LA Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers
6:00 PST, NOT FOX SPORTS YOU BASTARDS
Check out everyone's selections over at From the Rink
Hart- Drew Doughty
This is a weird award. It's not that Doughty necessarily earned it (although he has had a great season), it's that nobody else on the team deserved it. Kopitar sucked the first half of the year, Brown sucked the 2nd half, Frolov got benched a bunch, O'Donnell maybe deserved it but that would have been humiliating to admit... I mean, why not the 19 year-old that played 23+ minutes a game at defense?
I've always thought that it was the curse of the athlete theat you're gifted with physical gifts at an age when you don't quite grasp the nuances of the game, and when you're finally old enough to get those nuances you're too old to take advantage of them. Doughty's different. Doughty's a freak, a 19 year-old that sees the game at a level I'm not sure many can match. I think he could sit at a table with Joe Thornton, Pavel Datsyuk, Sidney Crosby and Nick Lidstrom and talk intelligently about the game with all of them. (Well, not Datsyuk because nobody understands that big-headed freak, but everyone else.) He doesn't have the physical ability yet, and he may never get there, but he has the mind. And I think that's the most important part.
Norris- Drew Doughty
I picked Doughty because he's the lead defenseman and played in all situations, but you could probably make a case for Sean O'Donnell, Kyle Quincey or Matt Greene. The Kings went from 29th in the league in defense to 12th, and I think a big part of that was the improved efforts of all of our defenseman, from Doughty to Drewiskie. Good work, guys.
Vezina- Jonathan Quick
Well, duh. Pekka Rinne and Steve Mason have both had great seasons, but Jonathan Quick's name should be mentioned right alongside both of them.
Calder- Wayne Simmonds
I know, it should be Drew Doughty, but hasn't he won enough? If the coke-addled drunk from Bakersfield has already won Best Performer and Best Guy/Girl/Girl/Guy/Girl Scene, isn't it OK to take the award for Best ATM Scene and give it to the recovering crackhead from Des Moines? I think Wayne Simmonds should be celebrated for his ability to go A-to-M jump directly into the NHL at 19/20 and for not slowing down at all this season. Hopefully he gains a little weight this off-season and comes back ready to roll.
Selke- Michal Handzus
According to Mirtle this should probably be Jarret Stoll because of his ability on the penalty kill, but when you consider that it's usually Stoll in the box because he hooks and holds too damn much I think you have to give it to Handzus. Is Handzus the best defensive specialist in the Pacific now? I mean, he always was because Pahlsson's a little overrated bitch, but will Earl finally admit it?*
*That was mean, sorry.
Adams- Mark Hardy
Murray should be congratulated for getting the Kings committed to defense, but the transformation of the Kings' penalty kill has been a revelation this season. The additions of Stoll, Greene and O'Donnell definitely helped, but I think Hardy's decision to attack a lot more on the penalty kill really helped our young players grow to love playing a man down. Jamie Kompon kind of sucks.
Kyle Quincey Award (Best acquisition)- Kyle Quincey
Kyle Quincey is awesome. It's doubly-delicious for me, because Detroit's signing of Brad Stuart not only prevented him from coming back to LA but also forced Detroit to put Quincey on waivers. He just had back surgery but should be ready to go next fall.
Anson Carter Award (Worst Acquisition)- Brad Richardson
|2008 - Brad Richardson||30||0||5||5||-6||11||0||0||0||0||37||0.0|
That was worth another Moller or Simmonds.
Gary Shuchuk Award (Unsung Hero)- Sean O'Donnell
Everyone just kind of assumes that O'Donnell's only contribution was moral and philosophical, but the guy played some damned good hockey this year. According to Behind the Net, O'Donnell played the toughest minutes of any Kings 5-on-5 and did better than most other defenseman. Add in the contributions he made off the ice, and you're looking at a player that any team would take. Not bad, Red.
Len Barrie Award (Most Hated Player)- Denis Gauthier
I gotta be honest, I don't see one positive contribution made by Gauthier all year. I guess he's good on the penalty kill (when he's not the one in the box for elbowing or charging or whatever the fuck) and I don't see why he's playing over someone like Peter Harrold or Tom Preissing or my sister. Most Len Barrie Award winners usually leave the team the following year, so hopefully Gauthier follows Brian Willsie off into the sunset... where he shot into the Sun.
Kelly Hrudey Award (Favorite Player)- Kelly Hrudey
I'm not prepared to pick a favorite player from this crop. Frolov maybe, but his contract status is too uncertain and I'm not prepared to put my heart out there after getting burned by Craig Conroy and Lubo. Maybe Simmonds, although he's a little to replaceable at this point. Maybe next year I'll know.
Prediction: Not a prediction, but how do you think Patrick O'Sullivan and Lubo reacted when they saw one another again?
P'O (mouth clenched): Hey, uh, Lubo, how you doing?
Lubo: Ahh... I GOOD!
P'O: Uh, me too. Uh, what's up?
Lubo: Ahh... I GOOD!
P'O: God this sucks.