Some morning thoughts…

16

…over an overpriced Starbucks coffee and muffin:

  • The Rangers need to avoid getting “lured into a track meet against the high-powered Thrashers”:http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070414/SPORTS01/704140374/1108.
  • I may have to start paying taxes in the state of Georgia. I’ve spent 10 of the last 12 days here, and it doesn’t look promising for me getting out tomorrow.
  • I mentioned that I had to vote for some end-of-the-year NHL awards. It’s a great honor, but I’m not sure they’re going to ask me to do it again. For one, I was three days late with my ballot. For another, I did it wrong the first time around. We have to pick several players for each award, but I did just one.

    Anyway, I eventually came through with my selections, which you can feel free to dispute(I’ll just give you the top ones):

    Hart Trophy (League MVP): Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

    Norris Trophy (top defenseman): Scott Niedermayer, Anaheim

    Calder Trophy (rookie of the year): Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh

    Lady Byng (sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct): Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit

    Selke Trophy (defensive forward): Samuel Pahlsson, Anaheim

    First-team, NHL All-Star: LW Alexander Ovechkin, C Crosby, RW Dany Heatley, D Lidstrom, D Niedermayer, G Martin Brodeur

    OK, puck drops at 3. I’ll have more pre-game.

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    16 Comments

    1. Sam – I like all your picks except for one. And I can’t bring myself to even type the letters of his name – it is the last name you wrote…

      Lets Go Rangers!!!

    2. I’d vote Luongo over Brodeur. Imagine Luongo (who started all 41 home games) had the Devils in front of him? He wouldn’t give up more than a goal a game ever.

    3. “Niedermayer? what about your boy Malik? hahaha.”

      Malik: +32 this season.
      Niedermayer: +6.

    4. Enjoy the game folks. I’ll be stuck watching the damned Sens-Pens game on NBC, since I am out of the NYC area.

    5. Hart Trophy (League MVP): Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh

      Norris Trophy (top defenseman): Niklas Lidstrom, Detroit

      Vezina trophy (best goalie) : Robert Luongo, Vancouver

      Calder Trophy (rookie of the year): Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh

      Lady Byng (sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct): Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit

      Selke Trophy (defensive forward): Samuel Pahlsson, Anaheim

      First-team, NHL All-Star: LW Alexander Ovechkin, C Crosby, RW Joe Thornton, D Lidstrom, S Souray, G Robert Luongo

    6. Lidstrom is almost a self-evident Norris pick over Niedermayer and any other player this year.

      Niedermayer had the benefit of sharing the blue-line with Pronger, who is arguably in his prime, while Lidstrom had no similar back-up defenseman. Sure, Franzen, Schneider, Lilja, Kronwall, and Chelios are a solid defensive unit, but the Niedermayer-Pronger combination was the strongest defensive duo in the NHL this season, and Niedermayer benefited disproportionately because of it.

      I’m not sure how Niedermayer significantly outweighs Lidstrom in the statistical category. Lidstrom was +40, had 62 points (13 goals) and 46 PIM in 80 games. Niedermayer was +6, had 69 points (15 goals), and 86 PIM in 79 games. So essentially Niedermayer scored a mere 7 points. In doing so he accumulated nearly double the PIM and had a +/- that one could divine into Lidstrom’s nearly 7 times.

      Aside from Niedermayer, only Pronger truly warrants consideration for the trophy. He had a stellar year. Unfortunately, his injury brought him down to 66 games, a fact which highlights Pronger’s susceptibility and lack of sustainability. Lidstrom is the veritable definition of consistence and sustainability.

      Gonchar, Souray, and Boyle are all excellent defenseman. Their +/- stats, however (-5, -28, -5, respectively) truly illustrate that they struggle to position as well as Lidstrom. I hardly consider their single-digit point superiority to Lidstrom as indicating superiority, or even equality.

      I understand Lidstrom has won 4 of the last 5 Norris Trophies, and he therefore is not a “vogue” choice. Nonetheless, his superlative performance–which has continued into the playoffs (6 GP, 8 points, +2, 2 PIM)–outstripped every other defenseman this season. He’s the epitome of the smart, steady defenseman who has mastered ice-positioning, and thus should hoist the Norris this year. No one else really came close.

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