This always goes to a pillow-soft guy with gaudy offensive numbers, but this year, St. Nick Lidstrom can't win his 7th in 8 years, because he's going to finish with a +/- of basically even. Also if there's any justice in this fallen, degraded world, there's going to be no small Red Wing fatigue when it comes to handing trophies out, given the aforementioned 6 of the last 7 + his teammate Pavel Datsuyk's 3-or-is-it-4 straight Selke trophies (see below). Literally: Red Wing fatigue would be life's first indication that there is such a thing as justice.
Duncan Keith, Chris Pronger and Zdeno Chara are by 1.6 kilometers the league's most potent defensemen, but each labored for a team that suffered dramatic slumps, and my token attempt at research came up with this (italics mine):
to the defence player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position
So that means it's Kris Letang. He plays in all situations and his team managed to soldier on after losing the best player in the game (by .6 miles): Sidney Crosby.
Henrik Lundqvist. His numbers were almost identical to Roberto Luongo's, except in two areas: first, he played six more games last I checked; second, he put up 11 shutouts to Luongo's three. And I don't think anybody would argue that the team in front of Lundqvist is better than the one in front of Luongo. "Markedly inferior" is in fact the phrase that comes to mind--particularly when it comes to the backup goalie position: Luongo has a rookie who played brilliantly behind him whenever needed; Lundqvist had a competent veteran backup who got injured, and has now started something like 18 consecutive games during the season's most difficult and crucial stretch.
I excluded Tim Thomas simply because he didn't play enough games. Fucking great goalie, though. Honorable mention to Craig Anderson on the Senators.
Another bullshit award, this one is supposed to go to the "forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game", but every year it in fact goes to the highest scorer who once played on a checking line. The only question for me about that matter is should I scream "FEH" or "FAUGH"?
Whereas the actual best defensive forward in the game is probably Manny Malhotra or some poor faceless bastard toiling in Buffalo, I'm inclined to give the nod to the a Rangers forward, since that team plays some mammoth defense, without the major defensive advantage the Canucks have: the ability to dominate possession in the opponent's end, where it's tough for them to score. But they're all pretty interchangeable, and the Rangers already got an award, so...I'm not making a pick here.
Honorable Avs mention goes to "Radar" O'Reilly, who, at 20 years of age, gets trotted out there against the best offensive players the game has to offer and doesn't often get abused.
Lemaire. Not even a debate is possible on this matter. Without his team's best forward, with an aging goalie and a faceless crew of defensemen, he took the exact same roster another coach had led to 11-24-5 and coaxed them into a streak of 26-13-3, including a face-melting 11-1-1 in February.
For the longest time, I was sure I was going to have to give this to Logan Couture, who scored like 10 million clutch goals for the Sharks blah blah blah then I realized this is my post and my vote and that that kid Jeff Skinner? On the Hurricanes? Is a fantastic player. So Jeff Skinner.
I loathe the bagging-on-it that this award gets. In my mind/heart/soul--and in my blog posts--this isn't a punchline:
the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct
combined with a high standard of playing ability
I want to give the nod to Paul Stastny, but part of being a sportsman/gentleman is showing up all the time, and the guy just disappeared for long, long portions of the season. So, in most earnest thing anything on this site will ever see, probably, I say Milan Hejduk who tied a franchise record with his 11th consecutive season of 20 goals, many of which seemed to come in 4-1 trouncings where the Duke was the only Av to show up.
Honorable Avs mention goes to Cody McLeod, because another part of being a sportsman/gentleman is sticking up for your teammates and trying like a bastard to fire them up and get a win.
For "perserverence, sportsmanship and dedication". You know what? I'm giving this one to myself for sticking with a team that can't win a fucking game slash an organization that won't spend a buck.
I thought about giving it to a fan who actually displays sportsmanship--i.e., doesn't pile on every time something goes pear-shaped--but I'm tired of being nice. Fuck it. Chris Collision gets the Masterson.
Then there's a raft of service-to-the-game awards. Lester Patrick:
outstanding service to hockey in the USKing Clancy:
best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice ... and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the communityMessier:
great leadership on and off the ice during the regular seasonThis is genius--"during the regular season". I love it.
core values of hockey to enrich the lives of people in a community
Nothing to say about any of those, except what the hell is with all these leadership-&-service suckups?
I had a fucking brutal time with this one.
the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team
Finally, I just started going team-by-team and asking myself "who's the one guy who, if you take him off the squad, completely changes the complexion of their game?". Most teams, though, lost guys for extended periods and carried on well, without folding or appearing to be completely demoralized.
So the winner of the 2010-2011 MVP? The 2009-2010 Craig Anderson, who, in his absence, proved that the loss of one player's best year can well and truly annihilate an entire season of his team's chances of looking like competent, competitive professionals.