Sports by Randy Charles Morin.
Copyright 2005-10 Randy Charles Morin
Owned by Rapid Spiral Development Inc.
Here are my choices with a couple games left in the NHL season for the individual award winners. In a couple cases, my choice is partial based on the assumption that the team will or will not make the playoffs and if that changed, then my opinion would change. But I doubt it. You'll find my choices a little different that the conventional people who think they know hockey.
Had Craig Anderson not been injurred, his sneeking the Senators in the playoffs with a 1.71 GAA and .941 SV% would've won him the Hart, but I can't give it to a goalie that only played half the season? Can I? Without Anderson's heroics early in the season, this injury riddled team could very well be competing for the 1st overall pick in this summers entry draft instead of being in the playoff race. Still, I can't believe
How about a forward that played only 3 quarters of the season? Sidney Crosby was still leading the NHL in scoring and 2nd in assists with 3 games left in the season. His linemates are #1 and #2 in the plus-minus leaders (he's currently 4th) and he's in the top 15 in faceoff wins.
Can you give it to two forwards, Martin St Louis and Steve Stamkos, who may win the Art Ross for most points while leading their team to a lottery pick instead of a playoff spot? These two players rank last and 2nd last on their team in plus-minus for forwards. This isn't new territory for this pair. These are two players that I would absolutely not consider for the Hart. In fact, I doubt this team will ever make the playoffs until they break up their core group of offensive players who don't skate in their defensive zone.
Alex Ovechkin is by far the Hart winner in the 2nd half of the season, but is that enough to overcome a very bad start? Remember 2 months ago when everybody was saying OV was washed up? Now he's gonna win yet another Rocket Richard trophy and is a prime candidate for the Hart as well.
Other players I would consider voting for are Ryan Getzlaf, Jonathan Toews and John Tavares. All four elevated their teams to new heights this season, but none stood out as much as Crosby or Ovechkin.
Winner: Sidney Crosby
Let me start by repeating the same argument that Craig Anderson would've won here too had he not been injured.
That said, people are starting to talk about Sergei Bobrovsky as the prime candidate for the Vezina. And I agree. Without Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets would not be in the playoff picture.
I'm also gonna make a case for another goalie that took a team that hasn't made the playoffs in a decade into the playoffs this season; James Reimer. In the game that clinched the playoffs for the Leafs, they were outshot 50 to 22 by the Senators, yet won the game 4-1 on 49 saves by Reimer. Getting outshot isn't a rarity in Toronto these days (years).
Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky.
He's hated, just as much as he's loved, but this year he became a true all-star and Norris candidate; P.K. Subban. He hits hard, he leads all d-men in goals and points and has a nice plus-minus to boot.
How about Brooks Orpik? If he could only score. But how about 10th in hits and 6th in blocked shots? This guy is a true unsung warrior.
And then there's Dion Phaneuf. Twenty-sixth in blocked shots, 6th in hits, 6th in points, 3rd in goals, 5th in ice-time. Now those are some impressive numbers.
Ryan Suter is another possibility, but his team has under-performed even with Ryan playing his best season yet and they don't look playoff bound.
My finalist are Phaneuf and Subban.
Winner: P.K. Subban.
Jonathan Huberdeau leads all rookies in goals and points and he's nearly leading a bad Florida offense in both categories as well.
Justin Schultz leads all rookie defensemen in goals, assists and points, but he does have a lot of offensive help on a very talented Oilers team.
Cory Conacher is a nice story and does lead all rookies in assists and points. That said, he accumulated most of those points playing along side the offensive-minded Lightning.
I'm deciding between Huberdeau and Schultz.
Winner: Justin Schultz.
I don't really care.
This is by far my favorite award. Mostly because I think it's histerical that the most recent winner of the award doesn't even play much on his teams short hand unit. Pavel Datsyuk may very well win this award again, but in my opinion he isn't even in the top 20 best defensive players in the NHL. If he's so good defensive, then how come he only ranks 3rd on his team in short-handed ice-time per game for forwards? And how can you even give the award to a player that isn't played much in defensive situations like power plays?
Let's look are real defensive players, not just great offensive players who are reasonable defensively. The real great defensive players are those that hog most of the short-handed ice-time and are on the ice in the last minute when your team is winning by a goal.
This guy should've won the Frank J Selke most every year he's been in the NHL. No other player even needs to be named. He leads the league in short-handed ice-time by a forward with 163 minutes. No other player has more than 131. In those 163 minutes, the power-play has only 11 goals. His new team joined this season had their penalty kill go from 24th last year to 3rd best this year. He plays every shift against the other teams best offensive players and maintained an even plus-minus. And does he play in the final minute in one goal games? He must. He has 3 empty net goals this season. No player since Michael Peca has scored such a high percentage of his games into empty nets (just saying, didn't double check that stat).
Winner: Jay McClement.
The Ottawa Senators have been devastated with key injuries, yet the team still managed to stay in the playoff hunt. Paul MacLean deserves consideration for the Adams for holding this team together all season.
John Capuano deserves a gold medal for managing to put the worst managed hockey organization in the NHL into the playoffs. His team has Tim Thomas, Alexei Yashin and Rick Dipietro accounting for $11-12 million of the cap space. Without these players, who aren't even on the team, they wouldn't meet the CBA team salary floor for 2012-13.
