NHL Awards a Hab-less affair

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks - Game Two

The NHL televises its annual awards show tonight and while no Canadiens are among the top vote-getters for the league’s individual awards, many Habs fans will likely watch regardless. A number of the awards to be presented are named for members of the Canadiens family (Hart, Vezina, Selke, Richard) and members of the Canadiens have won almost all of them at one time or another.

Here’s a rundown of the potential winner (“nominees” the NHL calls them, although they are actually the top three vote-getters in each category; no one is actually nominated other than for the Masterton), who the voters are likely to select and why.

Calder Trophy (outstanding rookie): Logan Couture (Sharks), Michael Grabner (Islanders) and Jeff Skinner (Hurricanes). The voters may go for Skinner, who had a terrific stretch run (13 points in his last 11 games), leading the Hurricanes ill-fated charge to the postseason. Some observers considered Skinner to be more of a “real” rookie since he didn’t play the previous season and was the youngest player in the league, while Couture had played the previous year and in the 2010 playoffs. Couture was my top rookie, having been the Sharks top player for the first half of the season when their big players weren’t doing very much. But down the road, Grabner — traded by Vancouver last June, then waived by the Panthers in October — may end up being the best of the group. Last Canadien to win the Calder: Ken Dryden, 1972; Last runner-up: Michael Ryder, 2004.

Frank J. Selke Trophy (outstanding defensive forward): Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings), Ryan Kesler (Canucks), and Jonathan Toews (Blackhawks). It’s hard to go against Datsyuk, who may be the NHL’s most complete player, or Toews who was plus-25 with with 24 goals and 54 points, but Kesler had a breakout year with 41 goals and 73 points and a plus-24 rating, playing a full 82-games. He should take this one. Last Canadien to win the Selke: Guy Carbonneau, 1992 (and he won it two other times and was twice runner-up; Bob Gainey won it the first four years it was presented, 1978-81 and was runner-up the next year).

James Norris Memorial Trophy (outstanding all-around defenceman): Zdeno Chara (Bruins), Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings), and Shea Weber (Predators). Lidstrom had an amazing season for a 40-year-old — well for anyone — and was the favorite to win this for a good chunk of the campaign, but he faded in the end as the Wings slumped and actually finished a minus-2 on the year. Weber is the cornerstone of one of hockey’s best defence corps and while he benefits from partnering with the very underrated Ryan Suter, he’s still got an exceptional all-around game — finishing fifth among d-men in goals (16) and sixth in hits (211) gives you a good indication of that. You can use the comments section below to write about Chara; just remember to follow the HIO guidelines. Last Canadien to win the Norris: Chris Chelios, 1989. Larry Robinson won it twice and was once runner-up. Starting in 1955, Doug Harvey won it six times in seven seasons — teammate Tom Johnson interrupted him and was runner-up in ’54.

Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct: Loui Eriksson (Stars), Nicklas Lidstrom (Red Wings), and Martin St. Louis (Lightning). The voters may go for St. Louis, a small man in a big man’s game who got 99 points and only collected a dozen minutes. Eriksson got only 10 PIMs and 73 points. But I’m most impressed with Lidstrom. No defenceman has won this since 1954 when the Red Wings Red Kelly won it and it’s only been captured by blueliners four times since 1925 (Kelly three times and Red Wing Bill Quackenbush once). It’s nearly impossible to play defence in a gentlemanly manner but he does and does it expertly. Plus, he’s a gentleman off the ice, although whether he gets any votes for that is an open question. Last Canadien to win the Byng: Mats Naslund, 1988. The only other Hab to win it was Toe Blake in 1946.

Vezina Trophy (outstanding goaltender): Roberto Luongo (Canucks), Pekka Rinne (Predators), and Tim Thomas (Bruins). The NHL GMs choose this one. Luongo will get the Jennings Trophy along with Corey Scheider for lowest goals-against, and finally had the kind of regular season the Canucks were hoping he’d provide when they acquired him in 2006. Rinne was brilliant backstopping a Nashville team that has struggles to score and allows him little room for error. But no one who watched him this season can argue with the selection of Thomas, who some thought also deserved the Hart Trophy. The Bruins probably don’t win the Northeast Division without him. The playoffs, you know about. Last Canadien to win the Vezina: Jose Theodore, 2002, the year he also won the Hart Trophy. Patrick Roy won it three times and was once runner-up. (Before 1980, the Vezina was awarded for lowest goals against and not by vote, and was won numerous times by Canadiens goalies.)

