Archive for the ‘NHL Awards’ Category

Hardware Hopeful

March 29, 2011

tim thomas vezina 2011

Now that the regular season is actually nearing the end, (rather than one week old when some people started handing out trophies) talk and predictions of post-season awards seems to be the Soup Du Jour on a lot of news sites and blogs today. Far be it from me to ignore a passing bandwagon.

From a Bruins perspective, the news centers around Tim Thomas, the current leader in GAA and Saves Percentage amongst NHL goaltenders, and his hopes for a second Vezina Trophy. Jesse Connolly at the Black and Gold Blog makes a great case as to why Thomas should win it. I agree completely. Aside from a brief dip in numbers due, likely, to fatigue, The Tank has lead the race from wire to wire and is most deserving.

The best line on the subject, however, comes from Down Goes Brown is an article entitled Handicapping The NHL Awards Race. On Timmy’s Vezina chances:

Tim Thomas – Has a fantastic goals against average thanks to not actually facing a shot on net ever since Zdeno Chara started standing at the blue line during pregame warm ups, pointing to the stanchion and cracking his knuckles.

DGB may be locked into some repetetive fare of late but you have to admit that one is spit your coffee on the keyboard level funny.

Meanwhile, TSN has an excellent article on rookie impact and you realize what a great year it’s been for freshmen in the NHL and just how tight a race the Calder might be this season. Three worthy goaltenders, Corey Crawford, Sergei Bobrovsky and James Reimer, and three potential 30-goal scorers, Michael Grabner, Logan Couture and Jeff Skinner (if he can pot a couple more) amongst eligible rookies is quite the bumber crop.

Hart Trophy talk seems to center around the usual candidates at the top of the scoring stats column, and another Sedin twin. I tend to dislike the notion of just handing the award to the gent with the most points. I prefer the classic definition of the award being an MVP award, most valuable to your team’s success. A player on a winning, playoff-bound team without whom the club would not be anywhere near as good. A player they could not live without. In the case of the Canucks, not only are there other players who have contributed mightily like Roberto Luongo and Ryan Kesler, but one them is an exact duplicate of Daniel Sedin.

To me, the one player who exemplifies that definition most clearly is the man we started this post talking about: Tim Thomas. Without him the Boston Bruins might be barely hanging on to an eighth place playoff spot if any. Anyone who has watched the team game in and game out will understand my thinking on this. Thomas has literally, at times, saved the Bruins’ season. In fact, the same might be said for Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, to a slightly lesser extent.

So, there you go. Call me a homer but Tim Thomas for the Vezina and the Hart.

For your consideration.


The HGW Awards

June 23, 2010

The NHL is handing out it’s Awards for the 2009-10 season tonight in Las Vegas so we thought it was time to give out our own much coveted statues in slightly different categories than those the league traditionally celebrates.

Without further ado, the 2010 HGW Awards:

The Stan Jonathan Trophy – Or, as some call it, Fight of the Year. Technically, I’ve already awarded this one but it’s so frickin’ good it needs mentioning again. It was an easy choice for me this year. This marathon bout between Cam Janssen of the Blues and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond of the Devils on March 20th is just a test of will and stamina unlike any you’ve seen since Darren Langdon left the league. has another bout featuring Janssen, this time vs. Rick Rypien, as their highest rated but I think it’s a close runner up to the one with PL3.

The Heimlich AwardBoston Bruins. We give this to them now in the hopes that, should they ever be up 3-0 in a playoff series or up 3-0 in a game seven again, they can put the explicit instruction manual that comes with this award to good use. Sometimes a balled up fist in the right spot can help avoid a lot of pain, misery and embarrassment. Nuff said.

Freakiest Playoff BeardVille Leino. That thing was just odd, wasn’t it? Sort of jutted out at a right angle from his jaw like Jay Leno had injected steroids directly into his own face then had beaver fur grafted onto his chin. Okay, so that description is a bit needlessly visceral, but you look that the thing and be the judge.

ville leino beard

Blog Rip of the Year Award – This one is a tie, simply because both are a) exquisite and b) tear down the snobbery of certain north of the border fans better than I could on by best effin’ day. I give you:

    Down Goes Brown’s (via Puck Daddy) Eulogy for the Montreal Canadiens.

    Derek Zona on From The Rink with The Worst Hockey Fans In Canada.

Both worth re-reading when you need a proper chuckle.

The Jamie Huscroft Humanitarian Award – The Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Here’s to Brian Burke and the Leafs not only sacrificing the entire future of the organization to give a home to troubled youngster Phil Kessel but, in the process, giving the abused fans of the Boston Bruins a little something called Hope with that 2nd overall pick in the 2010 draft. I don’t care what everybody says about you guys, you’re good people and your heart is in the right place. Can’t speak for the head, of course.

Greg Lougainis Memorial TrophyMaxim Lapierre. For the fifth year running, good old “Diver Down” Lappy gets his name inscribed on this one. To save money we’ve gone and ordered the next nine in bulk, done with his name on them, too, as well as the future Lifetime Achievement in Diving Award we’ll be handing out in 2021. The guy has it fucking sewn up.

And, of course, the most coveted of all the HGW honors. It’s the…

Hero of HGW Award

This year’s winner…

Evander Kane.

You all know why.

All winners will receive a Golden Statue of a man in a Fur Hat and Sunglasses as well as an all expenses paid (well, beer and bait, anyway) trip to Hooksett, New Hampshire for a weekend of fishing and late night Scene It. Wives or girlfriends not allowed unless it’s Henrik Zetterberg territory.

By the way, I’m wide open for any suggestions if any of you might have for an HGW Award winner or category I may have forgotten. Send ’em to me or post ’em in the comments and I’ll make sure they find their way into the mix.

