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2011-2012 Season Preview

Art Ross: Rosen sees Stamkos; Hradek picks Malkin

Friday, 09.30.2011 / 3:00 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

Daniel Sedin won the Art Ross Trophy last season with 104 points. It was the lowest point-total by a scoring champion in the post-work stoppage era, but that, of course, means it was the sixth straight season that at least 100 points were required to win the race.

Odds are that won't change this season. The talent in this League is too great for someone to lead with only 90-plus points.

Many self-described experts (like us) expect Evgeni Malkin to have a huge rebound season on his surgically repaired knee. Nothing appears to be slowing down the Sedins. Steven Stamkos had 91 points last season despite slumping after the All-Star break. Provided he finds the scoring touch that garnered him 50-goals-in-50-games hype in the first half of last season, he'll be in the race, likely alongside linemate Martin St. Louis, who had 99 points last season.

There's no reason why Corey Perry can't build on his MVP numbers from last season (50 goals, 48 assists). He likely would have gone over 100 points if Ryan Getzlaf didn't miss 15 games due to injuries.

Adams? Rosen says Murray; E.J. votes McLellan

Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 3:00 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

Jacques Demers remains the only coach in history to win the Jack Adams Award in back-to-back seasons (1987-88). So, sorry Dan Bylsma, but the odds of you bringing home this trophy again are, well, miniscule.

History also suggests that having the best team in the regular season doesn't give you a better chance to win the award.

Only three times in the past 25 seasons has the coach whose team won the Presidents' Trophy taken home the Jack Adams Award. It hasn't happened since Joel Quenneville was named coach of the year after leading the Blues to 113 points in the 1999-2000 season.

So what does it take to win the Jack Adams Award? Well, nine active coaches can talk about it from experience -- Quenneville, Jacques Martin, John Tortorella, Lindy Ruff, Alain Vigneault, Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien, Dave Tippett and Bylsma all have won the award.

Experts agree: Weber will win Norris Trophy

Wednesday, 09.28.2011 / 3:00 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

Nicklas Lidstrom has taken home the Norris Trophy seven times in his illustrious career, including last season as the 41-year-old captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

Can he do it again?

The right answer is yes, Lidstrom absolutely can, because he's that good -- but that doesn't mean we think he's going to.

If you buy into what we're selling, the Norris Trophy will get some new fingerprints on it come late June, when all the hardware gets handed out at the annual NHL Awards Show:

Shea Weber, Predators

Weber will earn every penny of the $7.5 million coming his way this season. Forget being just a finalist for this award -- this season, he's finally going to take home the hardware.

Vezina picks: Split vote on Fleury, Lundqvist

Tuesday, 09.27.2011 / 3:00 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

Not many goalies can say they had a season (and offseason) like Boston's Tim Thomas. In the process of winning the Stanley Cup, Thomas also took home the Conn Smythe Trophy. Several days later he won the Vezina Trophy, and to cap it off he even won an ESPY.
Does he have it in him to do it all over again?
Well, according to us, not this season. And, hey, that's not a knock on Thomas. We just don't think he will do it again.
Instead, here are our picks for this year's Vezina Trophy winner. Feel free to take offense if we didn't pick your guy:
Marc-Andre Fleury
The Penguins goalie is a dark horse in the Vezina Trophy discussion only because goalies like Tim Thomas, Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist, Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Ilya Bryzgalov and Martin Brodeur are considered the annual favorites to take home this trophy.

Lundqvist expecting big, busy season for Rangers

Monday, 09.26.2011 / 12:12 PM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Matt Cubeta - Staff Writer

Now set to embark on his seventh season with the Rangers, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is prepared for a big and busy season in New York.

"I'm excited about it," Lundqvist said. "There are so many things going on for us this year that I'm always excited to be back in New York and get ready for a new season, but with this one it feels like a little extra. We start in Europe, then we have the Winter Classic, and our home rink is a little different now with the renovations. And then we have the HBO (show 24/7). I mean, I don't really know how it's going to play out and how much they're going to follow us, but we just have to be mentally prepared that they're going to be around us and just have to deal with it."

With the staples of the Rangers still intact and Brad Richards joining the team via free agency, it seems like the team is in line for an improved season from their eighth-place finish last regular season and a first-round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals.

Lundqvist certainly agrees. 

Calder pick comes down to youth vs. experience

Monday, 09.26.2011 / 9:45 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

It's the only trophy you're allowed to win just once in your career, so this season's crop of rookies are looking to make a grand statement so they can be delivering an acceptance speech on stage at the NHL Awards Show in late June.

There are some promising youngsters in this year's rookie class, including Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau and Adam Larsson -- the top four picks in the 2011 Entry Draft.

Rewind to the 2010 Entry Draft and you'll remember Nino Niederreiter, Erik Gudbranson and Ryan Johansen are among the candidates that could make their respective teams this season and be among the front-runners for the Calder Trophy.

You can go even further back, to the 2009 draft, and recall players like Brayden Schenn, Jared Cowen and Ryan Ellis -- all of whom haven't made an impact in the NHL yet, but should this season.

Plenty of strong Calder candidates as season looms

Monday, 09.26.2011 / 9:43 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

When the Carolina Hurricanes' Jeff Skinner beat out Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year last season, it marked the closest margin of victory for the award in eight years.

Skinner received 94 of 127 first-place votes and 1,055 points to edge Couture, who had 41 first-place votes and 908 points. It was the closest finish since 2003, when St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman topped Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, 506-462.

Datsyuk's skill, personality makes him a top player

Friday, 09.23.2011 / 3:59 PM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

It might seem a bit surprising, but the Detroit Red Wings -- the NHL franchise once famous for its contingent of Russian players -- have had only one player from that country on their roster during the past four seasons.

The lone Russian on the Red Wings has an interesting take on why this has been the case.

"Yeah, but maybe it is (general manager Ken Holland) knows me and doesn’t want to sign any more Russian guys," Pavel Datsyuk said with his typical dead-pan humor.

This was just a glimpse of Datsyuk's personality, because everyone associated with the NHL knows if Holland could find more players like the sublimely talented center, he would acquire them in bulk.

Champs: Rosen predicts Hawks; Hradek sees Pens

Friday, 09.23.2011 / 3:00 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Dan Rosen and E.J. Hradek - Staff Writers

The world's most famous trophy. The ultimate goal. The dream.

Which team will spend the summer of 2012 celebrating with the Stanley Cup?

Rosen has the Penguins and Blackhawks competing in the Stanley Cup Final. Hradek has the Penguins and Sharks going after the big prize.

And the winner is...
Chicago Blackhawks

They know how to do it because they've done it before. They know what it takes and they understand the grind. The Blackhawks also now have a greater appreciation for what they accomplished in 2010 and how difficult it will be to do it again.

Perreault, Eakin take another shot at cracking Caps

Thursday, 09.22.2011 / 11:40 AM / 2011-2012 Season Preview

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Mathieu Perreault and Cody Eakin were two of the last guys cut at the end of training camp for the Washington Capitals last season.

Perreault would be back on multiple occasions with inconsistent results, while Eakin went back to juniors and was one of the best players at that level of hockey. Both of those players are among a group vying for one open spot -- likely centering the third line -- with the Capitals this season.

"You are always looking to see where you might be able to fit, but you can't really control what other guys are going to do," Perreault said. "I can only control what I'm going to do, and hopefully that will be good enough to stay here."
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