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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Allow Me to Influence You...Matteau the Magic Wrap-Around's Picks for Player Awards

Have you ever done this before?  Let me help...

But seriously, you'd think we'd just throw a poll at you and let you make some kind of unsolicited selection?  Reduced bias is the Power Rankin's department (see fresh March 29th Rankin's below, or here), not mine, so allow me to influence you...

The 2009-10 season has been a bit exciting for me, because I got a couple of things right, including the fact that Stevie Stam broke out and Ales Kotalik will never stop sucking (<<< 3 different links there).

Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning.  Hobbies: Golf, Hanging out with Friends, Wizardry.

But for all those minor victories, it is important for Bettman's Nightmare to step outside of self-gratification (no matter how good we are at it) to, in general, give props to the top players in the league.  So, without further ado, my picks for the player awards...

Hart Trophy:  Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes
Why?  To be honest, this was a fight between goalies, Miller and Bryzgalov, and despite some of the surprises out of the desert I think Buffalo fielded a sounder team this year.  It stands to be said that neither team would be sniffing the playoffs without their goalie, and their stats are nearly a wash, but the 7% higher save percentage in the shootout gives Bryzgalov the edge for me.  Those simulated breakaways, unfortunately, have a serious impact on the standings.

The rest?  I can't bring myself to pick Sedin because I feel like they should get it as co-winners some year (my god, the this A Walk to Remember?).  I like Ovechkin's game (at times), but the Capitals are not carried by his play as much as the Coyotes are by Bryzgalov's.  Doesn't mean they're not being carried to a degree, but c'mon...Coyotes vs. Capitals...

Vezina Trophy:  Ilya Bryzgalov, Phoenix Coyotes
Why?  It's a real Jose Theodore situation (beware! funny link!).  Or, if you want to reference a good goaltender, a Dominik Hasek situation.  

Calder Trophy:  Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Why?  The Red Wings would not be in the playoffs if Howard had not been given the reigns in Detroit.  Sorry, Osgood, but your numbers would only look good from about 1980 to 1990.  Tyler Myers and Matt Duchene are impressive stories, but Jimmy (whenever I hear that name I think of a soda jerk) could afford fewer lapses in performance over the year.  30 wins in 2/3 of a season as a starter?  Good boy, Jimmy!

Jimmy cautiously asks the young lady if she wants to go steady.  She smiles nervously, thinking of excuses to leave.  He is not the cat's pajamas.

Jack Adams Award:  Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
Why?  Yeah, that's me with the loner Sacco vote (so far).  In both the Colorado and Phoenix cases, their teams were not expected to do much this year.  But whereas Tippett stepped into a team with many of its key members intact from the previous year, Sacco brought together a host of new players into a cohesive and successful unit.  Yup, I just said "unit."

Norris Trophy:  Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Why?  It was down to Doughty and Keith, because to be honest I think Pronger is a glorified pylon nowadays.  You have the little advantages between the former two that end up evening out: with Doughty, he uses the body more; with Keith, he blocks more shots.  Doughty has a better shot this year, but Keith has set-up far more goals.  Keith gets the edge because he's better at taking away the puck.

Selke Trophy:  David Backes, St. Louis Blues
Why?  His team's been a defensive wreck this year, but Backes has done everything to offset it.  He throws the body around, he blocks shots...while he ended up with a -3 on the year, Behind the Net suggests that, on a more equalized scale (removing some of the effects of just being on a mediocre team), Backes would be in the plus.  He's also fairly good (almost Nicklas Backstrom territory) at taking the puck away, not to mention a part of the best penalty-killing unit in the league.  Besides, he mounted a well-publicized campaign to beat up every Canadian before the Olympics; how great is that?  That's self-defense...I think...

Masterton Trophy:  Michael Cammalleri, Montreal Canadiens
Why?  Especially since he has no votes right now?  Well, I voted for Gaborik because I'm a homer and I truly think it's a miracle that he made it an entire season.  That being said, Cammalleri deserves this trophy.  After suffering a pretty serious injury to his MCL in late December (diagnosed early January), he rehabbed quickly and has provided serious spark for a team that direly needs his offense.  I've always been a fan of this guy for his ability to play bigger than his size and lift poor teams, and his story is truly why we have this trophy.  In fact, I've convinced myself.  Vote changed.

And now for my personally created award...

Carbonneau Trophy (and yes, I know the QMJHL has this already):  Mike Fisher, Ottawa Senators
Why?  (Should be) given annually to the best all-around center in the game, the Carbonneau focuses on face-off prowess, takeaways, blocked shots, and hitting to award a truly talented and unique position player.  With a 52.7% face-off win percentage, 74 blocked shots, 43 takeaways, and 202 hits, Fisher accomplished all these things while maintaining a +7 and only being assessed 48 PIM.  Throw in 22 goals and marrying Carrie Underwear, and you've got a heck of a year for Fish.  Feel the Carbonnoize...

 Hopefully, I've not influenced you too much.  That level of stimulation has no place in a house of hockey worship.  Be prepared for more influencing as my esteemed colleagues present their laughable picks over the course of the week.  

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