WORLDWIDE LEADER IN SPORTS
NHL MID-SEASON AWARDS
Its that time of year again in the National Hockey League – the midseason, and so far, there has been no shortage of surprises. Although there are still many changes to be made to the end of year standings, we’ve compiled our projections for the end of year awards. The Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets failed to rise to the expectations that were established after their successful seasons last year. The Flames are playoff contenders, and the Panthers’ supporters in Florida have once again shown us their lack of interest in Canada’s most popular game. With breakout rookies and slumping veterans, here are my midseason awards.
This was an easy decision. The numbers clearly told me that Pekka Rinne is the league’s top goaltender. Leading in every goaltending category, there is no one who is even close to robbing him of this award. Nashville had always been known for their defense, and Rinne is the person who has solidified this reputation. The Predators are extremely dangerous this season, and I think they will get far in the Playoffs.
Without a doubt, my top three choices for the Hart Trophy – the NHL’s most Valuable Player Award – are Steven Stamkos, Vladimir Tarasenko and Sidney Crosby. After a while of thought, I decided on breakout rookie Tarasenko. Stamkos’ +/- wasn’t very high, and Sidney Crosby is so injury prone that Pittsburgh has learned not to rely on him. Tarasenko has a high +/-, lots of points and is very young. He is exciting to watch and can make game changing plays. He is leading the Blues in scoring by a margin of six points, an impressive feat. Tarasenko is an MVP caliber player, and perhaps the next Russian Rocket.
One big difference I found between the NHL and the NFL is the calibre of the rookies. In the NFL, there are more draft busts than the NHL by far. All top scorers and point leaders in the National Hockey League are early round picks, while many undrafted players in the NFL dominate. (e.g Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Richard Sherman) Many first round rookies in the National Hockey League have impressed me this season, but Fillip Forsberg has really stood out for me. He is currently the leader in +/- and a big part of this Nashville offense. Working with dangerous veterans James Neal, Mike Riberio and Olli Jokinen, Forsberg is playing to a high standard – leading the Predators back to the pinnacle they reached three seasons ago.
General Manager of the Year
The Canucks were 25th in league rankings last year, and Mr. Aquilini executed all the front office members and replaced them with Canuck heroes, including our old captain Trevor Linden. He hired another Vancouver Canuck hero: Jim Benning. By now, you should’ve guessed that this award will go to Jim Benning. This was a tough decision also. I chose teams that were down in the dumps last season and turned it around to have successful seasons. My other two nominations were the New York Islanders and Calgary Flames, but they didn’t make enough changes to their roster and team to be back on the road to the Cup. The Canucks, however, hit the reset button and began building their team from scratch. They needed more offense, so Benning signed Vrbrata and traded kesler for Bonino.(who is younger and better) They needed better goaltending, so Benning brought in Ryan Miller. The Nucks also needed to toughen up the team, because they were getting slammed by opposing players left and right, so Benning added big, physical Derek Dorsett to the roster. The future of team is also bright, as Benning drafted elite rookies including Jake Virtanen, Jared McCann and the top rated goalie in Minor and College Hockey, Thatcher Demko. Benning is a workhorse, and he is working really hard to bring back our Northwest Empire. I think he deserves some credit.
THANK YOU FOR READING WPGSN, AND HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS