The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

5.05.2006

Awards for Everyone!

When I was a kid, playing youth league baseball, every kid got a trophy, regardless of wins or losses. That's kind of what the NHL Post Season Trophy Extravaganza feels like. But I love it anyway, because I'm fairly certain its the only way the Capitals have ever won anything. Here's my thoughts on the nominees, who were announced today:

Hart Trophy - MVP, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA): Jaromir Jagr, NY Rangers; Joe Thornton, San Jose/Boston; Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary - San Jose's dramatic improvement after Thornton joined the team should, in theory at least, make this a no-brainer... In fact, I think it absolutely does. I was going to rant about how there's no way a player that gets traded in the middle of the season can be MVP, but he has just had too much of an impact, and there is simply no way to argue that any one other player was more valuable to his team. Joe Thornton.

Vezina Trophy - Best goaltender, as voted by the general managers of all 32 NHL teams: Martin Brodeur, New Jersey; Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary; Henrik Lundqvist, NY Rangers - Only one of these goalies is also up for MVP. This is a slam dunk. Miikka Kiprusoff.

Calder Trophy - Best rookie, as voted by the PHWA: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh; Alex Ovechkin, Washington; Dion Phaneuf, Calgary - Much has been made of the strong rookie crop created by the lockout-induced one year lapse. It's a shame only one guy can win this thing, because there were so many outstanding performances. Phaneuf was amazing, and compared to the last two winners (Andrew Raycroft and Barrett Jackman) it wouldn't even be close. But instead he's up against arguably the two best rookies the NHL has seen in a decade. There is no question this boils down to Crosby v. Ovechkin, and Ovechkin came out on top in virtually every offensive category (Crosby had more assists). In addition, Ovechkin brought a physical presence that Crosby lacked (although you wouldn't know it from all the unnecessary PIMs Crosby racks up). The only thing Crosby has working in his favor is that he is Canada's native son, and the NHL has been hyping him as the savior of the league since August. Will this be enough to sway votes his way? Maybe, but it really shouldn't be. Alex Ovechkin.

Norris Trophy - Best Defenseman, as voted by the PHWA: Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit; Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim; Sergei Zubov, Dallas - All these guys are from Western Conference teams. As a result, my East Coast Bias prevents me from having a real opinion on this one, other than to say that I hate the Red Wings and the Stars. Scott Niedermayer.

Selke Trophy - Best defensive forward, as voted by PHWA (*Editor's note: I will never accept that this is a real award until they create a Bobby Orr Award to award offensive defensemen, and retroactively award it to Sergei Gonchar for every year he was a Washington Capital): Rod Brind'amour, Carolina; Mike Fisher, Ottawa; Jere Lehtinen, Dallas - Once again, in this category, if you were looking for even a remotely informed opinion, you are out of luck. My critereon for this award? "Which one of these guys single handedly saved my fantasy hockey team?" Jere Lehtinen.

Jack Adams Award - Best coach, as voted by the NHL Broadcasters' Association: Peter Laviolette, Carolina; Tom Renney, NY Rangers; Lindy Ruff, Buffalo - Lindy Ruff is a whiny bitch and I hate him. All Tom Renney did was cater to Jaromir Jagr's every whim, and we can see now how well that worked out. (I know, I know; the awards are based on the regular season only. Either way, falling from third to sixth in one day? Pathetique.) All Laviolette did was take a team that had been a bottom feeder in the worst division in the league to a legitimate threat to win the Eastern Conference. Peter Laviolette.

Lady Bing Trophy - I'm not even going to bother with this. This award is stupid. It has no meaning whatsoever. Any player that wins it should be ashamed.

Lester B. Pearson Award - Most Outstanding Player, as voted by the NHLPA: Jaromir Jagr, NY Rangers; Alex Ovechkin, Washington; Joe Thornton, San Jose - Again, I think the Rangers' last two weeks of the regular season preclude Jagr from winning this. After that, I think it could be a toss-up between Ovechkin and Thornton. Because it's the players voting, Ovechkin could get alot of votes based simply on his wow factor, which has impressed many of his peers. However, Joe Thornton still has the "I single-handedly saved an entire team" factor. Ultimately, I think that Ovechkin gets punished, so to speak, for being a rookie. Joe Thornton.

P.S. - I love Google Image Search

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