Who Will Win Best Dressed?

June 13, 2007

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We're going to give you our NHL Award preview a day early because we have nothing else to do. Versus will pick up the CBC feed on Thursday, 7 p.m.


CALDER TROPHY (Rookie of the Year)

Evgeni Malkin, Penguins

Why him: Led all rookies in rookies (33), power-play goals (16), assists (52) and points (85) in 78 games. Also tied an 89-year-old NHL record by scoring goals in each of his first six games. Scored this sick goal:

Why Not: His production tailed off badly towards the end of the regular season. He only scored two goals in his final 14 games. Plus he owns a prison-theme restaurant in Russia.

Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins

Why him: Had second best goal total among rookies (29) and established a rookie record with seven shorthanded goals. Second highest plus-minus mark (+16) among rookies. Excelled at a high level despite only being 18-years-old. Became the youngest player to ever record a hat trick in a 6-5 overtime win at Toronto Feb. 10.

Why not: Only had 13 assists. Don Cherry really likes him too.

Paul Stastny, Colorado Avalanche

Why him: Led rookies with six game-winning goals and was second in points (78) and power-play goals (11). Had a 20-game point streak from Feb. 3-March 17. Plus he has some family history on his side.

Why not: The Avalanche failed to reach the playoffs.

EN Prediction: Evgeni Malkin. The bottom line is Malkin is the best of strong rookie class.


FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY (Best defensive forward)

Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes

Why him: The 2005-06 winner had the second best face-off win percentage in the league at (59.2 percent). Also contributed five short-handed points, the fifth best total in the NHL.

Why Not: The Hurricanes, the defending Stanley Cup champions, failed to even reach the playoffs. Plus Brind'Amour's nose really freaks us out.

Samuel Pahlsson, Anaheim Ducks

Why him: Led all players in total short-handed ice time (367:14) and per-game average (4:28).

Why not: With top-notch defensemen like Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger behind him, Pahlsson had more support than most of his peers defensively.

Jay Pandolfo, New Jersey Devils

Why him: Spearheaded a defense that yielded only 201 goals, the fifth lowest in the NHL.

Why not: He is the product of a system that churns out defensive forwards (Bobby Holik, John Madden, etc.) and we could be considered a defensive star if we had Martin Brodeur in net for us. Plus, Pandolfo was a minus-5 this season. And he's a Devil. There's nothing really good we can state about him.

EN Prediction: Pahlsson. If Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle needed to shut down an opponent offensively, chances are he would sic Pahlsson on them.


HART MEMORIAL TROPHY (NHL MVP)

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Why him: Established an NHL record with 48 wins. Also led all goaltenders in games played (78) and shutouts (12).

Why Not: Like Pandolfo, he plays in a system that allows him to excel and inflate his statistics. Also, we really hate saying good things about the Devils. Plus, how do you give a MVP award to a player that allowed a goal like this once?

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Why him: Led the NHL with 120 points and became the youngest Art Ross Trophy winner in history. He was also the youngest scoring leader in major professional sports history. Plus he can do some sick things with a puck while speaking French:

Why not: When a player like Crosby bursts on to the scene suddenly, there tends to be a grudge held against him by many in the old guard when it comes to awards. It happened to both Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Why him: Lifted the Canucks from 2005-06 season which saw them miss the playoffs to a Northwest Division title in 2006-07. Tied Bernie Parent's old record of 47 wins in a season.

Why not: As is the case with Brodeur, Luongo's win total benefits from the elimination of ties. Playing on the West Coast will hurt his case too.

EN Prediction: Crosby. While Brodeur may garner some consideration in a "career achievement" sense, Crosby was simply the best player in the league.


JACK ADAMS AWARD (Coach of the Year)

Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres

Why him: Ruff, the 2005-06 winner of this award, Ruff led the Sabres to the Presidents Trophy as regular season champions.

Why Not: Ruff's team was expected to be good.

Michel Therrien, Pittsburgh Penguins

Why him: Directed the Penguins to a 47-point improvement, the fourth-best total in NHL history. Plus how can you not admire someone who will hammer his team when it's deserved:

Why not: Had the talents of five top-five draft picks (Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Ryan Whitney) available to him. Horrible dresser.

Alain Vigneault, Vancouver Canucks

Why him: Guided the Canucks to the Northwester Division title and a team-record 49 wins.

