Monday is an off-day for the Pittsburgh Penguins, so while they rest before diving into preparing for the Tampa Bay LIghtning, the round-table of Pensburgh editors sat down to pick awards league wide. Well, actually everyone just emailed me, and presumably there was no conversation between us to not influence anything.
The results, were quite wild. There were 3 different MVPs, 3 different defensemen of the year and 3 different rookies of the year. In fact, no category was a unanimous decision for the selectors. Tell us how we did (and make your selections) in the comments. It's gonna be all over the place.
|Frank||Daniel Sedin||Tim Thomas||Jordan Staal (!?!)||Lubomir Visnovsky||Jeff Skinner||Dan Bylsma||Martin St. Louis|
|Hooks||D. Sedin||Pekka Rinne||Manny Malhotra||Nicklas Lidstrom||Skinner||Bylsma||St. Louis|
|GoPens||Corey Perry||Thomas||Ryan Kesler||Dustin Byfuglien||Logan Couture||Bylsma||Loui Eriksson|
|Justin||Steven Stamkos||Thomas||Anze Kopitar||Lidstrom||Corey Crawford||Randy Carlysle||Eriksson|
GP: "I'm going to assume that goalies are out of the picture here because they have the Vezina, and Crosby can't win it because he only played half of the season. So my pick is Corey Perry. He put up comparable offensive numbers to Daniel Sedin but did it against much more difficult competition. The Sedins are very talented, but they get the benefit of easy circumstances in Vancouver."
Hooks: "I'm gonna go Daniel Sedin. Yeah he's a got a great situation in Vancouver, but he was also the best statistical player on the best regular season team in the league and set career highs in goals, assists, points and plus/minus. D. Sedin lead the league in points and was the most productive player in the league at even strength and on the power play. With no clear MVP front runner, that's good enough for my vote."
Justin: "Out of all the skaters on playoff teams, [Stamkos] had the biggest percentage of his team's offensive and defensive output."
Frank for Tim Thomas: "I'd love to say Marc-Andre Fleury, but Tim Thomas' numbers don't lie. And while I'm fully aware that the Vezina is awarded for regular-season efforts, I am curious to see how he pans out in the playoffs this year."
GP again for Thomas: "He had the best save percentage in the league by far this year, and he set an NHL record in the process. This is a big no-brainer."
Justin piles it on for Thomas: "I don't know how you can give this to anyone but Tim Thomas. A .939 SV% is a new NHL record and I can't just ignore that."
Hooks dissents and chooses Pekka Rinne: "He played more games than Tim Thomas, and in front of a lesser team, which put more pressure on him to hold the fort. I couldn't vote for Fleury, his first six weeks put his season numbers behind other front-runners, despite Fleury's stellar play lately. Rinne has the gaudy numbers for save percentage and goals against, and without him, Nashville wouldn't have stood a chance."
Frank about if he was serious on picking Jordan Staal- "Come on already. I'm sure this is where someone busts out some kind of stat showing me that there is another viable and/or better candidate, but I don't want to believe it."
Hooks- "A bit of an off-the-board selection, but Malhotra ranks among the leaders for forwards in SH time per game (2:45) and his faceoff numbers (61.7%) was 2nd league wide among regular centers. I fully admit this is a little sentimental for his gruesome eye injury, but even then, Malhotra is a glue heart and soul player and worthy of the consideration."
GP on Kesler- "He's doing a great job being the guy behind the Sedins."
Justin- "We all know who's going to end up with this award, so I'm going to go off the beaten path and pick Anze Kopitar. Kopitar's +18.0 relative to his team outdoes Ryan Kesler's +10.2 and gets less attention for his trouble."
GP regarding Big Buff- "He's Atlanta's possession d-man and he does it against pretty strong competition and not a lot of help."
Hooks for Lidstrom- "It's like he doesn't age. He's the smartest player in the league, and even at the age of 40 he's still a dominant force that plays all situations with ease, making impeccable decisions and play. He is Mr. Norris trophy."
Justin agrees with the Lidstrom pick- "For once, Nicklas Lidstrom's Norris Trophy will be deserved and not simply based on reputation alone. One doesn't even need the "for a guy his age" qualifier when talking about how well he did this year."
Frank for Viz Nasty- "And not just because he was the lone bright spot on an otherwise dismal fantasy hockey team. Visnovsky picked up 18 of his 68 points in March alone, including a hat trick and a streak where he scored six points in four games. Factor in his ability to finish as a +18 on a team that was 11th worst in goals allowed per game (2.84) and allowed the fourth most shots (32.3), and it seems like it's a done deal."
Frank/Hooks pick Skinner- "Not to knock Skinner's 63 points in 82 games or anything, but if Taylor Hall doesn't get injured then the vote is much closer." -- Frank
"At just 18 years old, he lead all rookies in scoring. Plus his impact to his team was greater than the other candidates. Very impressive class this year, but Skinner gets the nod for his production, role and the excitement he delivered consistently all season long." -- Hooks
GP picked Couture, because "he's played a ton of minutes for a rookie and has been dominant in possession while he's on the ice. He's gonna be a big part of San Jose in the future."
Justin acknowledges a sleeper pick: "Corey Crawford should be a shoe-in here, and he'll get my vote. He went 25-12-3 with 3 shutouts, a .920 SV%, and a 2.17 GAA. However, because he's a goalie, he won't get many first place votes."
A Bylsma sweep. Well almost. So why should the Pens coach win it?
"The Penguins finished the regular season tied for third in the league in points. With no Staal the first half of the season, no Crosby the second half and a brief cameo by Malkin in between. Even better, Bylsma perfectly handed Fleury through his abysmal start and got him and the defense on track. All the while incorporating all sorts of forwards to replace all the injuries with a calm demeanor and perfect system." --Hooks
Frank echoed that sentiment, "he kept this ragged group of young, injured and disjointed players together through the best and the worst of the season's trials and tribulations."
GP also concurred, "no other team finishes fourth in league standings when they lose their top two guns and suffer the other swath of injuries the Penguins had this year. But with Danny B at the helm, they weathered the storm and almost won the division in the process. This is another no-brainer."
Justin, ruins the sweep though saying "Randy Carlisle took an Anaheim team that wasn't supposed to do anything this year and landed them in the #4 seed in the West. That's usually a good sign for winning this award."
Frank threw some humor in the sportsmanship award when he selected "Trevor Gill...er, Martin St. Louis. I don't know, I never really know who to vote for when it comes to this trophy, so I'll just make up for not giving Marty the Hart nod above."
Hooks also threw his hat in St. Louis' corner, "99 points, only 12 penalty minutes. And only one of them was of the aggressive variety (a slashing minor). Zero calls for roughing or cross-checking in all 82 games, as a top line player facing intense competition every night."
GP thought outside of the box and suggested Dallas' Loui Eriksson. " In 78 games this year, he's only got four minor penalties, and he's a pretty talented player."
Justin was on the same wavelength regarding Eriksson. "High standard of play plus sportsmanlike behavior? It's not easy coming up with that, but Loui Eriksson's 8 PIM and 73 points is about as close a combination as you can get."