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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Wings hope to shine at NHL awards show

The Stanley Cup is in Pittsburgh. Painful, but true.

A whole lot of other NHL trophies, however, could come to or come back to Detroit after tomorrow night’s NHL awards show from Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast on Versus at 7:30 p.m. and on Ch. 9 at 8:30 p.m.

Red Wings are finalists for five individual awards. Pavel Datsyuk is one of the top three vote-getters for the Hart Trophy (MVP), Pearson Award (MVP voted by players), Selke Trophy (defensive forward) and Lady Byng (sportsmanship). Nicklas Lidstrom is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman). And Chris Chelios is up for the Masterton (perseverance).

Datsyuk being a finalist for the Hart Trophy is a rare thing in Detroit. Since Gordie Howe finished third in Hart voting in 1966, the Red Wings have had just two top-three finishers, Steve Yzerman (third in 1989) and Sergei Fedorov (first in 1994). Since Howe won the award in 1963, Fedorov (1994) has been the lone Red Wings Hart recipient.

Datsyuk is up against last year’s winner, Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, the NHL’s leading scorer.

Datsyuk finished fourth in the league scoring race this season, matching his career-high with 97 points while scoring a personal-best 32 goals. He ranked second among NHL players in takeaways with 89, placed third in plus-minus with a plus-34 rating, and won 56 percent of the 1,135 faceoffs he took.

Malkin followed up his break-out 2007-08 season by leading the NHL in points (career-high 113) and assists (78). He also led the league with 94 takeaways.

Ovechkin is vying to become the first repeat winner of the Hart Trophy since Dominik Hasek of Buffalo won in 1997 and 1998. Ovechkin won the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy for the second straight season for again leading the League with 56 goals – the fourth time in his five NHL seasons that he’s eclipsed 50 goals. He finished three points shy of becoming the NHL’s first repeat scoring titlist since Jaromir Jagr in 2000 and 2001. Ovechkin’s 528 shots on goal were the second highest single-season total in NHL history behind Phil Esposito’s 550 in 1970-71. His 19 power-play goals ranked second in the League and his 10 game-winning goals ranked third.

Datsyuk finished ninth in Hart voting last season. Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom placed fourth and Henrik Zetterberg was 10th.

Lidstrom's fourth-place finish last spring was the best Hart showing for a Red Wing since Paul Coffey placed fourth in 1995.

Datsyuk, Ovechkin and Malkin are also the three finalists for the Pearson Award.

Datsyuk joins Mike Richards of Philadelphia and Livonia-native Ryan Kesler of Vancouver as finalists for the Selke Trophy – won last season by Datsyuk. Richards finished fifth in the Selke voting last year and Kesler was 11th.

Datsyuk is also up for a fourth trophy – the Lady Byng. The Russian has won the past three Lady Byngs. Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay is a finalist as well and finished second to Datsyuk in the past two Lady Byng votes and finished third the year before that. New Jersey’s Zach Parise, who finished 25th in the Lady Byng vote last year, is the other finalist.

Lidstrom is continuing his run of dominance in the Norris voting. Lidstrom is a finalist for the top defenseman award for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons. Actually, in the previous nine seasons in which he was a finalist, Lidstrom finished either first or second in voting. This is the 13th straight season that Lidstrom has finished at least seventh in the Norris vote.

Washington’s Mike Green is a Norris finalist for the first time, having posted gaudy offensive numbers from the blue line -- 31 goals, 73 points and a plus-24 in just 68 games.

Boston captain Zdeno Chara is a Norris finalist for the third time. He finished third in the voting last season, fourth in 2006, second in 2004 and seventh in 2003.

Chelios is up against Steve Sullivan and Richard Zednik for the Masterton Trophy which goes to the player who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Chelios’ 1,644 regular-season games played are the most among active players and rank fourth in League history -- he, Gordie Howe and Mark Messier are the only men to have played in 25 NHL seasons. At 47, he’s the oldest player in the NHL.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still blaming you and your ilk that got mesmerised by Green and Chara's hot month or two in December/January. Lidstrom was the best defenseman in all around ability this year. Granted it's a regular season award, but it was blatantly obvious in the playoffs when pressure and media scrutiny is magnified. And I'm sure you and enough voters so it could have made a difference were second guessing their picks.

