Back to hockey for a while… First, the Montreal Canadiens announced today that they have hired former Kings forward Ethan Moreau as a scout. Also, the NHL Awards will be handed out tonight in Las Vegas, with coverage to begin at 4 p.m. Pacific time on NBC Sports Network. Jonathan Quick is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, while Dustin Brown is one of three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award.
Voting for the Vezina — among NHL general managers — was concluded at the regular season, so the award will not reflect playoff success. That will hurt Quick, who is a finalist along with Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. None of the three has won the Vezina, and the regular-season numbers are very close…
Lundqvist: 39-18-5 record, 1.97 goals-against average, .930 save percentage, eight shutouts.
Quick: 35-21-13 record, 1.95 goals-against average, .929 save percentage, 10 shutouts.
Rinne: 43-18-8 record, 2.39 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, five shutouts.
In a statistical sense, each goalie brings something to the table. Quick has the lowest goals-against average and most shutouts, Lundqvist has the highest save percentage and Rinne has the most wins. At the risk of falling into the “East Coast bias” trap, when the race appears to be tight, look East. I would have voted for Quick, but I’d be surprised if Lundqvist didn’t win.
Brown, along with Ryan Callahan of the Rangers and Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, is up for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, personally selected by the Hall of Famer to recognize “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.”
Here’s the rest of the major award finalists, as well as a chance for you to vote as to who you think will win each of the awards…
HART (MVP) — Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers), Evgeni Malkin (Penguins), Steven Stamkos (Lightning).
NORRIS (defenseman) — Zdeno Chara (Bruins), Erik Karlsson (Senators), Shea Weber (Predators).
CALDER (rookie) — Adam Henrique (Devils), Gabriel Landeskog (Avalanche), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Oilers).
SELKE (defensive forward) — David Backes (Blues), Patrice Bergeron (Bruins), Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings).
LADY BYNG (sportsmanship) — Brian Campbell (Panthers), Jordan Eberle (Oilers), Matt Moulson (Islanders).
JACK ADAMS (coach) — Ken Hitchcock (Blues), Paul MacLean (Senators), John Tortorella (Rangers).