2007/08 NHL Awards Watch
JACK ADAMS AWARD (Best Coach)
Show of hands how many of you thought the Canadiens were one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference at the start of the season, not even the most fanatic Habs fans can say that honestly, but the Canadiens won their first division title in 19 years and posted the best overall record in the East, and much of it has to do with how Charbonneau mixed a solid group of veterans and rookies, and how he had the courage to turn over the goaltending reigns to Rookie Carey Price, which seemed to add a spark to his team.
SELKE TROPHY (Best Defensive Forward)
New Jersey Devils
The Devils did not play with a whole lot margin for error, as they were involved in many one goal games, Many of these games swung on how they performed while killing power plays, and John Madden was a key at keeping the Devils in games and holding leads by beating a legitimate short handed scoring threat, as the sport’s premiere defense forward. Often Madden also sacrifices stats for defense as the Devils holding leads continue to play the smart keep away hockey that limits chances for the opponent.
VEZINA TROPHY (Best Goalie)
New Jersey Devils
Early on Martin Brodeur struggle as the Devils began the season with a nine game road trip, but once he found his grove it was the same old Martin Bordeur as the Devils once again battled for the top record in the Eastern Conference, despite an offense that at times as very anemic. With Martin Brodeur closing in on Patrick Roy’s record he once again won 43 games with an impressive 2.18 GAA, and a .920 save percentage as he played in all but six of the Devils 82 games, making him not only the best goalie but the Most Valuable.
CALDER TROPHY (Rookie of the Year)
Another of the NHL’s next generation of young stars, and the key to the revival of hockey in Chicago, Patrick Kane the top overall pick in the NHL draft helped the Blackhawks challenge for a playoff spot as he led rookies in scoring with 21 goals and 51 assists, teammate Jonathan Toews could steal a few votes, and could have won it himself if not for missing 18 games. In the end Kane entered the season with the label as the future and while the Blackhawks fell short of the playoffs he brought hope back to Chicago.
NORRIS TROPHY (Best Defenseman)
Detroit Red Wings
Perhaps they should give Niklas Lidstrom his own Norris Trophy, because since 2001 he has practically owned the award for Best Defenseman winning 5 of the last 6 awards. Make that 6 of 7 as Lidstrom the Captain of the Detroit Red Wings had an amazing 60 assists leading the Wings to the President’s Trophy for best record in the NHL. While the Wings success is ultimately determined by the postseason, the Norris is for the regular season and no defenseman is better then Niklas Lidstrom. Some things never change.
HART TROPHY (NHL MVP)
Two years ago the Russian sensation beat out Sidney Crosby for the Calder, Crosby responded by winning the Hart Trophy i last year, now its Ovechkin’s turn again as he claims his first MVP at the age of 22. The battle between Crosby and Ovechkin may be one of the best storylines in the NHL for years to come. This year however, it was no contest as Crosby dealt with injuries, while Ovechkin led the NHL in scoring, setting a record for goals by a Left Wing at 65 as he led the Capitals into the playoffs for the first time in seven years.