Jack Adams Award (outstanding coach): Dan Bylsma (Penguins), Barry Trotz (Predators), and Alain Vigneault (Canucks).
This one is selected by the NHL Broadcasters Association and it’s another one that’s tough to determine just who is most deserving, and that includes some guys who aren’t among the “nominees.” It would be great for Trotz to win, considering he gets so much out of so little every season. Vigneaut coached the Presidents’ Trophy winners and that speaks for itself. But the guess here is that Bylsma, who benefited from his sympathetic exposure in the HBO 24/7 series but also had to keep the Penguins on the rails after the worst run of injuries in the NHL — even worse than the Canadiens — will get the award. But how could anyone not be mightily impressed by the job Jacques Lemaire did in turning around the Devils? He didn’t make the top three, but probably should have. Last Canadien to win the Adams: Pat Burns, 1989. Carbonneau was runner-up in 2008, Vigneault in 2000. Scotty Bowman is the only other Habs coach to win it, and only once while coaching Montreal in 1977.

Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey): Ray Emery (Ducks), Daymond Langkow (Flames), and Ian Laperriere (Flyers). Every team’s PHWA chapter nominates a player for this award (Mathieu Darche was this year’s Habs nominee) and those who usually get the most votes league-wide are the ones who overcame serious injury or adversity of some sort. How anyone can choose one of these guys over another is a puzzle. They all have inspiring stories of contending with major injuries and never giving up their desire to overcome them and return to the NHL. In Laperriere’s case, he was unable to ultimately resume his career and perhaps that might sway voters to give it to him. Last Canadien to win the Masterton: Saku Koivu, 2002. Serge Savard, Henri Richard and Claude Provost (the first recipient) have also won it.

General Manager of the Year: Mike Gillis (Canucks), David Poile (Predators), and Steve Yzerman (Lightning). This is the second year of this award (the Coyotes Don Maloney won the first one last year) and the first time this award will be part of the TV Awards show. The winner is selected by the GMs themselves — and you never know what the GMs might do in any of their endeavours. Yzerman engineered the Tampa Bay turnaround and he’d be a good choice. Gilles could be their guy as well, considering his impressive team building tactics which resulted in the Presidents’ Trophy. It’s also very possible they’ll pick Poile, who is a popular senior member of this fraternity and who lacks the resources that others have but somehow manages to cobble together a winning team each season.

Hart Memorial Trophy (most valuable player to his team): Corey Perry (Ducks), Daniel Sedin (Canucks), and Martin St. Louis (Lightning). Although he was a consistent scorer all season, Perry’s impressive late-season surge probably carried him to victory among the voters. He’ll win the Rocket Richard Award for leading goal scorer, but his 25 goals and 47 points in his final 30 games probably left a lasting impression when the ballots were filled out. Sedin was the leading scorer and best player on the league’s best team although that doesn’t necessarily mean to voters that he was most valuable. I’m a big fan of what Marty St. Louis did for Tampa Bay — the team’s de facto on-ice leader during a strong turnaround season, selling Guy Boucher’s novel game plans to his teammates and mentoring Steven Stamkos, all while racking up 99 points defines most valuable to me. It’s hard to imagine what might have happened this year in Tampa Bay had Yzerman not signed him to an extension and had been forced to move him. Last Canadien to win the Hart: Jose Theodore, 2002. Canadiens have won the Hart Trophy 14 other times, Howie Morenz won it three times, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur twice each.

Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHLPA): Corey Perry (Ducks), Daniel Sedin (Canucks), and Steven Stamkos (Lightning). This one may come down to Sedin vs. Perry in the player’s collective thinking. Despite Perry’s heroics, Sedin was the league’s top scorer and is a better defensive player. Stamkos had a terrific start was the talk of the league early on, but he sagged in the second half. Last Canadien to win the Lindsay Award, Lafleur, three straight seasons from 1976-78.


