Morning Skate 114: Haggs' mid-season awards

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Morning Skate 114: Haggs' mid-season awards

With the Bruins reaching the exact midpoint of their schedule tonight in a road game against the Carolina Hurricanes, here are the NHL midseason awards as I see them halfway through the year:

Hart Trophy: Jonathan Toews Its hard to argue with the numbers. One of a handful of players with more than 20 goals, winning more than 60 percent of his face-offs, playing more than 20 minutes a night and hes a plus-13. Captain Serious is on track for some serious awards. Other mentions: Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Marian Gaborik, Henrik Sedin, Steve Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin.

Norris Trophy: Zdeno Chara Hes having his best statistical season and has been a monster since the beginning of November. His five power play goals put in a tie with Shea Weber and Dion Phaneuf and his plus-28 leads all NHL defenseman. Other mentions: Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Kimmo Timmonen.

Vezina Trophy: Henrik Lundqvist Tough to keep it away from either of the Bruins goaltenders, but Lundqvist is one of the biggest reasons the Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference. The .937 save percentage and 1.89 goals against average are legit for King Henrik. Other mentions: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Brian Elliott, Jonathan Quick.

Calder Trophy: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins The Nuge is still leading all rookies in scoring, but New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique is quickly catching up to him in a talented crop of first year players. Other mentions: Adam Henrique, Cody Hodgson, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Read.

Jack Adams Award: Kevin Dineen -- Has got to be Kevin Dineens award to lose down in Florida after changing the losing culture and getting the Panthers into the middle of the playoff mix. Its been more than 10 years since the Panthers have made the playoffs, and Dineen is a big reason theyll be in this season. Other mentions: Ken Hitchcock, Paul MacLean, John Tortorella.

Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron The Bs center is on pace for more than 70 points, has won close to 60 percent of his face-offs on the best draw team in the NHL and is the best defensive forward playing for the best defensive team. Winning the Stanley Cup certainly helped Bergeron get some recognition, and this is the year when it all catches up to No. 37. Other mentions: Jonathan Toews, Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk.

Lady Byng: Martin St. Louis Its his award until he decides to retire, so theres really no competition for it despite the dark horse run by Loui Eriksson last season. Worth mentioning: Daniel Paille has zero penalty minutes in 36 games this season. Other mentions: Andrew Brunette, Matt Read, Daniel Paille, Loui Eriksson, Kyle Wellwood.

On to the links:

Down Goes Brown has their humorous look at the NHL All-Star snubs around the league.

A good piece by New England Hockey Journals Jesse Connelly on the hockey-friendly Felger and Mazz Show thats helped bring the Bruins and hockey make into the media mainstream in New England.

Great piece of Kevin Paul Dupont on legendary Boston Globe hockey scribe Fran Rosa, who passed away last week.

Pro Hockey Talk has the story of the Philly police getting to the bottom of the meathead Flyers fans that attacked several Rangers fans at a Cheese Steak stand after the Winter Classic.

A good look by Yahoo at the Montreal Canadiens, Pierre Gauthier and the trade for Rene Bourque as examples of something very strange going on up in Montreal.

Steve Buckley from the Boston Herald tracked down Ken Linseman, who loves Brad Marchands game and says he proudly carries on The Rat tradition in Boston.

A plea for the end to staged fighting by the Globe and Mail. Is this really whats wrong with the game of hockey? I dont think so.

For something completely different: Southie families are up in arms about a meeting that may take place between Mark Wahlberg and Whitey Bulger as precursor to a movie about the Boston gangster.

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

WALTHAM, Mass. – It was the first official day of Jaylen Brown’s NBA education.

So like most youngsters on the first day of school, he wanted to make a favorable impression.

Showing up three-plus hours early? Yup. That’ll help. But punctuality will only take you so far.

As eager as he is to play, Brown is well aware that much of what he’ll be doing the first few days will be centered around learning.

“It’s a lot of stuff I have to learn,” Brown admitted in an interview with CSNNE.com. “We have a lot of experience on the floor. I want to be a sponge to these older guys as long as I am here. And keep adapting, keep growing every day in practice and get better.”

Having a steady thirst for improvement is an essential for any player coming into the NBA, but especially for a 19-year-old like Brown.

Avery Bradley was the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft and like Brown, he was just 19 years old coming into the league.

When I asked him what he wishes he knew as a rookie that he eventually learned over time, Bradley was succinct with his answer.

“Confidence,” he told CSNNE.com. “Just having more confidence. I wish I had more confidence in myself.”

Of course if you recall, Bradley spent his rookie season coming off the bench behind Ray Allen, one of the best shooting guards of his era who will someday wind up in the Naismith Hall of Fame.

There were others Bradley had to outperform just to get a shot at playing behind Ray Allen.

“There was Ray Allen, and Delonte West and Von Wafer,” said Bradley who added, “I was behind everybody and then we got Nate Robinson too.”

While the depth chart isn’t quite that deep for Brown, there’s no question he will have to hold his own and probably outplay a couple bodies in order to get a steady diet of playing time as a rookie.

“I love challenges,” Brown said. “This game is a beautiful game. I have a lot of people to compete and challenge me every day.  It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to coming out on top.”

Celtics forward/center Amir Johnson was 18 years old when the Detroit Pistons selected him straight out of high school in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft.

Johnson said he has been impressed with what he has seen from Brown the past couple of weeks during pick-up games and workouts.

And while it helps to have veterans around, Brown’s growth in this league will ultimately come down to how much he’s willing to listen and learn.

“If you’re a teen that wants to work and listen, sit back and be quiet,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I was that teen willing to listen and learn, willing to do whatever anybody told me to do. I listened to my veterans and my coaches, come in the gym early and stay late. I had a lot of help to get where I’m at today.”

That said, Brown will still have his naysayers who will focus on his youth, inexperience along with Boston’s depth as reasons for him to not do much early on his career.

Bradley knows a thing or two about that.

In Bradley’s second year with the Celtics he was in the starting lineup ahead of Allen which was one of many roles Bradley has been able to play surprisingly better than anticipated.

Bradley recalls how opposing players often think he is either shorter or doesn’t have as long a wingspan as they would expect.

“That plays to my advantage,” he said. “Everybody thinks I’m short or I’m not long. People are going to say the same thing about Jaylen. A lot of people think he can’t do this, can’t do that. That’s the part about this game I love; you can surprise people and that’s what I think he’s going to do.”