Hockey’s big night will be held in Las Vegas again, and all the stars are expected to show up. Below are the nominees, and some of the stars to watch.
The big award of the night is the Hart Memorial Trophy for the player judged to be most valuable to his team by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association . This year’s finalists are Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Sidney Crosby (Pittsburg Penguins), and Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks). Newly made captain this year, two-time defending champ Ovechkin led the Capitals to the President’s Cup this year. Crosby had a good year, and did win the gold medal with Team Canada in the Olympics this year, but the defending Stanley Cup champions finished fourth in their conference. There are some who believe that Sedin played on a weaker team than both Ovechkin and Crosby and, thus, was more valuable overall to his team.
The Vezina Trophy nominees for best goalie, as voted by the NHL general managers, are Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), Ilya Bryzgalov (Phoenix Coyotes), and Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres). Although the award should be judged only on what happened in the NHL, Miller was awesome in this year’s Olympics for Team USA, and might get a few votes based on that. If Miller doesn’t get the sentimental vote, Bryzgalov will probably take the trophy.
Nominees selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association for the James Norris Memorial Trophy for best defenseman include Mike Green (Washington Capitals), Drew Doughty (Los Angeles Kings), and Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks). Though some think Green plays a little too offensively, leading all defensemen in points, assists and goals, he also had a plus 39 rating, and should probably take the Norris this year.
Up for the gentleman’s award, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for the player who displays good sportsmanship and conduct, are Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings), Brad Richards (Dallas Stars), and Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay Lightning). Datsyuk has won this before, and probably will take it again.
Coach of the Year nominees for the Jack Adams Award, which is selected by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association, are Joe Sacco (Colorado Avalanche), Dave Tippett (Phoenix Coyotes), and Barry Trotz (Nashville Predators). The winner will probably be Tippett, who overcame a lot of obstacles, including constant rumors that his team was going to be sold, to take his team to the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Nominees for the Masterton Trophy, which is given to a player who has shown great perseverance and sportsmanship are Kurtis Foster (Tampa Bay Lightning), Jed Ortmeyer (San Jose Sharks), and Jose Theodore (Washington Capitals). Foster and Ortmeyer had to overcome severe physical ailments. Theodore lost an infant son to respiratory complications before the season started, but was still able to win 30 games for the Capitals.
Nominees for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for outstanding defensive forward are Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks), and Jordan Staal (Pittsburgh Penguins). Datsyuk has won this award before, but Staal has a better plus-minus rating of 19.
Lastly, the Calder Memorial Trophy nominees for outstanding rookie are Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings), and Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres). The award should probably go to Howard, who had an outstanding year and was key in helping the Red Wings get back to the playoffs again this year.