Why not: Your job would be a lot easier too if Robert Luongo showed up on the scene to help. Unless you were like a nuclear physicist or something.

EN Prediction: Therrien. Even with all that talent, a lot of it is still raw. Hopefully a gift card to the Bon-Ton comes with this award.


JAMES NORRIS AWARD (Best Defenseman)

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

Why him: Led all defensemen in plus-minus rating (plus-40) and was fifth among defensemen with 62 points. Won the award in 2005-06.

Why Not: While his point total was excellent for a defenseman, he did slip from his career-high of 80 in 2005-06.

Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim Ducks

Why him: Perhaps the best skating blue-liner in the league, Niedermayer established career highs in assists (54) and points (69).

Why not: Life can be easy when you play with the guy listed below.

Chris Pronger, Anaheim Ducks

Why him: Tallied his second best career point total with 59 points.

Why not: Pronger missed 16 games this season and yet the Ducks were still able to finish with the second-best record in the Western Conference. And he still sports a "butt-cut" hair style too.

EN Prediction: Lidstrom. Take him off the Red Wings, and they are a borderline playoff team.


LADY BYNG AWARD (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Play)

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

Why him: Won the award in 2005-06 and only accumulated 20 points.

Why Not: It's hard to imagine anyone with ties to the city of Detroit being considered "gentlemanly."

Joe Sakic, Colorado Avalanche

Why him: Won the 2001 award. Scored 100 points, the seventh best total in the NHL. Became the second oldest player to hit the 100-point mark at age 37 or older (A 40-year-old Gordie Howe had 103 points in 1968-69).

Why not: He made this kid cry.

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

Why him: Scored 102, points, the fifth best total in the NHL and only accumulated 28 penalty minutes this season

Why not: St. Louis isn't exactly our idea of a gentlemanly player. He's not dirty by any means, but he doesn't exactly back down from too many confrontations.

EN Prediction: Sakic. It's difficult to take this award seriously, so we'll just pick the player we like the best.


LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD (NHLPA MVP)

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Why him: See above.

Why Not: See above."

Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning

Why him: Led the NHL in goals (52) and was third in points (108).

Why not: Some would argue Martin St. Louis is more valuable to the Lightning. Plus, he's made the really stupid decision to fight Zdeno Chara more than once:

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Why him: See above.

Why not: See above.

EN Prediction: Luongo. Often times, this award seems to almost be a consolation prize for the Hart Trophy nominees that won't win.


VEZINA TROPHY (Best Goaltender)

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils

Why him: See above.

Why Not: See above.

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames

Why him: The 2005-06 winer had the seventh-most shutouts (7) in the league this season.

Why not: Kiprusoff and the Flames slipped somewhat in 2006-07.

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers

Why him: Lundqvist went 16-4-5 with a 1.72 goals against average and a .936 save percentage in the final 27 games of the season and helped the Rangers secure a playoff spot.

Why not: He's a Ranger, and we don't root for Rangers.

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Why him: See above.

Why not: See above.

EN Prediction: Brodeur. Even at age 35 and with a team system that allows him to excel, Brodeur is still the best at his position.


MASTERTON TROPHY (Comeback award)

Note: This award doesn't really have any finalists and a winner is just simply announced.

EN Prediction: Phil Kessel, Boston Bruins. The man came back and played this season after dealing with testicular cancer. No easy task.


EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Paul Kariya, who has been linked to Pittsburgh as a possible free agent signing, says he would like to stay in Nashville.

Ruff and Sabres general manager Darcy Regier will be staying put in Buffalo officially.

Speaking of Buffalo, Ken Campbell of The Hockey News says it's possible for the Sabres to keep both Daniel Briere and Chris Drury.

Because things have been so smooth with Alexei Kovalev and Sergei Samsonov, Alexei Yashin thinks adding another Russian with a history of baggage like himself, would be perfect for the Canadiens. He wants to go to Montreal allegedly.

During their Cup-clinching win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final, the Ducks set a merchandise sales record.

Looks like noted Penguins fan Jeff Reed had a fun night recently. Apparently the "no-shirt, no-shoes" rule doesn't apply to Super Bowl winning kickers at this establishment. If that's the case, Adam Vinatieri could probably walk into that joint naked.



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