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Toews tops Bergeron again as NHL trumpets first batch of award winners

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Josh Harding

Josh Harding won the Bill Masterson trophy after playing the season with multiple sclerosis. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

By Allan Muir

The upside of abandoning the NHL’s flashy awards presentation in Las Vegas is obvious: no experiments in forced chemistry between C-list celebrities and hockey players; no disdainful hosting from Jay Mohr; and no more sequels to the wacky adventures of Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan.

Still, this year’s hastily planned alternative won’t exactly be remembered as a triumph of marketing genius, either.

The NHL dropped the first eight winners online and the buzz it generated nearly matched the excitement over the last Twisted Sister LP. It’s really too bad, since the league could have benefited from wider exposure afforded to these worthwhile honorees.

The most highly anticipated award of the night went to Jonathan Toews, who edged out Patrice Bergeron (again) in the tightly contested race for the Selke Trophy. You can read Sarah Kwak’s take on it here. In my book, Bergeron deserved a repeat win — he took home the hardware last season — based on his league-leading faceoff numbers and the fact that he was on the ice for just 13 even-strength goals-against all season. Toews is right there with him on nearly all counts, but I think the voters tossed him this bone after bailing on him in the MVP balloting.

And now, the rest of the winners:

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  • Published On Jun 14, 2013
  • Selke Trophy finalists: Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk

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    Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, and Pavel Datsyuk are 2013 Selke Trophy nominees

    Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk make the Selke a highly contested award. (Icon SMI (2); Getty)

    By Allan Muir

    The league announced today that Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews are the three finalists for the 2012-13 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”

    Nary a “knock me over with a feather” nominee in that bunch. The Selke has taken a few hits over the years as being a reputation-based award, but this trio burnished their well-established reps for two-way excellence with undeniably strong seasons.

    When the vote counts are revealed, it won’t be a surprise to learn this was the year’s most hotly contested hardware. You can’t make an argument against any of these guys.

    MORE NOMINEES: Hart | Norris | Vezina | Calder | Lindsay | Masterton

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  • Published On May 15, 2013
  • 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
  • A vanishing shot; Semin’s enigma

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    Alex Semin of the Washington Capitals is a supremely talented player, but maddeningly inconsistent. (Russell Lansford/Icon SMI)

    By Stu Hackel

    One of hockey’s most breathtaking plays has nearly vanished from the NHL: the goal scored by a player who zips down the wing and blows a slap shot past the goaltender.

    “You can’t do that kind of shot today,” Avalanche forward Matt Duchene​ told my SI.com cohort Adrian Dater at his regular Denver Post gig. “It’s not going to work. The goalies are going to make the save, and you can’t even take the time to wind up like that off the rush. The (defenseman) is going to get to you and take away the puck or block the shot in the time it takes you to wind the stick back.”

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  • Published On Dec 22, 2011
  • Campbell leaves thankless job to Shanahan

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    Outgoing supplementary discipline czar Colin Campbell (left) can surely tell his successor, Brendan Shanahan, what it’s like to make people angry no matter what decision you make. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

    By Stu Hackel

    The single most-talked about play in Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was not the great winning goal by Raffi Torres, nor any of the tremendous saves by Tim Thomas or Roberto Luongo, nor some of the big bodychecks thrown in the hotly contested game. No, it was the alleged chomp by Alex Burrows on Patrice Bergeron, which still has Burrows trending on Twitter throughout Canada, in Boston and some other hockey towns in the U.S. the following afternoon.

    It is a biting commentary (sorry) on what the public considers most significant about the game. And that includes hockey fans and observers in the media, because when it comes to player conduct, penalties, suspensions, fines and all manner of supplemental discipline in the NHL, we’ve all become pretty obsessed with whether a particular act deserves a particular response and how strong that response should be.

    The way discipline has gone in the postseason, it was not expected that Burrows would be suspended, and he wasn’t, even though that sort of nonsense often earns a player few games off during the regular season.

    And that brings us to yesterday’s surprise news that Colin Campbell, who had a pretty rough year (see SI.com’s gallery), was stepping away from his task as the NHL’s chief disciplinarian and handing his wristslapper over to Brendan Shanahan beginning next season. The announcement was a surprise even to the league’s executives, who had decided on the change in March but had not planned to make it known until the Board of Governors’ meetings later this month. The NHL went public after Shanahan’s appointment had been leaked to TSN’s Darren Dreger earlier yesterday.
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  • Published On Jun 02, 2011
  • Canucks vs. Bruins: Who has the edge?

