We were all tipped off about Montreal’s P.K. Subban winning this year’s Norris Trophy earlier this week, but there’s no way the other big award winners would get leaked early… Right?
On TSN’s Insider Trading segment Bob McKenzie, in speaking about Subban’s reported win, said other players were given a heads-up about who was going to take home what.
“In fact, Subban is the Norris Trophy winner. And now we’re hearing word that Jonathan Huberdeau will be in Chicago on Saturday. You can infer from that that the Florida Panther forward is going to be the rookie of the year.”
Darren Dreger followed that up saying that neither Sidney Crosby nor John Tavares would be in Chicago for the Hart Trophy award tonight and Alex Ovechkin, who is in Russia, would accept the award via video. While that’s not confirmation Ovechkin is going to win it, it’s about as close as it can get.
Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston says Chicago’s Jonathan Toews kept his Selke Trophy win a tight-knit secret with his family and that award winners have known for a while that they were victorious.
If you’re a fan of suspense, this was not the year for you to have a stake in the NHL awards as the Lindsay Award and Vezina Trophy are the only two left with an element of surprise for the time being.
We all know coaches play favorites with their own players when it comes to awards and Senators head coach Paul MacLean is no different.
MacLean is headed to Las Vegas this week for the NHL Awards and he tells Allen Panzeri of Senators Extra defenseman Erik Karlsson should be the Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman.
“Will he win? I don’t know. Should he win? I believe he has done enough to do it.”
Karlsson was, by far, the league’s highest-scoring defenseman this season with 78 points, 25 better than Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Campbell. Karlsson, however, is up against Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber for the Norris and that’s where things get sticky. Those two guys bring offense but also play a stronger defensive game, a bit of a key component when it comes to an award for best defenseman.
Still, Karlsson’s big offensive game was impressive just the same and worthy of commendation. Perhaps a firm handshake and a pat on the back will have to suffice.
Erik Karlsson might not have the defensive acumen to please people who cringe at the points-centric Norris Trophy voting, but his scoring ability is making the Ottawa Senators an intriguing sleeper in the East.
Karlsson’s power-play goal was the only marker as the Senators beat the Northeast Division-leading (and defending champion) Boston Bruins at their own game 1-0.
Well, either that or their promising backup goalie won a significant duel with Tim Thomas. Nope, it wasn’t recently acquired netminder Ben Bishop; instead, Robin Lehner made a compelling argument for his NHL-readiness by stopping all 32 Bruins shots. Thomas was brilliant in making 37 out of 38 saves, but Ottawa beat the B’s in Boston to make a statement.
Either that, or they raised some questions.
1. Circling back to Karlsson, is his resounding offensive production reason enough to make him deserve the Norris? Normally I’m in that embittered hockey nerd group in regard to that trophy’s voting, but one could argue that he’s essentially the most valuable defenseman in the NHL because of his offense.*
2. Does Ottawa have a decent chance to steal the Northeast title from Boston?
Rather than going too deep on this question, I’ll merely present you with some crucial points.
- The Bruins are currently ahead of the Senators points-wise 77-76.
- Boston also has a fairly massive games in hand advantage, with four more games remaining (21 to 17) than Ottawa.
- On the other hand, the Senators are streaking up (two wins in a row; 7-2-1 in their last 10) while the Bruins are bumbling a bit (4-5-1 in last 10).
- The Bruins have 10 home games and 11 road games left.
- The Senators have nine home games and eight road games remaining.
- Both teams actually possess remarkably balanced win-loss records on the road vs. at home, which means that games remaining and streaks are probably the biggest factors.
- Well, except for tie-breaker considerations, perhaps. The Bruins have 37 wins to Ottawa’s 34 and 30 regulation/OT wins to the Senators’ 29.
Looking at that information, it would take a serious run (and/or significant Boston struggles) for Ottawa to shock the hockey world by winning its division. Still, it’s pretty amazing that such a question would need to be examined with March just a breath away.
* – The Norris Trophy isn’t defined as the MVP of the blueliners, but the point must be made.