Now that we’ve handed out our Devils-specific awards, it’s time to turn our attention to the league-wide post-season awards. Here we offer our dazzling insight into who we think deserves the “official” NHL awards (and by “dazzling insight” we mean “ill-informed opinions”), as well as some thoughts about the awards the league should seriously consider regularly handing out (if they can have that dopey “Mark Messier Leadership Award”, is it too much to ask for an actual defenseman award?). Since we haven’t watched the Western Conference closely in, oh… say, 5 years, we’re a little limited on commenting on most of the awards (a quick getting-IPB-up-to-speed on the West went a little something like this: “So the Sharks are good, the Kings still suck — wait, there’s a team in Columbus?!? WTF?“), but we’ve never let ignorance get in our way before. Without further ado, here’s how we think the post-season love-fest should play-out.
Sid Crosby. No question. Sorry, Marty. He saved hockey. He saved our sanity. He saved Latin. What did you ever do? Oh, 12 shut-outs, tying* Parent’s* record*, your best season ever. Right. Well… We still say Sid. Even if it’s just to make up for not getting that Calder he so clearly deserved.
Martin Brodeur. There are those who say Roberto Luongo is deserving of this but those people eat puppies for fun. We’re not even going to bother looking his stats up (and yes, we know. They’re really, really good) because Marty deserves this trophy to make up for the fact that Jose Theodore, Olaf Kolzig and Jim Carey won it before he did. Oh, don’t remember Jim Carey? Take a few minutes to look him up. We can wait. See?!? So there you go, Marty gets the Vezina. If Luongo’s still playing this well in 10 years, then he can get the trophy. That’s how this works. Or at least, that’s how it worked for Marty.
Frank J. Selke Trophy
Jay Pandolfo. No, he won’t actually win this, but he should.
Lady Byng Trophy
Jay Pandolfo. This one he might actually win. And he’ll probably be like every other player in the NHL and have no interest whatsoever in winning the girly trophy (“Ew! It even says ‘Lady’ in the name!”). But you know what? This would be a pretty cool statement about what Pando’s accomplished over the last few seasons. What’s more, maybe the league could use this as a stepping-stone to recasting the Byng Trophy (it sounds much better when you drop that “Lady”, doesn’t it? Maybe they should rename it the “L. Byng Trophy” or the “Dude Byng”) to be something they give to hard-working, tough-yet-clean players who exemplify the ideals of a 21st-century NHL, rather than just to the highest-scoring, softest-hitting player in the league who didn’t qualify as one of the three Hart finalists.
We’ve read somewhere that there are some pretty decent defensemen in the Western Conference. We don’t believe that. So we’ll give this award to… Brad Lukowich. Because we can.
Evgeni “Ted”* Malkin. Sure we haven’t watched the Avalanche since Patrick Roy was in net, but this Stasny kid has only been good the second half of the season. Malkin’s been the real deal since day one. He’s a key reason why the Penguins have been vying for a division title, while the Avs were clawing their way into the bottom of the bracket out west (wait, there’s a team in Nashville? Where are these teams coming from?!?). As for the ridiculous talk of Jordan Staal for the Rookie of the Year, it’s just that ridiculous. Now, if someone were to suggest one Travis Zajac, that would make sense!
*Earlier this season Paul Steigerwald informed us that the Penguins call Malkin “Geno” because “they can’t say ‘Evgeni’”. We decided it would be much funnier if Sid just called him the first easy-to-say name (because “Evgeni” is so hard?) that popped into his head — Ted. And it’s stuck. So much that here at Interchangeable Parts we’re always sort of shocked that his nickname isn’t Ted. And that Colby Armstrong isn’t called “CheeseTed”. And that Mark Recchi isn’t called “OldTed”. Maybe we need to stop splitting bottles of wine between the two of us while watching weekend games.
Jack Adams Trophy
Heh heh… About our pick for the coach of the year… Heh. So out of fear of getting anyone else fired, we’ll just stay mum on this one.
Art Ross, Rocket Richard and Jennings Trophies
Why are these always included in people’s post-season award predictions? They’re statistical, folks. They don’t merit mention here.
And now Interchangeable Parts offers our suggestions for awards that would make the NHL better:
Rod Langway or Scottie Stevens Trophy
For the Best Defensive Defenseman. This is a given, right? They’re going to do this soon, right? We don’t care who they name it after, Langway or Stevens (since it will just be subtitled with whoever’s name isn’t on the trophy), just as long as they start awarding it. Or, if they must, invent a Phil Coffey trophy for Best Offensive Defenseman and give the Norris to defensive guys.
Marty Brodeur Trophy
For Underappreciated Excellence. This would be the “Oops! We Messed Up And Didn’t Give You Enough Awards During Your Storied Career That, When It Winds Down, Will Be Very Embarrassing To Us Considering How Many Losers Got The Awards You Should Have” Award. We weren’t joking earlier when we said Jose Theodore, Olaf Kolzig and Jim Carey all won Vezinas before Marty Brodeur did. And J.S. Giguere won the Conn Smythe in a year Marty set the post-season shutout record, and many of the voters for that trophy admitted they cast their ballots during the second intermission of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final and would have changed their votes if they’d known the Ducks weren’t going to get one by Marty. This is a travesty. And then you get your Steve Yzerman types, who retire without a Hart Trophy because they in no particular year deserved the MVP, but looking back on their careers it just looks wrong they never got anything. That’s who this award would be for.
Jay Pandolfo Trophy
For the league’s unsung hero. Every team has one, and every team’s fans love him. Why not celebrate this on league-wide level? This award would operate like the Masterton. Every team would nominate one player. A panel of distinguished hockey people (i.e. no one who voted for J.S. Gigurere for the Conn Smythe before Game 7 ended) would then decide who would win the coveted Pandolfo.