  1. sally122 says:

    If Carey only improves on his last season each year, I’m sure he’ll win the Vezina very soon, Thomas is bound to have a nothing year again, he won all the silverware he could dream of, no point in doing it again, right?
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  2. sally122 says:

    Subban was deserving of a Calder nomination but the voters are obsessed with high scoring totals, arguably he and Carlson could have both been nominated. Price’s season was Vezina-quality as well.
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  3. phillyhab says:

    Zdeno Chara winning the Messier Award is absolutely nauseating. I can’t believe I hate a team more than the Flyers. May as well have given him the Lady Byng too.

    Ian Laperriere? Really? He DIDN’T persevere. Pacioretty or, god-willing, Crosby ought to be shoe-ins next year, but watch Nathan Horton get it.

    The NHL is quickly becoming a farce. Feel like I’m watching pro wrestling.

  4. fofe84 says:

    “It’s hard to go against Datsyuk, who may be the NHL’s most complete player, or Toews who was plus-25 with with 24 goals and 54 points, but Kesler had a breakout year with 41 goals and 73 points and a plus-24 rating, playing a full 82-games.”

    This is hilarious analysis. You know the Selke trophy is about defence, right?

    • Stu Hackel says:

      fo – You’re not wrong, but in recent years, the voters tend to select the guy who combines the best offensive numbers with the best plus/minus and that’s why you don’t see someone like Manny Malhotra get nominated but Kesler instead. And why Datsyuk has been a freqent winner.

    • Ayan_SB says:

      Kesler was simply the best two-way forward this regular season, and that so-called “hilarious analysis” doesn’t even mention his amazing face-off percentage.

  5. DEANDALLEY says:

    Watching TSN’s top ten plays of the year. Thomas & Ward’s saves were there but Price’s same type of save was not …. Go Figure!

  6. HabinBurlington says:

    So TSN reporting TBay is close to announcing deal with Stamkos. Looking at their cap situation on capgeek, Yzerman still has his hands full resigning players this off-season. He did a nice job last off season will be interesting to watch what he does this summer. Quite a few spots to fill there still.

  7. G-Man says:

    This is my first year I turned off the Cup final game to avoid all that Thug crap and it will be the first year in 25 or so that I will avoid the National Thug League awards. And you know something? I hope many Canadians do the same and avoid it for the pox it is. This season has been tainted by complete corruption and is not worth even it’s fake celebration.

    • HalifaxHabs says:

      I’m with you, I’m not even turning it on.

    • TomNickle says:

      The Hart nominees alone make it a sleeper. St.Louis is the only player even remotely deserving. Is there any doubt that Tim Thomas with a record save percentage should be the Hart Winner?

      I dislike him, hate his team, but he’s the MVP of the league for the regular season and the playoffs. And there’s no disputing it in my eyes.

    • Favorite Son says:

      I’m avoiding it but only because it’s really boring to watch. Not frustrated at all with the way this season played out. On the day they won, I was a bit bitter that our main rivals won, but then I moved on and realized they have a great team and deserved to win.

      • G-Man says:

        They did not have a great team that won. The league handed them all the breaks necessary for the farce to be completed last week. They are a crap team dependent upon league corruption to succeed, just like the 74-75 Flyers.

        • Favorite Son says:

          You’re probably right. Bettman probably forced Luongo to let Marchand, Bergeron, Recchi, Ryder, Horton score on him.

          • G-Man says:

            Any team that can get away with breaking necks and backs deserves no respect at all, only scorn. I only hope Chara and Boychuk get what’s coming. Oops, I forgot the Hamhuis assault after he had cleanly checked Lucic. 2 players cross-checked him in the head while he was down. Yup, they’re great all right. Great at being thugs.

      • Tony McLean says:

        Great team no, rivals eliminated, obstacles removed, lots of breaks, great goaltending yes. Dirty yes. Chara deserved 2-3 suspensions this year. You could call two or three penalties on him every shift in fact. Yet do they? Double standard in the extreme.