-nn from RWC

June 18, 2009 at 10:22 PM 
Blogger Bruce MacLeod said...

Thanks for posting nn, but saying "blaming" and "you and your ilk" is very negative.

And obviously, blame the people who voted for the award for the award vote. Of course.

If you think Chara is a hot month or two player, I think you're killing your own argument for Lidstrom. Don't sound like you don't know hockey and expect people to follow your opinion.

Again, Lidstrom finishing third in voting is not an insult. That's pretty damn good.

And I'm not going to discuss the playoff argument again. The votes don't include this or any other playoffs. It's best defenseman of the regular season.

Please don't pout so because Lidstrom finished third for the Norris after finishing in the top three in 10 of the past 11 seasons. If you consider that an insult, then your focus is so tightly on the Red Wings, that you're showing yourself to not be aware of the rest of the league.

Again, 10-time finalist in 11 seasons. Six Norris Trophies. If you think anyone is slighting Lidstrom, take your commentary elsewhere.

That's just a ridiculous position to take.

June 18, 2009 at 10:34 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tongue firmly planted in cheek. Last go 'round I believe I phrased it as "I'll never forgive you if your one vote made the difference."

Chara isn't a 1-2 month player, but 1-2 months pretty much put him on the map. It would have been Shea Weber's 1-2 months had he not completely fallen off the face of the earth for 3/4ths of the year and he STILL finished 4th. Those early headlines make all the difference. Nick was old and done and the fresh blood are the front runners.

Take up the playoffs causing second guessing argument with Kenny Holland. He made it as well. You can hide a lot of flaws in the regular season (Green moreso than Chara).

Pretty damn good is relative. If you're the best, being voted the 3rd best is hardly consolation. Yeah, Nick himself says all the right things about it being an honor just to be a finalist, but the man also has no ego. He's humble to a fault (like Stevie when he got boo'ed at his #19 hanging ceremony when he tried to pawn off too much credit for his own success).

And I'm fully aware of the rest of the league. Chara is great. Nick is better. Green is a forward. Duncan Keith should have been #3, but he's too steady/non-flashy to garner much attention. Keith and Campbell are like Nick and Coffey-lite from the early-mid 90s. One is the bedrock and one makes the highlight reels (for both teams).

You can call disagreement with the results slighting, insulting, whatever you want, but Nick was the best all around defenseman this season. And if you're the best you shouldn't be happy with bronze.

The only consolation is that Green didn't win the thing, but he still bumped Nick from the 1st Team...

June 19, 2009 at 5:47 AM 
Blogger Bruce MacLeod said...

"Chara isn't a 1-2 month player, but 1-2 months pretty much put him on the map." ...
Which 1-2 months put him on the map?
Was it the 1-2 months in 2003 when Chara placed 7th in the Norris voting?
The 1-2 months in 2004 when Chara finished 2nd in Norris voting?
The 1-2 months in 2006 when Chara finished 4th in Norris voting?
The 1-2 months in 2008 when Chara finished 3rd in Norris voting?

You're not making a very good argument by slamming Chara. The guy's been a great defenseman for many years, so saying 1-2 months "pretty much put him on the map" is ludicrous.

Again, the playoffs have nothing at all to do with these awards and votes. First of all, it's strictly recognition for regular-season performance. You're using the playoffs as validation that you're assessment of a player is correct. Who cares.

Second, you'd have to use the previous year's playoffs to make your judgment on a player for this year's award. That player might be with a different team, playing a different role. How silly would that be to make Player A the Hart Trophy winner of 2009 because he played well in the spring of 2008.

You seem to be arguing that Lidstrom is the best defenseman in the NHL with no time boundary. In other words, when these guys have all retired, we'll look back at Lidstrom as the best. Of course we will.

But the voting is strictly from the start to the end of one regular season.

June 19, 2009 at 10:51 AM 

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