As I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath, here are some NHL Awards Predictions! I’ll start with some of the lamer awards and work up to the ones we care about, though lame is relative — I certainly care more about the NHL Foundation award than, say, Best Animated Feature Film at the Oscars.
Masterton: I don’t really want to speculate, because this is the “overcoming obstacles” trophy or the “who dealt with the worst problem this season” trophy, and winning it isn’t necessarily a good thing. Last year our own Jose Theodore won it for dealing with the death of his infant son during the season and delivered a heartbreaking acceptance speech. But here’s a great article by Mike Vogel about the Capitals’ submission for the (Bill) Masterton Memorial Trophy, Matt “Bendy Hendy” Hendricks.
Anyway, the three dudes actually up for it Ray Emery, Daymond Langkow, and Ian Laperriere. All three of these stories are just plain ol’ returns from injury — nothing, you know, TRAGIC. That said, I’m going with Emery, because he came back from a debilitating disease with a terrifying name (avascular necrosis), whereas Langkow only got hit in the face with a slap shot and Laperriere didn’t even play this season.
Selke: Well, Datsyuk has a grand total of 15 regular season PIM, which means… it can’t be… he fought, making him ineligible for the Lady Byng. Therefore, he’s got to win the other Pavel Datsyuk award, the (Frank J.) Selke Trophy for best defensive forward. The other nominees are Ryan “didn’t come into his own until the playoffs” Kesler and Jonathan “has a perfectly good chance to win, but I don’t like him” Toews, which is why, in the end, I am forced to chose Pasha. Actually, Kesler has a better chance to unseat Datsyuk, as he came perilously close to last year, with the Selke voting the closest off all tallies. Still, let Datsyuk have it as the Detroit Dynasty comes to an end, eh?
GM Award: Mike Gillis of the Canucks, Steve Yzerman of the Lightning, and David Poile of the Predators. I’d cast my vote for Poile, because he seems to have finally found a winning combination in Nashville that broke through to the second round and, more importantly, galvanized a generally apathetic fanbase. I don’t give Gillis a whole lot of credit for this year specifically — having a healthy blue line helped the Canucks more than any significant roster chances — and while Yzerman did make a lot of strong acquisitions, I think the Lightning’s success is equally due to the maturation of players like Stamkos and Hedman. And, you know, I’m biased. The nicest thing I’ll say about the Lightning is that Vinny Lecavalier is dreamy.
Mike Green, via bridgetds
I’d also like to make a special note about the NHL Foundation Award. It’s the community service award, which is why — like the Masterton — it’s a bit silly to pick a winner. How does one objectively measure the comparative merits of charity work? That said, this is the second year running Mike Green is up for it. Let’s be honest for a moment: when you think Mike Green, you think silly mohawk, you think playoff disappearance, you think Vespa, for crying out loud. You don’t think of his work with underprivileged children, or his contributions to local hospitals, or his efforts to create green areas for children to play. Before last year, even the fans didn’t really know how much work he does for the community. Mike Green’s image is that of a not-so-bright party boy, who makes dubious fashion choices and occasionally neglects his defensive responsibilities. He doesn’t flaunt his charity work like a status symbol. All four of these men — Dustin Brown and the brothers Sedin are the other nominees — are worthy of the award, but regardless of who wins it, I’m proud of Mike Green.
And the special VC Chillin’ award for “Reason I Will Only Be Watching the Awards Part of the NHL Awards Show” goes to Jay “Hockey Sucks” Mohr, host of the NHL Awards for the second year running. Look, drunk Mark Wahlberg was more entertaining than you, as was horribly awkward Sidney Crosby and barely-restrained-rage Marty Brodeur.
Remember, awards are June 22!