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(Page 7 of 10)
Trophy Tracker

Stars' Eriksson still best bet to win first Lady Byng

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 4:36 PM / Trophy Tracker

David Kalan - NHL.com Staff Writer

The 2011-12 season reaches its mid-point upon the completion of Monday night's game between the Washington Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings. But NHL.com is going to take all week to look at the significant stories as the League makes the turn and heads toward the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We'll look at the races for the League's individual awards, while profiling some of the most surprising players and teams as we look ahead to the final three months of the season.

As the NHL hits its midway point, many players have established themselves as scoring threats who consistently find their way onto the stat sheet without finding their way to the penalty box. It's often one of these men who takes home the Lady Byng Trophy at the end of the season, the NHL's annual award for "skillful and gentlemanly play."

Martin St. Louis has taken Byng home two years in a row, and he's done little this year to rule himself out of a hat trick, tallying 10 goals and 21 assists in 33 games while picking up just 8 penalty minutes. But at the season's quarter mark in November our nod went to Dallas' Loui Eriksson, a first-time nominee for the award in 2011, and halfway through the season that hasn't changed.

Eriksson, 26, has continued to impress, but he's joined by a host of young players impressing on the ice while incurring minimal infractions. Look no further than the Atlantic Division, where New Jersey's Adam Henrique (28 points, plus-7, 2 PIMs) and Philadelphia's Matt Read (22 points, plus-6, 2 PIMs) have had solid rookie campaigns. Brian Campbell, in his first season in Florida is taking a run at being the first blueliner to win the Lady Byng in nearly six decades, tallying 31 points and a plus-4 with just 4 PIMs for the surprising first-place Panthers.
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Bergeron's play earns him Selke consideration

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

Before last week, there were only two active NHL players who had won the Selke Trophy -- Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk (three times) and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler (once). When Florida signed John Madden on Jan. 4, that raised the total to three. The point is, the players who once were considered the standard among defensive-minded forwards -- Rod Brind’Amour, Jere Lehtinen, Michael Peca -- all are gone.
 
Datsyuk basically is the bridge between those players and a younger generation of talented, responsible forwards. Kesler was the first to break through last season, but others could derail Datsyuk's march to what would be a record-tying fourth Selke. Besides the two players not named Datsyuk listed below, there are other skaters, like Los Angeles' Mike Richards and Chicago's Jonathan Toews, who have earned recognition as elite defensive forwards who one day could lay claim to this award.
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Despite injury, RNH remains Calder frontrunner

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

A shoulder injury may hinder Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' chances of taking home the Calder Memorial Trophy, but at the midway point of the season, the Edmonton Oilers' center has proven himself to be the League's top first-year player.

The 18-year-old was expected to make noise this season after being selected first by the Oilers last June. Four months into his first NHL season, Nugent-Hopkins ranks second on the team in scoring, behind only Jordan Eberle, scoring 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) in just 38 games. The 35 points is tops among all NHL rookies.
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Rangers' Lundqvist the frontrunner for Vezina Trophy

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

As we reach the halfway point of the 2011-12 season, it's evident that the battle for the Vezina Trophy is about as fluid and wide-open as any race for NHL hardware.

At the quarter-point of the season, this site named Pekka Rinne as the League's best goaltender. His numbers -- 2.22 goals-against average, .932 save percentage -- showed he deserved that distinction while manning the net more frequently than most.

But his play recently has slipped. Rinne currently sports a 2.61 GAA and .917 save percentage. His 20 wins in 37 games prove he's excelling in the one category that matters most to goaltenders, but his dip in play has taken him out of the Vezina talk -- for now.
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This season's Hart race could be one for the ages

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

The halfway point of the season is here and there are plenty of potential candidates for the Hart Trophy as the League's MVP for the 2011-12 season. But, of course, only one winner and two runner-ups are allowed, so some difficult choices had to be made.
 
They are...
 
Winner
 
Claude Giroux
Right Wing - PHI
GOALS: 18 | ASST: 30 | PTS: 48
SOG: 101 | +/-: 5
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia -- He was NHL.com's leading candidate for the Hart Trophy at the quarter-mark of the season and the Flyers' Mr. Everything has done nothing to lose his status. Giroux has been the League's most complete player this season. He entered the week with 48 points, one fewer than League leader Henrik Sedin. But, he has played in only 36 games while Sedin was set to play in his 43rd game on Monday night. Giroux has scored 18 goals and dished out 30 assists. He's averaging 1.33 points per game and is on pace for 98 points this season.
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Panthers' Dineen still favorite to win Jack Adams

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

Now is the time when contenders begin separating themselves from the pretenders as conference seeds begin to take shape.
 
