Friday, April 11, 2008

07-08 NHL Regular Season Awards And Recap

With the playoffs underway I thought I would take one last look back at the regular season that was, and hand out a few awards along the way. So without further delay...

MVP - Evgeni Malkin (PIT) - Most people out there are all too eager to hand the MVP award to Alex Ovechkin this season, but I'm not buying in to that argument. Malkin is the guy for me. Geno is the total package for the Penguins. He is nearly impossible to knock off the puck, is a juggernaut through the neutral zone, and is very underrated in the defensive end. Malkin is also much more of a playmaker and makes those around him much better, just ask Ryan Malone and Petr Sykora (see below). On top of all of this, Malkin finished just 6 points behind Ovechkin in the scoring race and never went more than 2 games without a point over the entire season. All of that adds up to NHL MVP in my book.
Runner-up - Jarome Iginla (CGY)

Defenseman of the Year - Dion Phaneuf (CGY)
- Dion Phaneuf had offensive numbers similar to many of the other top defensemen in the NHL this season. What gives him the edge here is the level of physicality Phaneuf brings to the ice on a nightly basis. Phaneuf is well on his way to being the top blue liner in the NHL for years to come and should start building a nice sized Norris trophy collection real soon.
Runner-up - Sergei Gonchar (PIT)

of the Year - Evgeni Nabokov (SJ) - Evgeni Nabokov was handed the starting role in San Jose when the Sharks traded Vesa Toskala to Toronto and he did not disappoint. Nabokov started an astounding 77 games and led the league in wins with 46 and tied for third in Goals Against. Those numbers are especially strong when you consider that Nabokov played with little margin for error as the Sharks were so bad offensively for most of the season. To put this in perspective a bit, in only 3 of Nabokov's losses did the Sharks manage to give him more than 2 goals to work with.
Runner-up - Martin Brodeur (NJ)

of the Year - Carey Price (MON) - There was another strong class of rookies in the NHL this season, but none had more of a positive impact on their team than Carey Price. Price was dropped right into the proverbial fire in Montreal and only had the pressure on his shoulders increase when the Habs traded veteran Cristobal Huet to Washington at the deadline. All Price did to respond was lead the Canadiens to the top of the Eastern Conference. By comparison, highly touted rookies Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews could not even get the Blackhawks into the playoffs.
Runners-up - Peter Mueller (PHX) and Tobias Enstrom (ATL)

of the Year - Joel Quenneville (COL) - Few coaches had as much to deal with this season as Joel Quenneville did for the Avalanche. Expectations were high for the Avalanche after they made a big splash in the free agent market during the offseason. Things went downhill pretty quickly for the Avs thanks to a rash of injuries, but Quenneville kept hope alive in Colorado until they could get healthy. On top of that Quenneville had to handle inconsistent goaltending for much of the season and mixing in some new (yet familiar) faces at the trade deadline. Quenneville overcame all of these challenges and more while leading the Avalanche to the 6th seed in the Western Conference. Quite a performance from the very underrated head coach.
Runner-up - Barry Trotz (NSH)

Line of the Year - Malone/Malkin/Sykora (PIT)
- Michel Therrien put this line together full time after Sidney Crosby went down with a high ankle sprain and the results were as impressive as they were instant. The "Syko MaMa" line was a dominant force in the NHL in 2008 as all three players tormented opposing defenses with their combination of skill and power.
Runner-up - Heatley/Spezza/Alfredsson (OTT)

Goal of the Year -

Fight of the Year -

1 comment:

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