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Awards races tight as season, playoffs

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Few people get fired up about the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play and sportsmanship, however Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell will be a rare bird if he wins it. (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Stu Hackel

The NHL hands out its annual individual player awards tonight in Las Vegas during a glitzy, star-spangled gala that’s a far cry from the afternoon luncheons in Montreal that were hosted by Clarence Campbell.

Just as the regular season and playoffs were hard to predict as a result of the league’s parity, it’s difficult to try determining who the voters selected for some of the hardware, and there may be some controversial choices among fans who will believe that the wrong guy won. You have to keep in mind that the voting was done at the conclusion of the regular season and the award recognizes only that aspect of the players’ performances. The playoffs are not a factor.

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  • Published On Jun 20, 2012
  • Who’s in the hunt for Coach of the Year?

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    Another season of dealing with age, injuries and getting the most out of his team likely won’t be enough to earn Detroit bench boss Mike Babcock his first Jack Adams Award. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s been a rough season for coaches. Eight have been replaced, three — Lindy Ruff, Tom Renney and Todd McLellan – have been injured and forced to miss some games, and then there’s poor Randy Cunneyworth, the good soldier who accepted the toughest coaching job in the league, with the Canadiens,  which was made all the more difficult because they are no good and he’s unilingual.

    With the NHL season heading down the home stretch, our thoughts also turn to the good work some coaches have done. These are the men who deserve consideration for the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year.

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  • Published On Mar 07, 2012
  • Our choices for the 2011 NHL Awards

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    Given the rugged nature of the position, a defenseman hasn’t won the Lady Byng Trophy (gentlemanly play) since 1954, but Nicklas Lidstrom of the Red Wings truly deserves it. (Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    The NHL hands out its regular season awards on Wednesday evening in Las Vegas, a venue that just oozes hockey history and tradition. Actually, the “nominees-winner” Academy Awards-style format is as artificial as Vegas glitz because the “nominees” are not nominees at all but actually the top three vote-getters from the April balloting (here’s who SI.com’s Michael Farber chose) after the votes are tabulated. So the winner has already been determined when the nominees are announced. This format transforms the known into the suspenseful, so maybe Vegas is the right venue after all.
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  • Published On Jun 21, 2011
  • Remembering Pat Burns

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    By Stu Hackel

    Pat Burns passed away on Friday, a gruff but funny and beloved figure in the game and the only coach to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year with three different teams — Montreal in 1989, Toronto in 1993 and Boston in 1998. He coached the Devils to the 2003 Stanley Cup and deserves a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, which he sadly did not live to see.

    But he did live to see construction begin on a rink named in his honor in the Eastern Townships of Quebec

    …and learn how much he was loved when his death was reported erroneously earlier this year. At that time, Bob McKenzie of TSN, who was a close friend of Burns, wrote just about the best thing you could want to read about Pat, and you should read it sometime this weekend.

    Jim Kelley of SI.com, who also writes for Sportsnet.ca, has written a very personal and insightful remembrance of Burns on that website and you should read that one too.

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  • Published On Nov 20, 2010


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