Robert Powis’ First Annual NHL Awards Predictions

Well, folks, we are three quarters of the way through the 48-game NHL season and my word, It has been an interesting season! A favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the New York Rangers find themselves fighting for a playoff berth. The Montreal Canadiens, who were predicted to finish in the bottom of the Eastern Conference, are fighting with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the East. The biggest surprise of the season so far has been the strong play of the Columbus Blue Jackets. After trading the face of their franchise, Rick Nash, to the New York Rangers, it seemed like the Blue Jackets were due for a rebuilding year; instead they find themselves fighting for their second playoff berth in franchise history. Although there are few games left in the season, there may be some more surprises left to unfold with the playoffs only about to begin. Here are my picks for the Stanley Cup and the major NHL awards if the season ended today and the playoffs began.

Stanley Cup Champions: Chicago Blackhawks over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As much as I love my Rangers and hate the Penguins, there is no denying that, when Sidney Crosby is healthy, he is the best player in the league and can dismantle almost any opposition in his way. When all of the superstars finally get healthy, Pittsburgh should have no problem strutting their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, but I think the Blackhawks will be the team to defeat them. With Patrick Kane sober and back to the superstar form we saw in the 2010 season and Jonathan Toews playing with All-Star consistency the Blackhawks have created a recipe for success.  I see no way that Pittsburgh can defend against the Chicago scoring stars like Kane, Toews, Hossa, and Sharp. Even though Pittsburgh has an outstanding offensive lineup, the goaltending duo of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery will be able to shut them down. Pittsburgh’s goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has had his ups and downs all season, but I believe that even when he is playing his best hockey, he is no match for Chicago.

Sidney Crosby, future recipient of the Hart Trophy

Sidney Crosby, future recipient of the Hart Trophy

Hart Trophy (player most valuable to his team):

Winner: Sidney Crosby

Finalists: Alex Ovechkin, Jonathan Toews

When he has been healthy, Sidney Crosby has torn apart every team he has faced. Crosby has scored 56 points in only 36 games. Despite taking a slapshot to the face, losing teeth, and having emergency jaw surgery, Crosby still leads the NHL in points. The two games immediately after Crosby got hurt, his team lost by a combined score of 10-2. They seemed lost without their captain and with good reason. NHL owners around the league should have no problem deciding who the most valuable player has been this season.

Veznia Trophy (best goalie):

Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky

Finalists: Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Neimi

Flyers fans are kicking themselves all over the eastern side of Pennsylvania looking back at the trade that sent Sergei Bobrovsky to Columbus for almost nothing in return. This season Bobrovsky has single handedly kept the Blue Jackets from repeating history and finishing at the bottom of the Western Conference. Although his stats are not as good as some other goalies, Bobrovsky goes out on the ice each night and finds a way to steal games for one of the worst offensive teams in the league. GMs everywhere would love to have a goalie as talented and hardworking as Bobrovsky.

Rocket Richard Trophy (most goals):

Winner: Alex Ovechkin

It took him half of a season to start scoring again but now he is unstoppable. With 18 goals in his last 17 games, there is no way anyone can match Ovechkin’s pace for the remainder of the season.

Lady Bing Trophy (sportsmanship):

Winner: Patrick Kane

Finalists: Martin St. Louis, Patrice Bergeron

It’s hard to believe that in a sport where you can beat a man unconscious with your bare hands and only get a 5-minute timeout there is an award for sportsmanship. Well there is, and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks deserves it. This guy has gone from getting arrested–multiple times!–at college frat parties to playing more than 20 minutes a night for 41 games and only accumulating 6 penalty minutes. He might have not been a class act in past seasons, but Patrick Kane deserves some recognition for his cleanup.

Calder Trophy (rookie of the year):

Winner: Jonathan Huberdeau

Finalists: Brandon Saad, Cory Conacher

When you are a Florida Panthers fan there isn’t much to cheer about other than the fact you have Jonathan Huberdeau on your team. He is a rookie but plays like he has been in the league for years. In my eyes he beats out Saad and Conacher for the Rookie of the Year title because he is able to post impressive stats while playing on one of the worst teams in the league.

Jack Adams Trophy (best coach):

Winner: Paul McClain

Finalists: Bruce Boudreau, Michel Therrien

Paul McClain may have a walrus moustache but that doesn’t stop him from finding ways to get the Ottawa Senators to win games even without their starting goaltender, number one defenseman, and number one and three forwards. With all of the injuries that the Senators endured this season, it looks like they would be fighting to not finish last in the league, but by the coaching of Paul McClain and the resilience of the rest of the players, the Senators find themselves fighting for a playoff spot.

–Robert Powis, Staff Writer

Posted by on April 16, 2013. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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