The Columbus Blue Jackets suck. If they make the playoffs then Todd Richards is another candidate for coach of the year. This team is made up almost entirely from players unwanted otherwhere in the NHL.
All three coaches have taken a bad team to the promised land.
Winner: Paul MacLean.
The Penguins added Jarome Iginla, Jussi Jokinen, Douglas Murray and Brenden Morrow to an already stacked team. Ray Shero must be using a different math then the other General Managers in order to fit so many stars into the same salary cap every other team struggles with. Their backup goalie Tomas Vokoun is better than most NHL starting goalies and he signed him for next to nothing.
Not as impressive as the Penguins, but the Bruins added Jaromir Jagr and Wade Redden at the deadline. Peter Chiarelli also managed a very skillful trade to free up salary room by trading Tim Thomas to the Islanders. The trade was clearly made to circumvent the salary cap for both teams, as the Islanders were under the salary floor and the Bruins needed some room to work with.
I can't put my finger on a 3rd GM that stood out as much as these two.
Winner: Peter Chiarelli
I updated all the OHL rosters on Talk-Sports.
Review of the series to date.
Avalanche v Sharks
Sharks are looking at another early exit from the playoffs. I blame Joe Thornton. It's hard to believe that one of the largest players in the league, plays one of the softest games in the league. Can Craig Anderson do it two more times?
Kings v Canucks
The Sedin's took over in the 3rd period to tie the series. This series is gonna come down to Luongo and the Sedin's will. Once again the NHL looks stupid by screwing up the kicking the puck into the net rule.
Preds v Hawks
Preds are surprising. I thought they might have a chance if the Hawks goalies fail, but other than one bad goal, Niemi has been primed. The Hawks offense appears to be on empty.
Wings v Yotes
Can one goalie defeat an entire team? Only in hockey. Illya Bryzgalov is the series. If he plays awesome, then the Coyotes win. If he plays great, then the Coyotes lose.
Habs v Caps
Habs are completely outclassed. Don't blame the goalies here. OK, maybe Theodore for blowing game one and almost blowing game two. The Caps are going deep. Only a goalie can stop them now (or maybe a Kid).
Bruins v Sabres
And I thought the Bruins couldn't score. With Vanek, the Sabres appear to have no offense. Their season is done. They need to shop for scoring depth to support the franchise; Ryan Miller.
Flyers v Devils
Flyers stunk down the stretch. WTF!? This series looks like a couple AHL teams. Devils are done. Flyers are done next rounds.
Sens v Pens
If the Ottawa citizens are really lucky, then they will be able to catch the Sidney Crosby show one more time. I can't wait for the Pens v Caps semi-final. This'll be a classic.
Sens v Pens
Ottawa is using a rookie playoff goalie (Elliot). One of their stars (Kovalev) is hurt. They had the worst goal differential of any team that made the playoffs. They are playing the defending Cup champs. Pens in 5.
Flyers v Devils
Flyers made the playoffs by playing slightly less horrible than the Rangers. Remember, they only had to win one of their last two games and they almost blew that too. They are playing Boucher in net only because they don't have anybody else who is eligible to play. Devils in 5.
Bruins v Sabres
The Bruins can't score goals. They score even less goals when Marc Savard is injured. Yes, he's out for the series. They score even less goals when playing Vezina candidate Ryan Miller. I just can't see the Bruins scoring enough goals. Sabres in 5.
Caps v Habs
The Canadian, like the Bruins, can't score goals. The Caps can. I cannot see Halak being capable of keeping them in a 7 game series. Even if Theodore falters, the Caps have playoff proven Varlamov. Caps in 5.
What undermines everyone’s effort when entertaining any conversation that puts forth anything resembling the above is the idea that you can sell it. Don’t! You can’t! It’s purely entertainment!
Here's my 1st round predictions for the 2009 NHL Playoffs.
We just updated all the OHL rosters for the 2008-09 season.
We just updated all the NHL rosters.
So, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray thinks the hit by Mark Bell on Daniel Alfredsson was dirty. Last year, he laughed at the thought that the exact same hit by Chris Neil on Chris Drury was not. Watch these two exactly similar hits. When it happens to his team, it's clean, but when it's against his team, it's dirty.
The Ottawa Senators have acquired to of the pieces of the 2007 Hurricane Stanley Cup winning puzzle; Commodore and Stillman for Corvo and Eaves. Both Commodore and Stillman will be unrestricted free-agents and Corvo and Eaves have longer-term rights. This is a now for tomorrow trade and likely a good one for both teams. The Sens are trying to improve on last season's Cup final lost. The Canes have struggled since a quick start and are adding a bit of youth and talent for the longer-term.
Northeast Preseason Preview
This January will be tough for the Leafs. A lot of games on the road and out west.
That's a deadly schedule for both the players and fans. If the Leafs struggle in the first 6 of those games, then the Senators could easily turn this into a long losing streak with the final two in Ottawa. For the fans, 3 of the next 5 are on premium ($$$) TV. Yuck! Doesn't sound like a great January and like they say, as goes January, so goes the year.