Thoughts on NHL awards
-- Nicklas Lidstrom finished fourth in the Hart voting. That was Lidstrom's highest ever finish in the MVP race. His previous best finish was sixth in 2007. He was seventh in 2006 and eighth in 2003. It's funny to hear players like Chris Chelios say that Lidstrom should be a Hart finalist. He's right because somewhere along the line Lidstrom should have won a Hart let alone just finish in the top three of the voting. But the players never back him for the Pearson either.
-- Pavel Datsyuk was ninth in Hart voting and Henrik Zetterberg was 10th. (After Lidstrom came Martin Brodeur, Joe Thornton, Evgeni Nabokov, Alexei Kovalev, then Datsyuk and Zetterberg.)
-- This was Lidstrom's biggest runaway with the Norris voting. He got 127 of 134 first-place votes. His point total (1,313) was more than double that of runner-up Dion Phaneuf (561). Brian Rafalski finished ninth in the Norris voting between Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermayer. Ninth is a fair finish for Rafalski.
-- Mike Babcock was a distant third in the Adams voting, just ahead of fourth-place Barry Trotz. I love Trotz, but coaches with a talented team like Babcock rarely get coach-of-the-year respect. I've seen it covering high school sports. I've seen it covering colleges. And it happens in the pros too. I know it's being a homer, but I thought Babcock should have won the Adams.
-- Datsyuk's third straight Lady Byng win was a runaway as well. He had 984 points and 75 first-place votes. Martin St. Louis was second in vote total with 261. But guess who was second in first-place votes? Lidstrom with nine. Lidstrom finished fourth in the vote total behind Jason Pominville. Zetterberg finished fifth and got six first-place votes.
-- The Selke voters (and I'm one) finally caught up with the new look of Detroit's forwards. Two years ago, Kris Draper finished sixth in Selke voting and Zetterberg ninth. Last year, Zetterberg was seventh in Selke voting, but Draper was a close eighth. Datsyuk was way down in 20th place. A lot of people nationally still looked at Draper and Kirk Maltby as Detroit's shut-down forwards. I even heard that said this year in Montreal when the Red Wings played there. I thought Datsyuk was Selke worthy last season. This season, he got a league-best 43 first-place votes in winning the award. Zetterberg was second in first-place votes with 22, but finished third in voting behind John Madden. Dan Cleary finished 15th in Selke voting and Draper was 32nd. Now that's a pretty clear picture of Detroit's forward play.
Selke voting is diverse, so a ton of forwards get votes. Valtteri Filppula finished 40th with a second-place vote and one fifth-place vote. Johan Franzen was 42nd with a second-place vote. Maltby, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler (I love him, but no, I didn't vote for him) each got one fifth-place vote to finish tied with many others for 66th.
-- Datsyuk winning the Selke and Lady Byng in the same season is notable. Only Ron Francis (Pittsburgh, 1995) had done that before.