Winner: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh
Runners-up: Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim; Alex Ovechkin, RW, Washington
Comment: It’s no surprise that a healthy Crosby is in position to win the award as the league’s Most Valuable Player, because he’s 14 points up in the scoring race and playing at the level to which we’ve become accustomed, when he’s in the lineup. This year, he hasn’t missed a game, and that is the biggest reason that Crosby at the forefront of the MVP discussion.
Winner: Duncan Keith, Chicago
Runners-up: Erik Karlsson, Ottawa; Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay
Comment: This season hasn’t been all that different from Keith’s 2010 Norris Trophy-winning campaign. He’s played his typically strong two-way game, though he is down more than three minutes per game compared to his peak playing time, and has added more offence this season, scoring at the second-best rate of his carerr (0.79 points per game).
Winner: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay
Runners-up: Tuuka Rask, Boston; Semyon Varlamov, Colorado
Comment: As a 27-year-old who had played 45 career games coming into this season, Bishop has been a major surprise, a rock for a Lightning team that has maintained its playoff position despite missing Steven Stamkos for a couple of months.
Winner: Nathan Mackinnon, C, Colorado
Runners-up: Tyler Johnson, C, Tampa Bay; Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh
Comment: Having set the record for the longest point streak by an 18-year-old rookie, MacKinnon is already looking like the kind of game-breaking skilled forward that teams hope to get with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Nothing like having a great pedigree and living up to it.
Winner: Patrice Bergeron, Boston
Runners-up: David Backes, St. Louis; Jonathan Tows, Chicago
Comment: This isn’t an easy award to hand out, though there are some consistent performers that tend to be in consideration year after year. Here’s a list of centres that face a decent level of competition yet still have strong possession stats. In addition to Bergeron, Backes and Toews, who have been at the top of my lists for past couple seasons at least, Kopitar, Landeskog and Steen are first-rate two-way performers that warrant attention.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Winner: Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim
Runners-up: Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis; Jon Cooper, Tampa Bay.
Comment: It can be difficult to gauge exactly what a coach’s role is in a team’s performance, so there is some guess work involved here. One of the factors I try to take out of the equation, or at least minimize in importance, is goaltending, because great goaltending can mask all manner of shortcomings.
Anyway, we are not sure that Bruce Boudreau has done anything revolutionary with the Ducks that allows them to score on such a high percentage of their shots, but getting strong contributions from so many throughout the lineup has to be considered in some way a reflection of Boudreau’s approach. Oh, yeah, the Ducks are also first place in the standings, so he has that working for him too.