0 playoff series lead and conceded two late goals within 17 seconds to lose a Stanley Cup Final elimination game, "achievements" that the goalie tandem of Andrew Raycroft and Justin Pogge have never suffered, according to the Maple Leafs' analytics department.

Semyon Varlamov (Colorado Avalanche)
Controversially acquired at the cost of a potentially high first round draft pick by the then-lowly Avalanche, so faces the pressure of having to win multiple Vezinas to match the probable Hall of Fame-level contributions the Capitals will receive over Filip Forsberg's career.

Host George Stroumboulopoulos indicates how many NHL games
in aggregate the show's celebrity guests have ever attended

Calder Memorial Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association 
Supposed to be awarded to: The player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League
In practice, normally awarded to: The player selected as the highest point-scoring forward in what might be his third year of competition in the National Hockey League after what might be no or several years of competition in another professional league

Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Undrafted, diminutive scoring forward for the Lightning seemingly not penalised by voters for his intention to petulantly force a trade in 15 years' time to the team closest to his off-season home, the Seattle Coyotes.

Nathan McKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
Achieved two extremely rare feats that even Wayne Gretzky couldn't manage in his career, by having a 13-game scoring streak as an 18-year-old and by being permitted to take a shootout attempt in a game involving Patrick Roy.

Ondřej Palát (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Led all rookies in scoring in 2014 and plus-minus over the season, as well as blocking 64 shots, thus preventing the most pucks reaching the goal by any NHLer with "Ondřej Pa" in his name.

Frank J. Selke Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association 
Supposed to be awarded to: The forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game
In practice, normally awarded to: The forward who is considered by PHWA members to be the best defensively, based on a balanced analysis of zone-starts, Corsi %, quality of competition, usage and shot prevention while shorthanded and penalty differential, though an insignificant minority might just look at reputation and plus-minus.

Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
Famously exhibited his toughness in last year's Stanley Cup Final by playing through a punctured lung, separated shoulder and broken nose, injuries suffered when a Chicago player collided with Brad Marchand's left knee.

Anže Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings)
Despite being ranked the top European skater, was to be found in Sweden as the 2005 Entry Draft took place, as coincidentally was a bag containing 45 lottery balls without "Pittsburgh Penguins" written on them.

Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
Has much in common with Bergeron, being a member of the Triple Gold Club, a previous Selke winner, fluent in English and French and having a name that sounds nothing like a word spelled T.O.E.W.S.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association 
Supposed to be awarded to: The player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey
In practice, normally awarded to: The player who missed the most games through injury the season before

Jaromír Jágr (New Jersey Devils)
Has remarkably sustained an NHL career longer than each of the three 20-year-old players for whom he was traded by Pittsburgh on July 11 2001, a feat that probably stopped deserving being called remarkable around October 11 2001.

Manny Malhotra (Carolina Hurricanes)
Has made a successful return to the NHL after being let go by the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, a decision described by then-GM Mike Gillis as "the hardest thing I have done in this job", which led to Gillis resolving to avoid making any hard decisions relating to his roster for as long as possible from that point on.

Dominic Moore (New York Rangers)
As his Wikipedia bio states, has at times in his career had to cope with the unenviable handicap of playing with Jason Blake on a "scoring" line and with Ryan Hollweg on a line of any description.

Messrs Linden and Lecavalier proudly display their humanitarian awards for all their tireless work for organisations dealing with disadvantaged goaltending situations 

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy

Voted on by: Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association 
Supposed to be awarded to: The player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability
In practice, normally awarded to: The player adjudged to have had the fewest penalty minutes when the voters quickly skim down the list of top 20 scorers five minutes before the deadline to send in their ballot

Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks)
Evidence of a high level of gentlemanly conduct and self-control is shown by his tally of only 18 penalty minutes all year and being on the record as having listened to Jeremy Roenick for in excess of 10 minutes in one go.

Ryan O'Reilly (Colorado Avalanche)
Notably only called for one penalty in 80 games played, for inadvertently playing with a broken stick, an infraction considered by his coach to be too vanilla to spoil such a record.

Martin St. Louis (New York Rangers)
Achieves the unique distinction of being a finalist for this award having once signed a contract with the genuine intention of playing for a team run by Jay Feaster.

Jack Adams Award

Voted on by: Members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association 
Supposed to be awarded to: The coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success
In practice, normally awarded to: The coach adjudged to have coached either the most injured team or the team with the best PDO/shootout-fuelled record.

Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wings)
At one point during the filming of HBO's '24/7' series, kicked the camera crew out of his locker room between periods of one game, a controversial move given the camera crew formed the injury-hit Red Wings' second line at the time.

Jon Cooper (Tampa Bay Lightning)
A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, meaning he alternates between having no idea there is a hockey team near where he lives and wanting it to be contracted or moved to Quebec.

Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche)
Successful start to his professional coaching career would normally bode well for a long stay behind the bench, but his combustible personality suggests that a dramatic falling out with the vice president of hockey operations for the Avalanche at some point is almost inevitable.

General Manager of the Year Award

In a departure from previous practice, in recognition of the popularity of vague schedules and the ultimate measure of success being winning two playoff rounds, the finalists will apparently be announced "later this month on a date to be determined" and will be based on voting conducted following the second round of the playoffs.  So Doug Wilson's chances have rather swiftly evaporated.


Voted on by: General Managers of all NHL clubs and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media 
Supposed to be awarded to: The top National Hockey League General Manager
In practice, normally awarded to: The National Hockey League General Manager Most Likely To Be Fired Within A Couple Of Years As A Direct Consequence Of Short-Term Moves That Led To Being A Finalist For The Award

Marc Bergevin (Montreal Canadiens)
Leading candidate to extend to two the streak of General Manager of the Year Award winners who willingly acquired Douglas Murray in the previous year, meaning the Best GM:Gritty Hitty Swedish Defenseman:Conference Finalists relationship still maintains a correlation coefficient of 1.0000, stat nerds.

Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles Kings)
Beneficiary of the maxim that acquiring a former 40-goal scorer from the Columbus Blue Jackets is a guarantee of a large quantity of playoff goals roughly two out of every three times.

Bob Murray (Anaheim Ducks)
Despite being a successor to Brian Burke in his role, appears to have the Ducks somewhat behind schedule in becoming entirely dysfunctional and based in Canada.


Awards post archive (a.k.a. look at all the recycled material):