June 24, 2010

Puck On The 'Net: Henrik All Hart, Buff Thrashed

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Henrik Wins The Hart
  • No one can ever say the Sedins don't have "Hart" ever again. To me, there is no more important individual award than the league MVP award. Maybe the Art Ross as leading scorer, but hey Henrik has that too. As a Canucks fan, I can honestly say I never thought I'd see the day this happened.
  • Henrik's peers voted to give the Lester B. Pearson Ted Lindsay Award to Alexander Ovechkin instead. That of course goes to the NHL's best player as voted by his peers.
  • According to the Canucks Twitter feed, the first place in Las Vegas Henrik Sedin went after checking into this hotel room - the hotel gym. That's dedication.
  • Pavel Datsyuk took home the Selke, Tyler Myers got the Calder, Dave Tippett easily won the Adams, Ryan Miller won the Vezina, Duncan Keith claimed the Norris and Martin St. Louis won the Lady Byng. Jose Theodore got the Masterton while Shane Doan won the King Clancy.
  • Puck Daddy has all the awards voting breakdown.
  • I can't even remember the last time I watched NHL Award Show. I think it was the last time Chris Chelios won the Norris. Even back then I watched only out of some misguided loyalty to hockey. I hated the award show.
Byfuglien Traded
  • The salary cap induced break up of the Chicago Blackhawks hit full stride on Wednesday. Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu were traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for the #24 overall pick (originally New Jersey’s), the 54th overall pick, Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin. 
  • For the Blackhawks this was a necessary evil. Sopel and Eager are replaceable parts, almost certainly by cheaper plug-ins. Byfuglien was the toughest choice. It was likely between him, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp. Quite frankly, there was no choice. The other two could never command the return Byfuglien could. After that great playoff, Byfuglien's trade value was never higher.
  • That being said, the Hawks definitely did not get fair return. They were dealing from a position of weakness and 29 other teams were circling like vultures.
  • In one sense, Chicago made a wise choice to send Big Buff off to obscurity with a bottom feeder team in a non-hockey market. The chances of Byfuglien coming back to haunt Stan Bowman and the Hawks are somewhat lessened.
  • Still, you have to know it was hard to move Byfuglien. Not only was he a crowd favorite, but he has one of the most unique skill sets in the NHL. Versteeg or Sharp are replaceable. There is no other Dustin Byfuglien.
  • Byfuglien will feel at home right away in Atlanta. General Manager Rick Dudley is a former teammate of Buff's step-dad, Dale Smedsmo. The two played in the WHA with the Cincinnati Stingers. Dudley called Smedsmo the toughest player he ever saw.
  • The Thrashers took a good step forward with this trade. And in Byfuglien they not only have a unique hockey player but a real marketable person. Here's hoping he builds upon his strong playoff with a strong regular season. He was impressive in the 2009 playoffs too, but had an unimpressive regular season this past campaign.
Pat Quinn

  • It is very possible that 67 year old Pat Quinn has coached his last game in the National Hockey League. That would be a shame, because he is a great coach. For those naysayers who quickly point to his last place finish in Edmonton, let's not forget that the Oilers led the league in man-games lost to injury. You show me any other team that loses it's top offensive player (Ales Hemsky - 60 games), top defenseman (Sheldon Souray - 45 games) and top goaltender (Nikolai Khabibulin - 64 games), and I'll show you a coach who is looking for his next paycheck.
  • Do not blame Pat Quinn for the disastrous season in Edmonton. Injuries are no excuse, but clearly the Oilers were not ready to take the next step and challenge for a playoff spot. You have to look at Steve Tambellini, Kevin Lowe and ownership for blame, as clearly they felt bringing in Quinn and Khabibulin would do that for them. Khabibulin's injury problems aside, upper management overestimated the other assets they had and failed to bring in players to fill the gap.
  • For more evaluation on Quinn's performance, check this post by David Staples.

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