President Cam

June 15, 2010

Cam Neely Bruins President

The Boston Bruins have announced a 2 p.m. press conference for tomorrow at the TD Garden, reportedly to announce that Cam Neely will be promoted from Vice President to Team President, a title and position that would put him above Peter Chiarelli in the chain of command.

An interesting development indeed. Cam would now fill the role previously held by Harry Sinden and, seemingly, have a greater authority to put his own stamp on the team’s personality. Fans everywhere who hold the Spoked B close to their hearts are hoping that personality will be the one he displayed as a player for the team, one of ferocious competitiveness and unyielding toughness.

Easier said than done in the Salary Cap age. Having already announced they will not be buying out any contracts this off season, Chiarelli and Co. remain saddled with some unpleasant contracts (Michael Ryder, will you please report to the departure lounge) that may hamper any drastic change in the team for the upcoming season. It’s going to be hard to change team dynamics if the majority of last year’s erratic, dysfunctional crew are going to still be hanging around.

However, if they say a fish rots from the head down, then the opposite must be true, as well. Real change must start at the top and putting a person with Cam Neely’s temperament, drive and desire to make wearing Black and Gold a matter of pride and honor once again must be a good thing. Proper leadership and accountability in the right position might just make the difference.

Key dates for the Bruins and the NHL going forward in the off-season:

  • June 23rd – The NHL Awards Show takes place in Las Vegas. No Bruin has been nominated for anything.
  • June 25th – The 2010 NHL Entry Draft in Los Angeles. All eyes will be on the Edmonton OIilers and the B’s, as well as prized prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. Which one will end up where? Will there be any major trades to report? This year’s draft has the potential to be a blockbuster in terms of interest and action and anticipation. More to come on that front, trust me.
  • July 1stFree Agency begins. If the Bruins have not signed Johnny Boychuk by this time, chances are he will be gone. He’s been listed as one of the top 10 guys available this year and will likely get a lot of interest based on his age and improved play this past season.
  • Patrice Bergeron: Selke Award Candidate

    December 4, 2009
    Patrice Bergeron

    Patrice Bergeron has been the best Bruin this season, at both ends of the ice.

    I know it’s early but I wanted to be the first one to say it. Hopefully I won’t be the last, especially when the 2009-10 NHL Season is closer to it’s conclusion than it is right now.

    Patrice Bergeron is a Selke Award candidate.

    There is no doubt in my mind that this is the case right now following his outstanding performance Wednesday night at home against the Lightning and going into tonight’s contest in Montreal. To this point in the year he has displayed all the qualities one would attribute to a Selke candidate as witnessed against Tampa Bay where he had a goal and two assists, shut down the opponents best offensive line and was 14 out of 19 in the faceoff circle. These are the things that win games, folks, and Bergeron is doing them night in and night out.

    We need to look at the larger picture, of course, to make the case that he should win it for real. The season is barely past the quarter mark but it’s enough of a sampling to make a serious argument for his legitimate contention for the award.

    First off, the Bruin’s defense and penalty killing has been stellar for the past two years and Bergeron has been a key element. Each night he matches up against the opponent’s best line and it’s a rare occasion that those stars get a chance to shine, especially the center lined up across from him. It’s a difficult assignment but Patrice does it well and the fact that the B’s goaltending tandem of Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez won the Jennings Trophy last season and Thomas also took home the Vezina is directly attributable to some stellar defense in front of them. Granted, Zdeno Chara is a huge factor in that but so is the B’s team defense, of which Bergeron is a gigantic part.

    He’s a leader on the team’s penalty kill, as well, where the Bruins have now worked themselves into second place in the league at 85.4 %. In that respect, he is a leader on the ice with exactly the sort of hockey smarts, positioning and hard work that make for effective penalty killing. If the B’s are killing a 5 on 3, guess who’s out there on the ice?

    He also takes every important defensive zone face-off for the team. His total wins in that area and his percentage have been phenomenal where he has ranked amongst the top forwards in the league all season. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue.

    And, guess what, he leads the team in scoring with 8-13-21 totals through the first 27 games of the season. Solid totals that probably won’t measure up to the gaudy numbers put up by last year’s winner, Pavel Datsyuk, but offensive numbers should never be the focus of a Selke winner. Certainly Bob Gainey never scored 100 points. Regardless, Bergeron’s numbers are respectable and that carries weight with voters as we all know. His +/- might not be that impressive but that should improve as the team’s fortunes have done of late.

    Bergeron has consistently shown superior hockey intelligence and has become a forward that Claude Julien relies heavily upon in all situations but especially in the defensive zone and has risen to the challenge and them some, working himself into one of the most proficient and reliable defensive/offensive forwards in the NHL. What more do you want from a Selke candidate?

    Let the Campaign begin.

    Steve Mason, Tim Thomas and Some Other Guy Up for the Vezina

    April 27, 2009
    Columbus goaltender Steve Mason

    Columbus goaltender Steve Mason

    Good news for Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins fans: your goalies are up for the Georges Vezina Award. Columbus goaltender Steve Mason and Boston’s Tim Thomas share the nomination with Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom for the award named after the late Montreal Goaltender. This is the second honor for Mason who is also up for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. Mason is the fifth goaltender to be nominated for both the Calder and the Vezina. Should he win, he joins the likes of Ed Belfour, Tom Barrasso, and Tony Esposito. Bruins goalie Frankie Brimsek was the first to win both in 1939.

    While we here at Hockey Gone Wild are hardcore hard-nosed aficanados, guys like Ken and myself know that our teams wouldn’t have made it to the playoffs with some solid backstopping.

    Good luck to Mason and Thomas. May the best goalie win.