I’ll be blunt, I HATE awards shows.
They’re too long, there’s too much grandstanding, and the people who I want to win never do.
I’m looking at you, Erik Karlsson.
That said, there was a lot to like about the 2018 NHL Awards. The standard cringe-worthy buffoonery was there, and on full display with Gary Bettman’s attempts at acting, but there was a lot of heart behind this year’s show.
This past year was one full of tragedy, and the hockey community was not left unscathed, but the awards show handled it with a sense of grace and class that was truly heartwarming.
The Vegas Golden Knights paid tribute to the victims and first responders of October 1st, 2017’s tragic shooting that took the lives of 59 people and injured 822 more. Deryk Engelland, William Karlsson, Gerard Gallant, and George McPhee were onhand to represent the team.
Roberto Luongo and Aleksander Barkov proudly introduced the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school hockey team, in honour of their breathtaking state championship performance following the tragic school shooting that claimed 17 of their fellow students.
CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman and Scott Oake introduced an emotionally devastating video focused on the survivors of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash. The surviving members of the team took the stage to an amazing ovation. Also making an appearance was the wife of late Bronco’s coach Darcy Haugan, Christine. But more on that later.
I think we’ve all cried enough in the last nine or so months, so let’s get to what you came here for.
Here are the 2018 NHL Awards nominees and winners.
Ted Lindsay Award (Most Outstanding Player as Voted by the NHLPA)
James Norris Memorial Trophy (Best Defenceman)
Let me just address the elephant in the room here. I don’t care what anyone says, off year or not, Erik Karlsson doesn’t even get a nomination?
62 points in 71 games, which is two more than Drew Doughty had in 82, playing hurt and through unspeakable personal tragedy, and not even the respect of a nomination.
I know it’s been said before, but this is embarrassing by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association.
I wonder who will be “due” next year?
King Clancy Memorial Award (Leadership and Humanitarianism)
Henrik and Daniel Sedin
Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year)
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Perseverance)
Jordan Staal (Carolina Hurricanes), Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers), Brian Boyle (New Jersey Devils)
One could argue that Erik Karlsson deserved to be considered, and rightfully so, but this is a category where all of these guys deserve an award.
You can’t complain about any of them.
What was cool about this award was it was presented by Craig and Nicholle Anderson. Andy obviously won it last year for his play following Nicholle’s cancer diagnosis. Nicholle is the NHL’s first Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador, and it was awesome to see them both doing so well.
Frank J. Selke Memorial Trophy (Best Defensive Forward)
Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Sean Couturier (Philadelphia Flyers), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings)
Yeah...I’m honestly as surprised as you are.
In all fairness, Bergeron was hurt for a lot of this year and only appeared in 64 games.
Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year)
Bruce Cassidy (Boston Bruins), Gerard Gallant (Vegas Golden Knights), Jared Bednar (Colorado Avalanche)
Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award
Deryk Engelland (Vegas Golden Knights), Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers), Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets)
Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender)
Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg Jets), Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators), Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning)
General Manager of the Year
George McPhee (Vegas Golden Knights), Kevin Cheveldayoff (Winnipeg Jets), Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award
Darcy Haugan (Coach, Humboldt Broncos)
This one put a lump in your throat.
The Broncos were on stage for the presentation of the award to their late coach’s wife, Christine. She delivered an incredibly moving and inspiring speech, that gave us insight into the kind of man her husband was, and what the spirit of the game is truly about.
You can find the whole segment below, it’s worth a watch.
Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player)
Taylor Hall (New Jersey Devils), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings), Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche)
The big one this year goes to Taylor Hall, and deservedly so.
The 26 year-old nearly doubled last year’s point total of 53, scoring 39 goals and adding 54 assists for 93 points, catapulting a Devils team that many expected to be near the league’s basement to the first round of the playoffs.
If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of Peter Chiarelli’s heart breaking.
The PWHA has released their Hart Trophy ballot to the public. The breakdown is (first place votes-second place votes-third place votes-fourth place votes-fifth place votes).
This year’s Top 5 Hart Trophy Finalists were:
- Taylor Hall (New Jersey Devils) (72-62-19-4-3)
- Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche) (60-66-19-11-4)
- Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings) (11-11-41-49-12)
- Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers) (10-10-44-45-21)
- Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) (6-5-19-16-32)
Also announced at the ceremony were Maurice Richard Trophy (most goals) winner Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Art Ross Trophy (most points) winner Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers), William M. Jennings Award (goaltender on the team with the fewest goals against) winner Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), and EA Sports NHL ‘19 Cover athlete P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators).
In all honesty, I couldn’t care less about all the celebrity appearances and so on. Seeing the guys from LetterKenny was cool, but there was also a bit with a ventriloquist in a Golden Knights jersey that made Jeff Dunham look like George Carlin. So -5 stars for that.
All that said, the NHL did some serious community service with class and genuine compassion that other major sports leagues don’t hold a candle to. So kudos to them.
But I still hate you, Doughty.