When the season is finally over, and the new Stanley Cup champion is crowned, the NHL gives out its annual awards. Since we are just past the midway point of the season, I’d like to give out my mid-season awards.
Hart Memorial Trophy: The Hart Memorial Trophy is given to the most valuable player on his team, and is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Last year’s winner was Pittsburgh Penguin’s Evgeni Malkin. This year’s winner is going to come from the sunshine state and the Tampa Bay Lighting, that man is Steven Stamkos. Sure Tampa Bay isn’t in the playoffs, sure they are five points out of a spot, and are 13-16-1, but Stamkos is still producing at a very high rate. Stamkos has 40 points in 30 games which is second in the league behind Sidney Crosby (50). Stamkos leads the NHL in goals with 21 which is three more than Chris Kunitz (PIT), John Taveres (NYI), and Jeff Carter (LA). Steven Stamkos is a dynamic player, and no matter how his team is doing good or bad he always produces.
Vezina Trophy: The Vezina Trophy is given to the best goaltender, voted on by the general managers of all NHL clubs. The trophy is in memory of Montreal Canadians goalie Georges Vezina who collapsed on the ice on Nov. 28, 1925 and passed away just a few months later. Last year’s winner was New York Ranger Henrik Lundqvist. This year’s Vezina winner will be…Corey Crawford. Corey Crawford coming into this year was under a lot of pressure, after having a very poor sophomore season, the Crow needed to rebound. With the extra time off due to the lockout, it gave him time to get mentally and physically prepared to be the number one goalie the Hawks need him to be. The Hawks went 24 games with a point which was a league record, and during that time Crawford went 13-0-3. Crawford is in the top five in save percentage (.926) and goals against average (1.86).
James Norris Trophy: The Norris Trophy is given out to the best defensemen in the league. This award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the end of the regular season. Last year the award was given to Ottawa Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson. This season the Norris Trophy will be given to the Bruins Zdeno Chara. Chara this season has six goals, eight assists, and is plus 14. Since coming to the Bruins in 2006, Chara has played in 77 plus games, scored seven or more goals, and has 30 plus helpers. Chara is the kind of defensemen that may not score a lot of goals but does all the little things right. He keeps pucks in the zone, gest involved physically when he needs to, but most importantly he is a leader on and off the ice. This is why he will be the 2013 Norris Trophy recipient.
Frank J. Selke Trophy: The Selke trophy is given to the player who displays great defensive play while playing the forward position. Last year bean town’s Patrice Bergeron was the recipient. This year I believe the award is coming back to sweet home Chicago and the Blackhawks Marian Hossa. Hossa is one of best forwards that plays superb defense. Marian is the kind of player who, if he gets the puck stripped from him at the blue line he will hustle back and have tremendous back pressure on the player who stripped the puck from him. Hossa is coming off a major concussion suffered in the playoffs, and has bounced back beautifully by scoring 13 goals, adding 10 helpers and is a plus 11. Hossa not only can score, but is the fourth defensemen when he is on the ice. That is why Marian Hossa will win the 2013 Selke Award. Finally the Jack Adams Award.
Jack Adams Award: The award is given to the head coach judged to have contributed the most on the team’s success. This award is voted on by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association at the end of the regular season. Last year the award went to St.Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock. This year voting is going to be close, there are many coaches that are in the running for the award. For me this decision was an easy one it goes to Joel Quenneville. Joel at the beginning of the season was on the hot seat. After winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, the next two season the Hawks were ousted in the first round of the playoffs. Many fans wanted Quenneville out of Chicago, but GM Stan Bowman stood by his side and look what happened, the Hawks went 24 games with a point and are in first place in the division, conference and league with a record of 24-3-3 and 51 points. Joel has the ability to recognize when a line or D paring isn’t working, making changes in the game and having that change pay immediate dividends. Quennevile has put the Hawks back on track for the cup, and has the team clicking on all cylinders.
Those are my mid-season award picks. We still have the second half to go and who know someone might rise to the occasion and change my mind, stay tuned. If you want to get interactive with me follow me on Twitter @CHCSTC4, or shoot me and me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org