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.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."