Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dats Steals Another Selke, Jimmy Gets No Love in Las Vegas

The NHL Awards have once again come and gone, and while some things change, many things stayed the same when the names were announced for the winners of the prestigious trophies. Pavel Datsyuk was up for two awards: the Lady Byng for most gentlemanly player, as well as the Frank J. Selke trophy for best defensive forward, a nomination he shared with fellow Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg. Another Detroit player, goaltender Jimmy Howard, was nominated for the Calder trophy for rookie of the year.

And so...on to the results:

Byng: While Dats has reigned over this award for many years, I've found that Pavel has been trying to shake the image that stereotypically haunts winners of the award. He's been much more physical in his game in recent years, and has developed a nice tendency to not take shit from anyone anymore. It was no surprise to me that Datsyuk's Byng-streak was brought to an end this year by Martin St. Louis. All in all: No big loss for me.

Selke: Come on, a Red Wing was winning this award and everyone knew it. Even if Datsyuk, who won the trophy, hadn't been selected then his teammate Hank would have been the shoe-in. These two are the core of Detroit's two-way system: Without Dats' constant puck-thievery and Zetterberg's amazing defensive awareness, the Wings D-Corps would find themselves severely overworked by opposition forces. All in all? I'm glad it was my man Dats, nothing against Hank but that kind of constant robbery deserves the recognition.

Calder: ...I have trouble finding words to say about how this went down. Jimmy Howard, the rookie EVERYONE--not just Wings fans--talked about, the rookie who stepped in when we had no other options left in the crease, the ROOKIE who CARRIED DETROIT TO THE PLAYOFFS with a phenomenal statline...was beaten by a shot-blocking defenseman on a team that may as well have missed the playoffs. Yes, Tyler Myers of the Sabres took the Calder from Jimmy, and much to everyone's surprise (I'm sure), I'm a bit miffed about it!! How do you snub the efforts of a rookie goaltender who had to put his whole team on his shoulders while putting out such good numbers so as to turn doubts about even MAKING post-season into a belief that the Wings could make something of these Playoffs?
I can't fathom it. Regardless of the accomplishments, neither Duchene or Myers acted as the lynch-pin for their team's playoff appearance. Take away either player and both their respective teams still have a shot at the Cup. Without Jimmy, I'm convinced that our fears would've been realized: Detroit would not have made the playoffs.
But I think there's an underlying reason as to why Jimmy didn't win the Calder that no one in the NHL will want to talk about: Dig out the tinfoil hats, but I don't believe that the league was ready to give the Calder to a player who just barely met the requirements of a rookie. If memory serves, this was the last year in which Jimmy Howard could be considered a rookie due to his age. I feel the NHL wanted to give the award to one of the other rookies based on the fact that they're younger and fit the rookie description better than Howard in their eyes. All in all? Disgusted. Jimmy put together what will be one of his best seasons on the last year he can qualify for the ONLY trophy you get just one chance at winning...and we got shafted again by a Jackman-knockoff.

Makes me glad I didn't stay home to watch it live.