2012 NHL Awards Preview
This 2012 NHL Awards preview was written in 104 degree weather (that’s about 40 Celsius for our Canadian readers) at the luxurious Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, as we relax poolside. In a perfect world, that would be true. In all honesty, it’s being written from the EA Suite at the Wynn as we work to get everything ready for the culmination of the first-ever EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote campaign and the reveal of the NHL 13 cover. The suite will host some really cool media interviews for finalists Pekka Rinne and Claude Giroux prior to the actual awards ceremony. That being said, we’re very excited to tell you that the winner of the Cover Vote is…going to be unveiled LIVE on NBC & CBC at 7pm ET (4pm PT) on June 20 – so make sure you tune in! For behind-the-scenes access to the awards show and Giroux & Rinne, you can follow @EASPORTSNHL on Twitter, http://www.facebook.com/easportsnhl and @EASPORTSNHL on Instagram.
Although we can’t tell you who the winner will be just yet, there are plenty of NHL Awards we can speculate about it. Here is the Official EA SPORTS NHL 13 – 2012 NHL Awards Preview:
Scroll down for the complete breakdown, but if you want the too long, did not read version, here it is:
· Hart Memorial Trophy/Ted Lindsay Award – Malkin
· Vezina Trophy – Lundqvist/Rinne
· James Norris Memorial Trophy – Karlsson
· Calder Trophy – Landeskog
· Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – Eberle
· Frank J. Selke Trophy – Backes
· Jack Adams Award – Maclean
· General Manager of the Year - Tallon
Hart Memorial Trophy – The Hart Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season.
· Henrik Lundqvist – NYR (G)
· Evgeni Malkin – PIT (C)
· Steven Stamkos – TBL (C)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Malkin
How can it not be? Crosby and Staal both out for an extended period of time and Malkin manages to put the team on his back while racking up 50 goals, 109 points in a season that reestablishes him as premier player. Stamkos and Lundqvist both had great seasons but neither were as important to their team as Malkin was to the Penguins.
Vezina Trophy - The Vezina Trophy is an annual award given to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position as voted by the general managers of all NHL clubs.
· Henrik Lundqvist – NYR (G)
· Pekka Rinne – NSH (G)
· Jonathan Quick – LAK (G)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Lundqvist/Rinne
All three goalies have spectacular numbers across the board. Shockingly enough, Lundqvist has never won the Vezina Trophy. Neither has Rinne, but he’s younger and has not been viewed as a top goaltender as long as Lundqvist has been. This one seems to be too close to call, if voting were taking place after the playoffs, I’m sure we’d all give it to Quick.
James Norris Memorial Trophy - The James Norris Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.
· Zdeno Chara – BOS (D)
· Erik Karlsson – OTT (D)
· Shea Weber – NSH (D)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Karlsson
A young gun in the truest form. Karlsson’s spectacular play on the backend, especially in an offensive fashion where he racked up nearly 20 goals and 60 assists, powered the Ottawa Senators into the playoffs in a season where many felt they would finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Calder Memorial Trophy – The Calder Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.
· Adam Henrique – NJD (C)
· Gabriel Landeskog – COL (LW)
· Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – EDM (C)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Landeskog
While the three nominees finished nearly even at just over 50 points, it was Landeskog’s consistency in play, namely his +20 marker that separates him from the pack. Outstanding at all ends of the ice in his rookie season, Landeskog will be a player that the Avalanche will look to in years to come to help drive them back into Stanley Cup contention.
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is an annual award given to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
· Brian Campbell – FLA (D)
· Jordan Eberle – EDM (RW)
· Matt Moulson – NYI (LW)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Eberle
Another case of too close to call, but we’re giving it to Eberle because it’s tough to keep your head on straight when your team has finished at the bottom or near bottom each season you’ve been a part of the team. It’s frustrating.
Frank J. Selke Trophy - The Frank J. Selke Trophy is an annual award given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
· David Backes – STL (C)
· Patrice Bergeron – BOS (C)
· Pavel Datsyuk – DET (C)
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Backes
Underrated, underappreciated and a deserving winner. Datsyuk is Datsyuk as always and Bergeron is tough to compete with in his own end and in the faceoff circle, but Backes brings an added grit and toughness that is hard to quantify on the stat sheet.
Jack Adams Award - The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach judged to have contributed the most to his team's success.
· Ken Hitchcock – STL
· Paul Maclean – OTT
· John Tortorella – NYR
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Maclean
As we mentioned in the Karlsson breakdown, the Senators made the playoffs during a season when many expected them to falter heavily, that speaks volumes about the work Maclean did this past season.
General Manager of the Year - presented to recognize the work of the league’s general managers, voting for this new award is conducted among the 30 club general managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the regular season.
· Doug Armstrong – STL
· David Poile – NSH
· Dale Tallon – FLA
EA SPORTS NHL’s call: Tallon
It’s hard to pass up Armstrong, and Poile’s test will likely be this upcoming season, but Tallon led the Panthers to their first ever Southeast Division title and that should be recognized. Although many will say that the Capitals had a tough regular season and that allowed the Panthers to capture the division, the fact that they were there to do it, belongs largely to Tallon’s ability to take pieces that teams had cast away and fashion them into a contender.