        “Rebuilding since 1979.”

    • issie74 says:

      G-Man you constantly read my mind.Like you no thug awards will be on my TV.
      I cancelled my NHL package when and there was no suspension.


    • nek25plus says:


  8. HabFanSince72 says:

    Your morning smile. We all remember how ESPN ranked Toronto as the worst sports city, thanks largely to their hockey team.

    Here is the response of Dean Del Maestro, a Tory MP, a Torontonian, and a Leafs fan:

    “It’s moments like this that you wish you still had Darcy Tucker, Gary Roberts and Tie Domi under contract,” Mr. Del Mastro said. “It’s easy talking smack about Toronto when you don’t have to line up against them!”

    Yes, if Tie Domi was still a Leaf he would … do what exactly?


  9. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s another, another mock entry draft for Friday!!!


    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Mcguire gets on MTL all the time for having too many perimeter players, than says we need to take Saad? Oh well, reason he’s a biased TV clown and not a GM.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • HalifaxHabs says:

        exactly, he’s nothing more than a bitter joke.

        every year I pray some stupid team puts him on their payroll, so we won’t have to suffer through him on TSN anymore.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          Good news is we’re mostly free of him next year. He’s moving over to Versus/NBC full-time so we’ll only have to put up with him during the WJC apparently from now on, and the upcoming draft.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • HalifaxHabs says:

            I heard that, but I’m scared to believe it.

            He’s not as hard to stomach at the WJHC, so that’s not even that bad. It’s his bitterbness towards Habs management that makes him awful and biased.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Yah the sad news is, he is working to make sure he can still do all his radio crap and special events for TSN, specifically world juniors. His personal favourite where he spews kife about little towns across Canada only to self promote himself.

    • issie74 says:

      Pierre also predicted last Oct.that Tuka Rask would be the Boston netminder by Xmas and would be the best goalie in the league.LOL


  10. 24 Cups says:

    Here’s another mock entry draft for Friday. This one’s from THN.


    • SeriousFan09 says:

      I can live with McNeill, some are concerned about his ability to naturally finish a chance and that his already being physically mature means he’s getting overrated above his peers but the guy plays a strong two-way game and has some good drive towards the net. @KellyFriesen, a WHL scout is in love with the guy.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

  11. ed lopaz says:

    Subban was one of the top 10-15 d-men in the NHL by season’s end.

    He was playing first line PP minutes, first line PK minutes and 25-27 minutes a night.

    In terms of puck handling, mobility, man to man coverage, offensive and defensive ability, physical play, point production, the whole package.

    there are not even 15 d-men in the league who I would take ahead of Subban right now!! and those guys are all making 4+ million per.

    Forget about rookie of the year.

    Factor in his contract, and Subban could have been considered as one of the most valuable players in the league.

    he was freakin awesome!!

    Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

  12. HabFanSince72 says:

    I find it strange that we (myself included) are all talking about who the Habs should sign, who will win the Vezina, etc … as if nothing had happened. Just business as usual.

    And yet something did happen.

    The Bruins won the cup.

    Like Henry Kissinger winning the Nobel Prize, or like when every cyclist on the Tour de France gets caught doping, this devalues the entire competition. Makes a farce of it.

    • ed lopaz says:

      whats wrong with Henry Kissinger?

      Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Where does one start?

        How about: Napalming entire villages of innocent farmers?

        • Clay says:

          Good start!

          Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

          Winston Churchill

        • ed lopaz says:

          well, if Arafat can win a Nobel Prize, maybe the problem is the guys handing out the award are drinking a little too much Chivas??

          Agree that ALL WAR IS WRONG!!

          Habs hockey is “smart” hockey – we play 5 man defence, not just 2 – we move up the ice as a 5 man unit, we back check with 5.

          • Bugs says:

            Didn’t Mother Teresa get the Medal of Honor for most sniper kills during the Korean War? And SHE won the Peace Prize fer goshsakes.
            It’s a mad world out there; no point tryin to make any sense out of it.

            Gone figuratively fishin filibusts L. B. Potter, esq.

