Morning Skate 114: Haggs' mid-season awards


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.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air But and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he held Brown to five catches on nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his way from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Coach Bill Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up 9 catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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