Corey Perry

Ducks forward Corey Perry takes home Hart Trophy as NHL’s most valuable player


When fans and media broke down the race for the Hart Trophy between Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, and Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin the consensus seemed to be that it was a true toss-up as to who would come away on top. In the end, the PWHA had their say in the vote and it would be Corey Perry coming away as the NHL’s top player.

Perry’s 50 goal season and ability to lead the Ducks to the fourth seed in the Western Conference after such a rough start to their year and navigating an injury to linemate Ryan Getzlaf helped impress the voters to the point of earning 1,043 points and beating out second place finisher Daniel Sedin who had 960 points. Perry received 67 first place votes while Sedin took home 51 as the voters seemed to be torn between those two for the top spot. St. Louis finished with just one first place vote while finishing a distant third with 332 points.

For Perry, his breakout this season was a stunning one. The power forward’s ability to score and agitate was well known as it is, but scoring that many goals and helping carry his team into the playoffs was stunning and caught the league by surprise. His play helped inspire the team and while they ultimately bowed out early in the playoffs, getting the Ducks there in the first place was incredible. Perry, known more for his gruff on-ice demeanor, was soft spoken and surprised in accepting the award.

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Perry finished the night with two trophies as he also accepted his hardware for the Rocket Richard Trophy as well and he’s the first Anaheim Ducks player to win the league MVP.

For what it’s worth, the NHLPA disagreed with the PWHA on who they thought the league MVP was as Sedin won the Ted Lindsay Award as the MVP as voted on by the players. In an odd twist, Sedin’s twin brother Henrik won the Hart Trophy¬†last season, but the Lindsay Award went to Alexander Ovechkin.

Perry reacts to winning the Hart Trophy
While he probably thought that he had a shot at winning the Hart Trophy, Perry was still a bit taken aback when he actually heard his name being called.

“You don’t know what to expect coming in and then all of a sudden you hear your name and you’re like ‘whoa.'” Perry said. “It surprised me and like I said, I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates.”

It was clear that Perry was emotional once he realized that he was named the MVP of the 2010-11 season. In fact, he seemed like he got a little bit teary-eyed once the reality set in. He wasn’t ashamed, either.

“Obviously I’m an emotional person and it’s like going back when we won the Stanley Cup. I cried after that. You know, it’s just personal.”

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”