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Three Year End Awards

by Bill Davidge / Columbus Blue Jackets

April 10

Most Valuable Player(s)
Antoine Vermette and R.J. Umberger
Both players are deserving of this award. Both players played all 82 games and were instrumental in every aspect of the game from even strength success, power play and penalty killing time. The game is played in a different manner by each, but the end result is the same. Respectful of the term Most Valuable, both players represent the award in a class and genuine way.

Most Improved Player
Jakub Voracek
Jake grew as a player this year. He gained confidence as the season moved forward and was a constant impact on the Umberger-Brassard line. It allowed the CBJ to have two solid offensive lines, especially during the Noel era. Mike Babcock made the comment that Columbus possibly possesses the two best power right wingers in the NHL with Nash and Voracek. He reveals the total package of a player at both ends of the rink. He will be called upon next year to continue to increase his point production once again.

Best Defenseman
Kris Russell
Who would have thought? Where is Hejda? Where is Klesla? Where is Tyutin? Injuries on one front allowed the emergence of the 22-year-old. He was called upon to develop into the Noel system of speed and tempo. He accepted the challenge and the growth was constant and obvious. He willed his way into the transition game that was representative of speed and deception. He learned to change gears. He looked off his opponents in his passes and improved his shot selection and ability to avoid blocked shots. He was a joy to watch, but a pleasure to see improve. He worked hard at his game all year.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac's Blog," "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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