  13. nek25plus says:

    Agreed, Subban and Price should have been considered for sure. That being said Chara was nominated…and poor Visnovsky notta! Guy never gets a sniff and he numbers are stellar.

    Were the nominations skewed though? I believe the NY state media protested by not voting…re Garth Snow shunning a reporter there? Maybe someone knows?

    • SeriousFan09 says:

      Visnovsky’s offensive numbers were stellar, he didn’t play the PK though and the Norris is for as mentioned above, the defencemen who is best in all aspects of the game, not piling offensive totals. Same reason there’s no nomination for Yandle.

      – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
      SF09 on Twitter

      • HabFanSince72 says:

        Are “being a pylon” and “smashing opponents’ vertebrae” also criteria? Because if they aren’t then Chara doesn’t belong on the list.

        • SeriousFan09 says:

          I didn’t say I wanted Chara to win the trophy either but the fact is he is the basis of the Boston blueline, if he had been injured their season would have died and last year when he was battling injury they were a sad sack squad. I hate his guts much like Pronger but he is damn good at what he does.

          – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
          SF09 on Twitter

          • HabFanSince72 says:

            I don’t think he is very good. He’s Hal Gill with a slap shot.

          • nek25plus says:

            Visnofsky is good at both ends…not just offense. Plus 18 on the season. You have to admit many other d are better all around than Chara. And Chara’s points weren’t not stellar this year. I agree he’s Hal Gill with a slap shot…no disrespect to Gill.

          • 24 Cups says:

            The price will jump for Nashville if Weber wins tonight.

      • issie74 says:

        SF …. i could give six names without even thinking about it who I would pick before Chara and if Shea Weber wanted to he could attempt to kill someone just like Chara … so NO.


  14. HabinBurlington says:

    Will be funny if Skinner wins rookie of year. Technically he is not allowed in the Casino at all due to his age 19. Cardboard cutout accepting rookie of year?

  15. DearyLeary says:

    I’m not overly bothered by the popularity contest that is the NHL awards. I can’t tell you the last time I actually watched the show.

  16. HNS says:

    What else is on?

  17. RGM says:

    It might just be a bit of a bias on my part, but the snubbing of Carey Price for the Vezina and possibly even the Hart still rankles me. Guy had 38 wins on a team that scored an average of 2.6 goals a game (good for 23rd in the NHL, doncha know) and ranked 26th in 5-on-5 goals, saw more rubber than any goalie except for Cam Ward, and was unquestionably the primary reason the team dd as well as it did.

    To me, seeing Sedin & St. Louis on the Hart list…I don’t really buy it. Is Daniel head and shoulders more valuable to the Canucks’ fortunes than his brother or Kesler? Is St. Louis significantly more valuable to Tampa Bay than Lecavalier or Stamkos? Are either of them more valuable to their respective teams than Price was to Montreal? To me, if there’s a horse-race within the team to be its MVP, it somewhat diminishes the overall impact in meeting the NHL criteria for the award.

    But again, I acknowledge my bias.

    During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

    • Dintrox says:

      I second the motion.

    • JF says:

      Agree completely. Without Price, the Habs would have been nowhere near the playoffs, which you can’t say for the teams whose players are candidates. I also think Subban should have been considered for the Calder. At the same time, I’m OK with our players being overlooked. The team usually does well when the pundits dismiss it as mediocre.

      • RGM says:

        I think a lot of the voting was done near the end of March, which unfortunately for Carey happened to coincide with his only major slump of the season. The Rangers loss where he didn’t survive the early going, and then the three consecutive shutout losses to Buffalo, Boston, and the Capitals – that string pretty much killed all the momentum & talk that there had been about him being a candidate for both awards only a week before.

        During the long summer, we all get to be pretend GM.

    • issie74 says:

      You are right it is an excercise in futility trying to pick the player who is most valuable to his team.Since every team has one.


  18. Curtoph says:

    I’m sorry, I wouldn’t watch this if they were all Canadiens players slated to win awards. Not something I’d spend my night doing

  19. HardHabits says:

    Another nail in the Habs coffin.

    To you from failing hands we throw, failure.

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