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Trophy Tracker

Chara leads Norris field with complete all-round game

Monday, 03.11.2013 / 1:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Even though he is one of only three active winners of the Norris Trophy, it is possible Zdeno Chara's value to the Boston Bruins is still understated.

He's captained the team to a Stanley Cup, and he's always in the mix for the award given to the top defenseman, but it would be hard to argue against him as the most valuable defenseman in the League (though fans in Ottawa would certainly try).

Chara's size, and ability to skate well for that size, is an advantage no other player can replicate. He is a security blanket for coach Claude Julien, and his ability to log 30 minutes if necessary makes it nearly impossible for an opposing coach to win matchup battles.

Huberdeau emerges as midway Calder favorite

Sunday, 03.10.2013 / 1:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

As the NHL rookie pool continues to impress throughout the season, it's easy to see why naming a winner for the Calder Trophy won't be easy.

The player appearing to be the favorite three weeks ago may very well be knocked from his perch at a moment's notice, as different first-year players begin familiarizing themselves with game plans and linemates.

At the halfway point in the season, believes Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau is the frontrunner to win the award. At the quarter pole, St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, who has since been placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion Feb. 20, was considered the favorite.

Quenneville is Adams favorite at season's midpoint

Saturday, 03.09.2013 / 11:37 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

The Chicago Blackhawks made it halfway through the 2012-13 season without feeling the disappointment of defeat after 60 minutes.

That's right; 50 percent of the season had already passed, yet Joel Quenneville's club had a grand total of zero regulation losses.

That all changed Friday night in game No. 25 when the Blackhawks dropped a decision to the Colorado Avalanche, but that should not take away from the team's accomplishments.

Senators' Anderson still ahead in Vezina race

Friday, 03.08.2013 / 1:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

When Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins won the Vezina Trophy in 2011, it was a bit of a rarity because he appeared in 57 games that season. It had been 21 years since a goaltender played in fewer games and won the Vezina, dating to when Patrick Roy played 54 games in 1989-90 and captured the trophy.

Thomas made 55 starts in 2011, which constitutes 67.1 percent of his team’s games that season. There’s an above-average chance the Vezina winner in 2013 will play an even lower percentage of games on his way to the award.

Blackhawks put Quenneville at front of Adams field

Friday, 02.15.2013 / 1:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Brian Compton - Deputy Managing Editor

Things haven't gone exactly as planned for the Chicago Blackhawks since they hoisted the Stanley Cup in June 2010. In fact, they haven't won a Stanley Cup Playoff series.

But if Joel Quenneville's team continues to perform the way it has through the first quarter of this regular season, there's a good chance the Blackhawks could possess home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

Quenneville has done a tremendous job in the early going. Through the Blackhawks' first 13 games -- 10 played on the road -- they are the only team in the NHL that has yet to suffer a regulation loss (10-0-3). That alone is good enough reason to choose Quenneville as our Jack Adams Award winner for the first quarter of the 2012-13 season.

Blues' Tarasenko early leader in Calder Trophy race

Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

There's little doubt the number of first-year players finding success during this shortened NHL season will make choosing this year's Calder Memorial Trophy winner a painstaking task.

Several names already have been mentioned as viable candidates as the League's top rookie, but at the quarter-mark of the season, St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is our favorite to capture the award.

Not since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin burst upon the scene in 2006-07 has a Russian player started his career with such promise. During Malkin's Calder Trophy-winning season, he opened with seven goals and 11 points in six games.

Tarasenko had four goals and eight points in his first six games, leaving little doubt that the 2010 first-round NHL Draft pick (No. 16) was ready for the North American game. He's also earned the trust and respect of coach Ken Hitchcock, who has the 21-year-old earning quality minutes among the top-six forwards. He's played mostly on a line with Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen.

Race for Norris Trophy could have several contenders

Wednesday, 02.13.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

Editor's note: This story was written before Erik Karlsson suffered an Achilles injury on Wednesday that will sideline him indefinitely. The Ottawa Senators said the defenseman would need surgery.

Erik Karlsson had an incredible offensive season in 2011-12, one so dominant voters were willing to look past some typical requirements (his lack of ice time killing penalties, for instance) to name him the Norris Trophy winner.

Karlsson had 19 goals and 78 points for the Ottawa Senators, 25 more than the nearest competition at his position. Though not one of the premiere defensive players, Karlsson's numbers were better than might be expected for someone not afraid to venture deep into the opponent's end.

Rinne's brilliance makes him Hart favorite so far

Tuesday, 02.12.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

Pekka Rinne
Goalie - NSH
RECORD: 4-3-3
GAA: 1.92 | SVP: 0.929
In a season of electrifying starts by some of the game's top offensive players, it's been the goaltending of Pekka Rinne that has made the biggest difference for any team in the NHL.

There are goaltenders with better numbers through the first quarter of season -- superior goals-against average and save percentage, more wins and shutouts -- but Rinne's performance for the Nashville Predators through 12 games is worthy of the Hart Trophy with 25 percent of the schedule complete.

It's not as if Rinne hasn't been dominant in his own right. He's fourth among starting goalies in GAA (1.92) and fifth in save percentage (.929) and has one shutout, but no goaltender this season has operated with a thinner margin of error or had as big an impact on his team's fortunes.

Anderson leads Crawford, Rinne in early Vezina race

Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dave Lozo - Staff Writer

On the night of Dec. 27, 2011, Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators was about as far away from a Vezina Trophy nomination as any goaltender in the NHL.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
RECORD: 6-2-2
GAA: 1.49 | SVP: 0.950
Nine months earlier, Anderson signed a four-year, $12.75 million contract, his first long-term deal after spending much of his career as a journeyman backup. He had one sensational season, with the Colorado Avalanche in 2009-10, but was traded to the Senators in 2011 for Brian Elliott, who was genuinely Vezina-worthy for the St. Louis Blues last season.

Two days after Christmas, in Anderson's first full season with the Senators, he was 15-12-3 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .895 save percentage.

Who should be patient and who should panic?

Monday, 02.11.2013 / 12:00 AM / Trophy Tracker

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

Is it time for panic or patience?

Several teams pegged as Stanley Cup contenders are wondering just that now that 25 percent of the truncated 2012-13 season already is in the books.

Let's take a closer look at five of them and try to determine if they're truly contenders or really just pretenders:


Time for: Patience

Why: Despite being a popular pick as the preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Rangers are a different team from last season and they're still trying to figure out who fits into what hole in the lineup.

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