A key to establishing that success is direction from the coach as clubs seek the proper line adjustments and chemistry during the season's second half. It's amazing to think that since the quarter-mark of the season, there have been five coaching changes (Washington, Carolina, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Montreal).
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Norris may well be in Chara's future again

Monday, 01.09.2012 / 3:00 PM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

There have been some breakout performers this season on defense, but as the halfway point beckons, the top spots in the race for the Norris Trophy are occupied by the players who have been among the League's elite in recent seasons.
 
Florida's Brian Campbell has been vital to the Panthers' surprising success, and if there was room for a fourth finalist on this list, it would be him. Ottawa's Erik Karlsson is having a fantastic offensive season, but he's been on the ice for the third-most goals-against at even strength. 
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Vezina Tracker: Rinne has been Nashville's backbone

Thursday, 11.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The National Hockey League reached the first-quarter mark this week of what has already been a memorable 2011-12 season. To celebrate, the NHL.com staff is taking a look at the early favorites for each of the major NHL end-of-season trophies with the first installment of our Trophy Tracker feature. Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses. All statistics for this edition of the Trophy Trackers are as of games completed by Nov. 22.

Pekka Rinne
Goalie - NSH
RECORD: 10-4-4
GAA: 2.22 | SVP: 0.932
There are plenty of worthy candidates for the Vezina Trophy with the season now 25 percent complete. Some of the names are familiar ones (Tim Thomas), others are blasts from the past (Nikolai Khabibulin), and there are a couple of players no one expected to bounce back from sub-par play in recent seasons (Niklas Backstrom and Mike Smith).

As solid as those goaltenders have been, none make the cut for the Vezina finalists at this point of the season. There has been outstanding play between the pipes all across the League, but these are the three who deserve the most praise.
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Trio of first-year coaches among Adams leaders

Thursday, 11.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

The National Hockey League reached the first-quarter mark this week of what has already been a memorable 2011-12 season. To celebrate, the NHL.com staff is taking a look at the early favorites for each of the major NHL end-of-season trophies with the first installment of our Trophy Tracker feature. Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses. All statistics for this edition of the Trophy Trackers are as of games completed by Nov. 22.

Can Dan Bylsma become the first head coach to win the Jack Adams Award in consecutive seasons since Detroit's Jacques Demers did it more than two decades ago?

With the way the Pittsburgh Penguins have persevered in the first quarter of the season to remain a top contender in the Eastern Conference despite the absence of Sidney Crosby, it wouldn't be a surprise.
 
Currently, there are nine active coaches who have heard their name called as the League's finest at the end of the season, including Bylsma, Joel Quenneville, Jacques Martin, John Tortorella, Lindy Ruff, Alain Vigneault, Bruce Boudreau, Claude Julien, and Dave Tippett.
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Weber setting pace to claim first Norris Trophy

Thursday, 11.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

The National Hockey League reached the first-quarter mark this week of what has already been a memorable 2011-12 season. To celebrate, the NHL.com staff is taking a look at the early favorites for each of the major NHL end-of-season trophies with the first installment of our Trophy Tracker feature. Stay tuned for updates as the season progresses. All statistics for this edition of the Trophy Trackers are as of games completed by Nov. 22.

Shea Weber is ninth in the NHL among defensemen with 14 points. (Photo: John Russell/NHLI)
Nicklas Lidstrom has won the James Norris Memorial Trophy seven times in his illustrious career. That ties him with Doug Harvey for the second-most all-time, one behind the greatest defenseman of any era, Bobby Orr.

Lidstrom won No. 7 last season, and the 41-year-old defenseman is off to another fine start with 6 goals and 14 points in 19 games. His quest for a record-tying eighth Norris Trophy could dominate the discussion about the award if he continues to play this well.

For now though, he just misses our top three candidates for the award as the season passes the quarter turn of the 2011-12 season. Consider him No. 3A on this list, with Nashville's Ryan Suter and Pittsburgh Kris Letang also in the mix for a spot among the finalists.
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