Random, informal and honest. This is and will be 500 words.
We're a quarter of the way through the NHL season and I'm going to make make my quarter-through award picks.This isn't who I think will win the award at the end of the year but rather the winner after a quarter of the season.
-Sidney Crosby wins the Hart. The best player who isn't Sidney Crosby? Sidney Crosby on an off-night.
-My Norris goes to Mark Giordano. He's playing some really special hockey and is excelling in every stat you can think of. Aside from leading the league in defensive scoring he has positive possession numbers with a 44% OZS ratio. Not an easy feat especially for a defenseman.
-The Vezina comes down to Pekka Rinne and Carey Price. Price's numbers aren't flattering but if you follow hockey you know that Price is the reason behind the majority of the Habs' wins this year. Rinne is playing out of his mind with a 1.86 GAA and a .932 SV%. My nod goes to Rinne who has backstopped the resurgence of the Predators with authority.
-Back to the Predators for the Calder: Filip Forsberg. He's dominating rookie scoring and is tied for 10th league-wide. It's been a while since I've seen a 20 year old who is that confident in his puck-carrying ability. His OT winner against Edmonton was insane.
-To set the Selke candidates apart I took a look at who is starting off in a defensive role and turning that situation into offense. Going by that model it's Patrice Bergeron and it's not even close. 43.2 OZS% with a 19.72 on-ice Corsi. That's insane. All stats courtesy of War On Ice.
-The Jack Adams is between Bob Hartley and Peter Laviolette. Hartley has done a lot with an underwhelming roster and has benefited from Norris-level defending. Laviolette has revived the Predators and has reaped the rewards of Vezina-level goaltending. My pick is Hartley based on the fact that Calgary was supposed to compete for McDavid, not the Pacific.
-Why are PIMs a qualification for the Lady Byng? If anything it should be considered for the Selke. PIMs aren't necessarily correlated to sportsmanship. For me it's about playing with respect, focusing on the types of PIMs rather than the PIM totals. Are they boarding, charging, kneeing, spearing, headshot calls or are they stick infractions? If a player has zero penalties it's obvious that there isn't a lot of foul play involved, 1/4 of the way through there are several players with no PIMs coupled with a high standard of playing ability. Too convoluted.
-Last but not least, the Masterton award. Dominic Moore broke the "return from injury" mold and perfectly fills the "player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." description. This year it goes to Phil Kessel who goes to work every day, plays out of his mind and puts up with the shit tornado that is Toronto Sports.
That was 500 Words.