Jumat, 02 Maret 2012

Trophy Tracker - Our Analysis Pt. 1

We've been keeping tabs on the trophy tracker on NHL.com because we may be as obsessed as them when it comes to predicting awards and who deserves what.

Anyway, we figured that it was time we got down to business and defeated the Huns...er, gave our opinion on who should be in the race and who shouldn't.

We are going Hart, Vezina, Norris and Selke today. Tomorrow is Calder, Lady Byng, Jack Adams and GM of the Year.


The Hart - MVP

The three projected finalists are Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist and Steven Stamkos.

The first two are fine choices and we completely agree. But Stamkos? We know it's because he is leading the league in goals right now but where are the Lightning? They're twelfth in the league and slowly sinking.

How about someone from the Western Conference? Does everyone forget about the WC? EAST COAST BIAS, BITCHES!!! (We are half-joking.)

Anyway, we were thinking that maybe Pekka Rinne would be a good choice. His play of late is one of the main reasons that the Predators are keeping pace in the awful Central division.

We had this amazing argument for Jonathan Toews to be in the Hart race but the SOB had to injure himself, crash his car and then say that he has a concussion. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO US??? WE HATE YOU!

He was having a great year and leading his team through a terrible losing streak while also being a boss. We're still mad at his face.

But his teammate, Marian Hossa, would be a nice darkhorse. He's been a beast for the Blackhawks and has really come out to play this season. With injuries taking out like half the roster it seems, Hossa has been their go-to guy at times.

With Toews out, he's been picking up most of the slack and the Hawks need that. He's tenth in the league in scoring (with 62 points currently) and we're still impressed.

The article talks about how Claude Giroux was bumped out of contention by the three they named but we do not agree with that at all.

Giroux is the reason that both Carter and Richards were expendable. And he has lived up to that the entire season. He was out with a concussion but came back and is still the highest scoring Flyer and third in the league in scoring.

He's also helping his team stay in the playoff race while their goaltending situation goes downhill fast.

We discussed the East Coast Bias but we're going to name another person who could be a viable candidate for the Hart who is from the EC: Zach Parise.

The Devils had a really up and down season and it was hard to watch at times. But then Parise started to step up his game. He had help in Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk.

They're not as defensive as before but they're still winning games and it's all because of their captain. He's used on the PP and the PK and he is one of those players who can win games with what seems like will alone.

He definitely deserves a second-look when the nominations happen because he's a beast in the East and as Penguins fans, we hate him because he always scores the game-winner.

Who do you think should be in the running?


Vezina - Best Goaltender

The three projected finalists are Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick.

Everyone knows it's gonna be Lundqvist. He deserves it completely. Every single night he gives his team a chance to win and it makes a difference. When you see teams like Philadelphia and Chicago and Edmonton, teams that do not have a solid goaltender it makes you appreciate players like Lundqvist and Rinne.

The line between winning and losing oftentimes is separated by goaltending. Without that last line of defense, teams crumble. A goaltender is the most important piece of a team (even if scoring is what everyone likes).

Anyway, we would like to point out that teams like St. Louis, who have two excellent goaltenders, won't get the recognition of a Vezina because it's almost defense by committee. And Marc-Andre Fleury will probably never get a Vezina nod even if he has won a Cup because his save percentage and goals against average are jsut, well, average at best.

Often the best goaltenders are not recognized because they do not have the numbers, they are a backup or they play behind a supremely defensive team like Jimmy Howard in Detroit.

He should be in the running for a Vezina nod. Why not? The guy has put up pretty awesome numbers but he has arguably the best defenseman in front of him. So, it's easy in a way for him to get the wins. Or at least that's what everyone thinks. He's a really good goaltender who plays behind a good defense so probably won't get a nod.

Another goaltender who is making some noise is Mike Smith. Seriously? Who would have thought, right? But with him getting the wins, the Coyotes are clawing their way up the Western Conference.

There are a lot of decent goaltenders and this always seems like a stacked and tough category.

What do you think?


Selke - best defensive forward

The three projected finalists are Patrice Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk and Ryan Kesler.

Ah, the Selke. NHL.com picked Bergeron as the winner. You will hear no complaints here. Seriously, the dude deserves everything. We love watching him play. He's a winner in the faceoffs, always there with a backcheck and a penalty killer.

We have a huge mancrush on this dude. He can literally do it all and it's amazing that he can do it after coming back from one of the hardest injuries to overcome.

As for the other finalists, thanks for playing. We're joking.

We would have loved to see Jonathan Toews in this category as well but he's still a loser who had to ruin everything for us. He's a plus-17 with 57 points, top penalty killer with Marian Hossa and a faceoff percentage above 50%.

If only.

Kesler, we knew he would be nominated. Why the hell not? He is one of the best two-way forwards even if he is a pain in the ass and every other team hates him. Hates his damn face.

And Datsyuk. There would be uprisings and riots if he wasn't nominated for something every year. If he isn't, we would be stunned.

But are there other two-way forwards who are in the same league as these three?


If Toews is healthy. And if Jordan Staal could get his shit together and stop getting injured then we could enjoy a full season of winning faceoffs and scoring shorthanded goals.

The trolls in us would love Matt Cooke to be nominated. But that's just a dream.

Also, one year, one year Brandon Sutter is going to just bust the eff outta Carolina and become the beast everyone knows he can be. He's gonna be a star in the defensive forward game.

He just needs to eat a sandwich. Or twelve.

Anyway, what do you guys think about the Selke? Who do you think would be a good nom?


Norris - best defenseman

The three projected finalists are Nicklas Lidstrom, Shea Weber and Erik Karlsson.

It seems like NHL.com just gave up and was like GIVE IT TO LIDSTROM BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL EVER WIN IT.

Doesn't it seem a little boring? Aren't there other d-men who are better and younger and still face the top players on other teams.

Erik Karlsson is like the little engine that could. He is running away with defense scoring. He is a decent plus-15 with only two goals on the power play.

Definitely deserves the nomination. And based on flow alone, should win.

But our vote will always and forever go to Shea Weber.

And by that statement, we mean Ryan Suter.

We love Weber. He's one of those nasty, take no shit defensemen who can also shoot the puck and murderize your face should you get anywhere near his goaltender.

But there is no amazingness from Weber if Suter isn't there to back him up. They both play almost twenty-seven minutes a night while also patrolling the blueline for the PK and PP. They complement each other and the Predators are extremely lucky to have them in front of Rinne.

They play against the top players in the Western Conference. Which in our opinion is more rough-and-tumble than the Eastern. Weber and Suter have to face the likes of Datsyuk, Toews, Backes, Oshie, Nash and etc. And that's just the Central division.

Sure Lidstrom has to face the top players as well but he's got one of the trickiest and smoothest on his team. He's got it a little easier than the rest of the Conference, don't you think?

Of course, Weber would still be a good d-man even without Suter but he wouldn't be as amazing. They're bros on and off the ice and we can respect that.

A win for Weber is a win for Suter. That's just how it is. We think this should be Shea Weber's year. Hands down.

What do you think?


Let us know what your opinions are on these choices from NHL.com and who you think was over-hyped, forgotten, etc.

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