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Does the Predators’ Shea Weber deserve the Norris Trophy?

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Shea Weber could retire tomorrow and have a pretty nice career to reflect on. Two Olympic gold medals. A two-time NHL First Team All Star. A number that’ll be retired one day in Nashville. A pretty good shot at the Hall of Fame, too.

But one thing that’s missing from his resume is a Norris Trophy. Weber’s been recognized as one of the best defensemen in the game for several years now and twice he’s finished as the first runner-up for the award, but the hardware has eluded him.

That’s something the Predators would like to change. They’ve been pushing the narrative of this being Weber’s best season ever for a week or so now, with coach Barry Trotz leading the charge. “He’s not getting the accolades across the league that he would if we were a little higher in the standings, but it’s by far his best season in terms of production,” Trotz said. “And we’re basically breaking in five defensemen, maybe four … and he’s having a terrific season.”

Now the team is taking the offensive one step further by sending out this promotional video extolling his virtues. Smart move? You bet. Despite universal recognition of his greatness, he’s sort of a back-of-mind candidate. Even with his big numbers, his profile suffers from playing for a small-market team that’s been circling the playoff drain for a couple months already.

Will this will help end his Norris drought? We’ll find out in June.

  • Published On Apr 03, 2014
  • Reviewing our 2013-14 NHL crystal ball at the midseason point

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    Patrick Sharp and Sidney Crosby

    Two of our four scribes say the Blackhawks and the Penguins are poised for a Stanley Cup showdown. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir, Brian Cazeneuve, Sarah Kwak and Eli Bernstein

    With all 30 teams having reached or passed the 41-game midpoint of the season, we thought it we be fun to take a look back at our preseason crystal ball and see how accurate our forecast was — and look ahead to the second half with the benefit of a little hindsight.

    Here are our original picks (conference and Stanley Cup finalists, major award winners, biggest disappointment, and more):’s 2013-14 NHL Crystal Ball predictions | GALLERY: Players with something to prove

    And now our mid-course corrections:

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  • Published On Jan 06, 2014
  • Las Vegas likes Sidney Crosby for the Hart, Henrik Lundqvist for the Vezina

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    John Tavares and Sidney Crosby

    Sidney Crosby’s a solid bet to win his second Hart Trophy; the odds on John Tavares (left): 12/1. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Unlike a certain sport that all but requires you to have a few bucks on the line to keep it interesting, hockey is a game that can be enjoyed for its own virtues.

    But hey, if you’re a fan with a hunch and a few bills burning a hole in your pocket, there’s action to be had. And to give you an idea where that action is, Bovada today released its odds for possible winners of the NHL’s top awards.

    There aren’t any surprises at the top, with Sidney Crosby listed as the best bet to win the Hart and the Art Ross trophies and Henrik Lundqvist named the favorite to capture the Vezina, but there are some interesting plays to be made. Jonathan Toews at 25/1 to win the Hart?

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  • Published On Sep 12, 2013
  • Alex Ovechkin All-Star vote snafu shows change needed for NHL awards

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    Alex Ovechkin was named an NHL All-Star at a position he didn't play this season.

    Just not right: Alex Ovechkin won honors at left wing even though he switched positions this season. (Getty Imagea)

    By Allan Muir

    A friend of mine changed his personal profile on his Twitter account this afternoon. It used to read, “Proud member of the PHWA.”

    Now, the line is blank.

    He’s probably not alone in making that kind of change. I’m guessing there aren’t too many folks bragging about being a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association today.

    It hasn’t been a very good month for the group* that, among its other duties, votes on the Hart, Calder, Norris, Selke, Lady Byng and Masterton trophies that are handed out to the NHL’s top players each season. Considering what those awards mean to a player’s legacy, it’s a hefty responsibility.

    Too bad not everyone sees it that way.

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  • Published On Jul 03, 2013
  • Crosby, Ovechkin and St. Louis are 2013 Ted Lindsay Award finalists

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    Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Martin St. Louis are the 2013 Ted Lindsay Award nominees.

    NHL players will have a tough choice among Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Martin St. Louis. (AP Photos)

    By Sarah Kwak

    There was little surprise in the NHL Players’ Association’s announcement of the finalists for the 2013 Ted Lindsay Award, given to the “most outstanding player,” as voted by the players themselves. Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin, and Lightning right wing Martin St. Louis, all previous winners of this award, made strong cases at various points of the season, and each achieved remarkable milestones even with the short schedule.

    Crosby scored at a rate of 1.56 points per game, a pace that only he, Jaromir Jagr, Eric Lindros and Mario Lemieux have bettered since 1995. A position switch from left wing at the start of the season revived Ovechkin’s stagnant offensive production, and at right wing, the Great 8 exploded with 23 goals in his final 23 games. From March 14 to the end of the regular season, Ovechkin scored nearly twice as often as the next highest scorers (23-12) and regained his title as league’s most fearsome sniper, winning his third Rocket Richard Trophy. And then there’s St. Louis, who at age 37, outscored both Crosby and Ovechkin — not to mention the rest of the league. Playing against some kids who are half his age, the 14-year vet scored 60 points in just 48 games, a career-high per game pace.

    So with such impressive cases for each, how does one begin to rate which performance is the most outstanding?

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  • Published On May 09, 2013
  • P.K. Subban, Kris Letang, Ryan Suter named 2013 Norris Trophy finalists

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    Ryan Suter

    After proving he’s a bona fide workhorse No. 1, Ryan Suter will be tough to beat. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    This morning, the NHL announced the three finalists for this year’s Norris Trophy, given annually to “the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position,” as chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. And not one of them was named Lidstrom, Chara or Weber.

    In fact, all three of this year’s nominees — Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter — are first-timers. A signal of a changing of the guard among the league’s elite blueliners? That’s never a bad thing. All three deserve the recognition.

    So, who’s going to win it?

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  • Published On May 07, 2013
  • Choosing my 2013 All-NHL Team: Western Conference

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    Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is a legitimate MVP candidate.

    What about Bob? Where would the Blue Jackets be without netminder Sergei Bobrovsky? (Reed Saxon/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    When the NHL announces its annual All-Star teams at the league’s awards show in June, it will stick with a formula that rings a bit untrue this season. How, after all, can someone be an All-NHL player if he hasn’t played against the entire NHL?

    In coming up with our end-of-regular season honors, we’ve decided that the lockout-abbreviated campaign requires a different take, so our All-NHL teams will be broken down by conference to reflect the unique scheduling.

    Here are our Western honorees. You can find my Eastern picks here.

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  • Published On Apr 24, 2013
  • My 2013 NHL midseason awards

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    Sidney Crosby is the leading candidate for the 2013 Hart Trophy.

    Keeping his Penguins in contention with high-powered offense, Sidney Crosby may well run off with the Hart Trophy. (Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    With every team but one — the Boston Bruins — having hit the halfway point of the abbreviated schedule, it’s time to update our handicapping of the postseason hardware races. Here are my first-quarter choices, so you can compare.

    Not surprisingly, many of the names have changed since our first look revealed some surprise favorites. Injuries have played a part, but in most cases it’s been a matter of players reasserting themselves among the elite once they had a chance to get their legs under them.

    Here’s how we see the fields shaping up. Got a bone to pick with these choices? Make your case in the comments section below.

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  • Published On Mar 12, 2013