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    Given Vancouver’s firepower and Boston’s suspect power play, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas will likely have to be at his acrobatic best to win the Stanley Cup. (Anne-Marie Sorvin/US Presswire)

    By Stu Hackel

    Sometime in the next two weeks, one of these teams will end a long Stanley Cup drought.  Each faced down a strong first-round challenge by a major rival and enters the final round  relatively healthy and with good depth. Both head coaches are Cup finals first-timers, they are former minor league teammates in the St. Louis Blues organization and each ran the bench for the Montreal Canadiens. But the similarities between the two foes are less striking than their differences.

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  • Published On Jun 01, 2011
  • Tricks, tweaks and tactical skirmishes on tap for B’s and Bolts in Game 7

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    The Bruins have tried to juice their punchless power play by sending big blueliner Zdeno Chara to Tampa Bay’s net, but that creates questions for them elsewhere. (Scott Audette/NHL via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s Tampa Bay at Boston tonight and the winner gets a trip to Vancouver, where the Canucks await, hoping this Game 7 goes a few overtime periods and the Bruins and Lightning beat each other’s brains out. Could happen. When it comes down to one game, anything can happen.

    Will home ice matter for the Bruins? It did when they played Montreal in Game 7 of the opening round, as B’s Coach Claude Julien has mentioned a few times since the end of Game 6 vs. Tampa Bay. On the other hand, the Lightning won a Game 7 on the road in their first round series against Pittsburgh, as their coach, Guy Boucher, has mentioned a few times as well.

    The Lightning’s victory over the Penguins is the only Game 7 triumph by a road team so far in this playoff tournament. The home teams have won four times. But last year, visitors took all four Game 7s, and in 2009, road teams won four of six. In the six playoffs since the lockout, home teams have won 11 Game 7s and road teams have won 11. So the most obvious advantage may not be an advantage at all.
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  • Published On May 27, 2011
  • Bruins, Lightning set for Game 3 in roller coaster Eastern final series

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    The Lightning now have to concern themselves with how to stop a repeat performance by Game 2 rookie sensation Tyler Seguin, who brings speed and creativity to Boston’s attack. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The venue will change and the delirious pace of the game may, too, but however Bruins-Lightning Game 3 unfolds, there will still be lots to look back on and admire from Tuesday’s Game 2, a 6-5 victory by Boston that knotted their series at one game apiece.

    With just over a minute left in the incredible second period, the Lightning had just scored a power play goal to narrow the gap to 5-3 and was back on the attack. An enthused Mike Emrick — who had just described 19 minutes of roaring back and forth action — said over Versus, “My goodness, it’s faster than one of those table hockey games!”

    Those old flat metal players could whip the big wooden puck along the perimeter while the center was in front to pick up a rebound. And, sure enough, that’s just what happened. As if on cue, Boston turned the play out of its zone and spent a good 40 seconds pressuring  Tampa Bay, throwing the puck around the boards the way those tin men of the ’60s used to do. And it worked out well.
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  • Published On May 19, 2011
  • Bruins must adjust to win Game 2

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    Bruins coach Claude Julien has taken heat for his reluctance to make changes during games, something he will surely have to do in order to even his series against the Lightning. (Charles Krupa/AP Photos)

    By Stu Hackel

    When it comes to coaching in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you can’t underestimate the importance of making adjustments before and during games. That was a big part of the Eastern Conference Finals opener between the Bruins and Lightning, a 5-2 Tampa Bay win, and it will be also be a big part of Game 2 tonight in Boston.

    Now trailing 1-0 in the series after being thoroughly outplayed for almost the entire game, Bruins coach Claude Julien has had two full days to mull over what he saw and fix it. He’s got lots to address: his team’s poor execution and inability to get much sustained pressure in the offensive zone, how to counter Tampa Bay’s various forechecking systems, and how to improve Boston’s special teams play. It seemed for much of Game 1 that the B’s were in over their heads. You can expect a better effort in Game 2.

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  • Published On May 17, 2011
  • Bruins vs. Lightning: Who has the edge?

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    Key figures: Bruins goalie Tim Thomas can steal any series, but Martin St. Louis, a veteran of Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup championship team, knows what it takes to go all the way. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    One of the most intriguing Conference Championships imaginable, this series will match the crashing, banging Bruins against the calculating, high-skilled Lightning. The styles may contrast, but each team comes in with a similar back story, having staged a first-round comeback, then swept their second round opponent. Each has some momentum and each is rested, so rust will have accumulated evenly, and each has a top goaltender. (For a Western Conference Final analysis, click here.)

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  • Published On May 13, 2011


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