Morning Skate 329: Early look at the NHL Awards

Morning Skate 329: Early look at the NHL Awards

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comBOSTON With only weeks remaining in the regular season, that means it will soon be time to vote on the NHL Awards handed out each summer in Las Vegas amid the glitz, glamour and Vegas trapping that scream out anything but the National Hockey League.Here are some candidates Im kicking around for each major award while counting down the days until the official ballot lands in my email inbox.Hart Trophy: Daniel Sedin, Corey Perry, Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Sedin, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Zetterberg, Lubomir Visnovsky, Nicklas Lidstrom, Keith Yandle. My thinking: Plenty of good candidates beginning with Daniel Sedin and his 96 points as the lead horse in the race with plenty of other candidates at every other position with some excellent hockey resumes. Pretty amazing that there are three Henriks in my MVP discussion kind of tells you what direction the NHLs elite are headed toward.Norris Trophy: Nicklas Lidstrom, Zdeno Chara, Lubomir Visnovsky, Keith Yandle, Dustin Byfuglien, Christian Erhoff, Shea Weber, Kris Letang, Drew Doughty, Brent Seabrook. My thinking: Theres an upper tier of defensemen in this years crop including Lidstrom, Visnovsky, Yandle, Chara and Weber that should dominate the voting as some of the other name defensemen really didnt live up to their hype this season. Lidstrom may walk away with another one at zz years old this season.Vezina Trophy: Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Marc-Andre Fleury, Ilya Bryzgalov, Ryan Miller. My thinking: When a guy like Tim Thomas is 10 points ahead of everybody else in the save percentage category and setting modern day NHL records, there really isnt much a race. You can make some nice arguments for good goalie performances on lesser hockey teams, but there should be an investigation if Thomas doesnt take it home.Calder Trophy: Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, Michael Grabner, Tyler Ennis, Taylor Hall, Brad Marchand, Cam Fowler, P.K. Subban, Kevin Shattenkirk, Corey Crawford, Sergei Bobrovsky, James Reimer. My thinking: Jeff Skinner is the leading scorer and was the It boy at NHL All-Star weekend, but this is Logan Coutures award after watching him burst on the scene in San Jose. A pretty impressive rookie crop that really outlasted both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when it came down to it.Selke Trophy: Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron, Mike Richards, Travis Zajac. My thinking: This should be Keslers year to take home a trophy along with the rest of the his Canucks teammates, but Toews, Bergeron and Richards all deserve real consideration with Datsyuk battling through so many injuries this season.Jack Adams Award: Bruce Boudreau, Peter Laviolette, Dan Bylsma, Guy Boucher, Claude Julien, Barry Trotz, Alain Vigneault, Mike Babcock, Dave Tippett. My thinking: After playing through the blaring spotlight of HBOs 247 cameras and an underachieving first half that had many people calling for his head, Bruce Boudreau has emerged with a team playing great hockey in the second half of the season. He deserves plenty of consideration, though this may come down to Vigneault for the season hes enjoyed with the dominant Canucks or Boucher helping to steer the Lightning to their first playoff berth since 2007.On to the links: A one-on-one interview with the Vancouver Sun andMontreals Mike Cammalleri about a wide-ranging number of subjects.Joe Yerdon and the NBC Pro Hockey Talk crew shine the proper amount of light on Scott Arniel for calling it like he sees it in Columbus. Adrian Dater goes through some Monday morning quarterbacking at Versus.comCSNPhilly.com hockey insider Tim Pannacciohas the scoop on ticket prices being raised for Flyers fans in Philadelphia.According to the boys at Wicked Good Sports, there is nobody that the Bruins should play in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs.CBCs Elliotte Friedman weighs in with his 30 thoughts including a pair of thoughts about the whole Mark RecchiMax Pacioretty saga that played out last week between Boston and Montreal.Bruins President Cam Neely sits down with Felger and Mazz on 98.5 the Sports Hub to talk about the upcoming playoffs.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.