The NHL hits the Vegas strip tonite as the league hands out its hardware. Who wins??? Heres my take....
Hart Trophy for MVP: This is a no-brainer. He is the best player in the NHL and he is the face of the league. He is Alexandre Ovechkin and he will win the award for the second year in a row.
Calder Trophy-Top Rookie: Three very good candidates here in Kris Versteeg, Bobby Ryan and Steve Mason. I lean towards the Columbus goalie, who also had stats that were good enough to compete for the Vezina. Mason led the NHL in shutouts and he was one of the big reasons why Columbus got to the playoffs for the first time.
Norris Trophy-Top D'Man: This is the toughest one to call as Zdeno Chara, Mike Green and Nick Lidstrom are your finalists. I still don't think there is a better all around blueliner in this league than the Detroit captain. I take him.
Vezina Trophy-Top Goalie: Another tough choice as the three finalists are Mason, Boston's Tim Thomas and Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom. While Mason arguably had the best numbers, Thomas was on the best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. The question is do you take a guy because of where his team finished or because of the numbers he put up. Chances are it will go to the guy whose team finished better so go with Thomas.
Jack Adams Trophy-Top Coach: Todd McLellan would have won this award hands down at Christmas time, but the Sharks struggled in the 2nd half as they were right around 500. Because of that, I will take Boston's Claude Julien although really I think the best coach was Joel Quenneville in Chicago and he didn't make it to the final three.
Selke award-Top Defensive Forward: Mike Richards, Pavel Datsyuk or Ryan Kesler. I don't think there's a better shutdown forward when healthy than Richards. Its because of that that I think he makes the Olympic team in 2010. However, I think when the final vote comes in it will go to Datsyuk.
Lady Byng -Most Sportsmanlike: Tampa's Marty St. Louis had just 14 penalty minutes this season. 14??? That's seven minor penalties in 82 games. Start engraving the trophy with his name.
Lester B Pearson Award--Players MVP: I would have to say Ovechkin here again for the reasons stated above.
Does Don Cherry show up at the NHL awards??? If he does, one can only imagine what he will wear amongst the glitz and glamour of Vegas!!