Just asking –
Is it possible to be a Hart trophy winning goaltender without winning the Vezina Trophy? There are a number of goaltenders who have had outstanding seasons and are deserving of Vezina Trophy recognition. We can start with Tim Thomas. Add Henrik Lundqvist and of course Carey Price. How about that Crawford kid who was so good Tuesday night for the Blackhawks? Thomas will probably and deservedly get the nod. But the Hart? Has there been a more valuable player to his team than Carey Price.? Without him….. no playoffs and, all things considered, perhaps we”d be looking at a lottery pick in this June’s draft.
…..It’s often said “It’s not the way you start, but the way you finish that’s gets attention.” If true, in a normal year, P.K. Subban should be a finalist for the Calder Trophy. Hard to ignore a current three game goalscoring streak (including his second overtime game-winner of the season) and seven goals his last nine games. But this has been a banner year for rookies and P.K.’s not likely to get a sniff. Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, Tyler Ennis, Taylor Hall, even two other defenseman, John Carlson of the Capitals and the Coyotes Keith Yandle have upstaged P.K. We all are in favour of our own but P.K. has the misfortune of being part of a bumper rookie crop.
…..While we’re on the subject.
What about Jacques Martin as Coach of the Year? Georges Laraque may disagree, and Martin may not be the most dynamic guy in the NHL coaching ranks, but getting a team to keep it’s eye on the prize while playing almost an entire season without Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges and an additional long stretch without Jaroslav Spacek has to be worth something. The most-mentioned candidate is Dan Bylsma of Pittsburgh, for the very reasons that we mention Martin; his ability to keep his team in focus through the devastating injuries to Sydney Crosby and Evgeni Maklin. Also getting some inke are Alain Vigneault, Barry Trotz, Guy Boucher and Bruce Boudreau. Nowhere do I see Martin. In my mind he should at least be on the list, but like the Price and Subban examples, nothing will be made of his candidacy outside the Quebec borders.
….Sometimes the NHL does have a sense of perspective. The NHL got it exactly right in dealing with Chicago backup goaltender Marty Turco and his five dollar bet with a fan at the Canadiens game Tuesday night. You’ve probably heard all about it. After the Canadiens scored the opening goal of the game, Canadiens fan Robert Walter bet Turco five dollars that the Hawks wouldn’t get a goal. Just over three minutes later, Patrick Kane scored. Walter handed Turco a five dollar bill with the words “Habs Rule” written on it. When the Canadiens won the game, Turco handed the bill back with “Turco Rules” on it. There is a rule about gambling in the NHL that dates back to the 1948 Taylor/Gallinger affair. There were those calling for enforcement, or speculating that the league would over react. No way. League executive Bill Daly e-mailed the Chicago Tribune “No investigation. No action.” Case closed. Chicago Breaking Sports has a followup story.
One of those players was defenseman Adam Foote. After the final retirement of Peter Forsberg earlier this season, Foote was the last remaining active NHL player who played in the final Nordiques game at the Colisee in the spring of 1995. Today, Foote announced his retirement after nineteen years in the NHL, the first five of them with the Nordiques. Coincidentally, a contingent of more than two thousand fans will attend Sunday’s Devils-Bruins in Newark as a show of support for a return of NHL hockey to Quebec City. Whether it leads to anything positive remains to be seen.