In Las Vegas, on June 20, 2012 the newest NHL awardees will be crowned. Various trophies will be awarded to both players and coaches throughout the league. Although there is still a decent amount of hockey left before June, here are some of my predictions for who could be winning the prestigious James Norris Memorial Trophy (for greatest all-around defenseman) and why.
- Last years winner: Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings)- Could Lidstrom win again? Probably not. I would argue that this was not Lidstrom’s year. Although he is always a solid defenseman, and one of the best to play the game, I don’t think he will take it this year (although its never wise to count him out, he has won it 7 times). He is getting older and with an injury to his right ankle, Lidstrom missed 11 games in a row in March. This has given him a solid set back to winning the title for the second year in a row.Other defenseman are making more of a splash this year with their power and offensive-strength. Here is one of Lidstrom’s better plays from earlier this year:
- Front-runner: Shea Weber (Nashville Predators). Benefits of Weber: He is on track for career-best offensive numbers (only two points away from his final regular season point total from last year when he was the runner-up for the Norris). Weber is a major leader for the Predators team as Captain. He is also highest scoring defenseman on the Preds and plays a solid average of 25 minutes of ice-time per game. And we all know Weber has a ridiculous slap shot (we saw just how fast during the NHL All-star Skills Competition when he shot over 104 miles per hour and gave Chara a run for his money).
- Front runner: Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators). On the other hand, Karlsson is having a break out year. Karlsson has already surpassed his point totals from last season, and has the 2nd highest point total on the Senators. He is young and is proving that he might be the d-man to watch for in upcoming years. Although Karlsson’s +/- isn’t quite as good as Lidstrom or Weber, he is still a serious contender because of his point totals. Karlsson is currently sitting at a staggering 73 points.To put this in perspective: when looking at point totals this season, Karlsson is the only defenseman in the top 80. This is even more impressive because Karlsson is number 11 (right in between Jordan Eberle and Henrik Sedin). Even though Karlsson has all those points, Weber still has a good chance of coming away with the win. Being a goal-scorer doesn’t necessarily win you the Norris. Here is a nice set-up for a Spezza goal made by Karlsson earlier this season:
- Other potential candidates: Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins), Ryan Suter (Nashville Predators)
Agree/disagree? Anyone think Letang has a chance even though he was out with injuries for so long?
The other two teams with major 3rd period comeback wins on 1/31/12 were the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The black and yellow really seemed to be rocking the 3rd period last night!
The Bruins had a strong scoring streak near the end of the game to make them victorious against the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins started off strong with the first goal of the game (A power-play goal courtesy of Chara’s monster slapper from the blue line). The end of the 1st and the 2nd didn’t go as well for Boston. They were trailing 3-1 until the last minute of the 2nd when they started to make their comeback. Their last goal was scored with 12:51 left in the 3rd period to make the game 4-3 which ended up being the final.
Highlights from the Bruins game:
The Penguins game was equally exciting with Pittsburgh coming back from a 4-1 deficit in the 3rd period. The game ended in a tie at 4-4. This tie was made when Center Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins 4th goal with 0.6 seconds left in regulation. OT went scoreless and Malkin was the only one to score in the shootout to gain the Pittsburgh win. Many Toronto fans were very angry with the outcome of this game because of a re-called goal from the first two minutes of play. Officials said Lupul was penalized for goaltender interference- and I have to say, I did not see what the officials saw.
Check that out here:
Pens/Leafs Highlights, Goaltender Interference Call
Do you think the Pens deserved that win against the Leafs? Is Malkin getting enough credit from the news and the NHL for what he is doing for Pittsburgh? Does anyone see the supposed goaltender interference?
Let me know in the comments!
This weekend was a weekend of superstars. The All-Star Game and Super Skills competitions took place in Ottawa, Team Chara pulled out a third-period win on Team Alfredsson, and Sidney Crosby came back into the spotlight. But regardless of the All-Star festivities (and Chara’s new record for the hardest slapshot of all time), Crosby’s news was the most shocking.
Yesterday it was reported that a spine-specialist from California diagnosed Crosby with a previously hidden neck injury (fractured C1 and C2). Even though it is said to be healed, this was the first time Crosby and worried Pittsburgh fans heard anything about vertebrate injuries in addition to Crosby’s 11-month+ concussion symptoms. This is shocking for a couple of reasons.
Crosby is being seen by the best doctors in the world. He has seen numerous specialists from all over the US and it took 11 months for doctors to see a neck injury? The NHL is saying how they are really assessing players for their concussions, but apparently they are not having doctors do MRIs and CAT scans on players heads and necks?
Pittsburgh fans have been very persistent in pushing for information on their captain’s health condition for the last year. A #Crosbywatch started on twitter a while ago, and numerous statements have been released by doctors, coaches, and Sid himself. One of the memorable early conversations about Sid’s concussion was when Doctor Michael Collins referred to Crosby as a Ferrari (You don’t want your ferrari with the best features running like a cheap old car) and said the concussion wasn’t the Boogeyman. But, if the concussion isn’t the boogeyman, maybe his neck injury is. It hid and terrorized Crosby and the city of Pittsburgh for 11 months- and now it is mysterious and no one knows what it means for the future. Is a neck-injury prone to re-injury like a concussion? Even though it is supposedly healed, are there ramifications for Crosby not properly treating it for the last 11 months?
The only thing to do is keep an eye on #Crosbywatch and see what doctors say for the future. Just make sure to take everything they say with a grain of salt!