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With the 2013-2014 NHL season in the books, Scott Cullen has his final take on the aw
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With the 2013-2014 NHL season in the books, Scott Cullen has his final take on the award races. Cheap Thunder Jerseys China . As I get more interested in hockeys advanced stats, there comes a challenge when handing out awards and it dovetails with a discussion that occurred at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference this year. When discussing a college football ranking, ESPNs Dean Oliver asserted that the "best" and "most deserving" teams arent necessarily the same thing. As it pertains to college football, its entirely possible to see a team that has lost still get favoured against an unbeaten team (think Alabama vs. Notre Dame in the 2013 national championship game) because their relative strength of schedule isnt the same. At the same time, an unbeaten Notre Dame team had every right to be included in that game because of what they had accomplished. It can get complicated trying to weigh the results with the circumstances under which those results were achieved. How does this apply to end-of-season hockey awards? Well, individual hockey players dont all get the same opportunities or play against the same level of competition and that has to be taken into account. At the same time, in many cases, there is an element of good fortune involved to be considered among the elite players in a given category and some of that can pertain to percentages that arent sustainable over the long-term. When it comes to awards, though, Im still of the opinion that a player shouldnt be penalized for scoring on a higher percentage of his shots than normal. It may not be something that he can carry over to future years, but thats not relevant to the discussion of a players contribution in the 2013-2014 NHL season. With that in mind, here are my picks: HART TROPHY Winner: Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Runners-up: Ryan Getzlaf, C, Anaheim; Joe Pavelski, C/LW, San Jose Comment: While there is an argument to be made that Getzlafs production, in the Western Conference, could warrant the honour, Crosbys production against the West (35 points in 27 games) was plenty impressive and he topped 100 points this season despite having a mish-mash collection of right wingers after Pascal Dupuis was hurt. Yes, an injury to Pascal Dupuis raised Crosbys level of difficulty. In any event, Crosby played at least 80 games for only the third time in his career and topped 100 points for the fifth time and is a deserving MVP. Thats not to suggest that Getzlaf didnt have a great season in his own right, scoring a career-high 31 goals and his 87 points in 77 games represented the best points-per-game scoring rate of his career. Pavelski, who has long been a very good player, raised the bar this year, finishing a career-best 18.2% of his shots on his way to scoring a career-high 41 goals and 79 points. Pavelskis strong finish (23 points in the last 21 games) pulled him ahead of Alex Ovechkin, the leagues only 50-goal scorer. Getzlafs right winger, Corey Perry, is right in the discussion as well after finishing with 43 goals, including a league-best 35 at even strength. NORRIS TROPHY Winner: Duncan Keith, Chicago Runners-up: Shea Weber, Nashville; Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Comment: For much of the year, Keith has been at the head of the class, a dominant two-way player on a dominant team, but Webers impressive finish (8 G, 8 A in final 17 GP) closed the gap, enough that when digging deeper, to compare quality of competition, teammates and zone starts, that Webers my choice in a very close race. I wouldnt have any qualms about Erik Karlsson winning either, even with a minus-16 rating. Karlsson has a rare ability to drive play forward which is shown in his strong Relative Corsi, though his plus-minus ended up being undermined by subpar goaltending when he was on the ice. If he played a full slate of games, Calgarys Mark Giordano would have a strong case, because he had an exceptional season, without an ideal supporting cast, and Tampa Bays Victor Hedman was lurking around the race for much of the season, scoring a career-best 55 points with strong possession stats. VEZINA TROPHYWinner: Tuukka Rask, Boston Runners-up: Semyon Varlamov, Colorado; Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Comment: Theres not a lot to choose between the leagues top goaltenders, but Rask led the league in 5-on-5 save percentage (.942) as well as overall (.930), good enough to take home the hardware. Varlamov, who doesnt have the benefit of a strong defensive unit, gets the first runner-up spot while Ben Bishop and Carey Price are so close for the next that Bishop gets the edge for playing a handful more games. Reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky is close to that group as well, but not quite. CALDER TROPHYWinner: Ondrej Palat, LW, Tampa Bay Runners-up: Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado; Jacob Trouba, D, Winnipeg Comment: This was really a surprisingly good race, as Palat wouldnt go away, even once MacKinnon surged into the rookie scoring lead. MacKinnon held on to win that race, 63 points to Palats 59, but Palat faced higher-quality competition, as he was an offensive driver for the Lightning even while Steven Stamkos was injured. Its very close, to be sure, but I give Palat the edge. Among the runner-ups, Jacob Trouba gets the edge over Torey Krug even though Trouba missed 17 games. Trouba played more minutes, against tougher competition and was productive in that role. Krug was really a power play ace for the Bruins, scoring 19 of his 40 points with the man advantage, but he didnt have the kind of responsibility that the Jets put upon Trouba. Palats frequent linemate, centre Tyler Johnson, was also a worthy candidate after scoring 24 goals to tie MacKinnon for the rookie lead. SELKE TROPHYWinner: Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Runners-up: Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles; David Backes, C, St. Louis. Comment: This is an increasingly fascinating award, as more and more statistical measures become available to help gauge a players effectiveness. When looking at the top contenders -- Bergeron, Kopitar, Backes, Jonathan Toews, Gabriel Landeskog, Alexander Steen -- they are all very good two-way players. Landeskog, Toews, Backes and Steen face the higher quality of competition, Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews have the most dominant possession numbers, and Bergeron does it while starting 46.6% of his shifts in the offensive zone. The numbers, then, support Bergeron, who won the award in 2012. LADY BYNG AWARDWinner: Ryan OReilly, RW, ColoradoRunners-up: Tyler Seguin, C, Dallas; Jay Bouwmeester, D, St. Louis Comment: There are many players who play a clean game with a high level of skill, but no one should match OReilly, the Avalanche forward who scored a career-high 64 points and took his only minor penalty (playing with a broken stick) in his 72nd game of the season. JACK ADAMS AWARDWinner: Jon Cooper, Tampa BayRunners-up: Patrick Roy, Colorado; Mike Babcock, Detroit Comment: Its difficult to determine how much credit a coach deserves for a teams success in a single year because sometimes that success is predicated on percentages. That doesnt inherently mean a coach isnt deserving, but if their success isnt sustainable, should a coach really be rewarded for his team being lucky? To that end, a hot goaltender can make a coach look awfully good and so it is with some trepidation that I take Jon Cooper as my Jack Adams pick, because goaltender Ben Bishop played such a big part in the Lightnings 101-point season. At the same time, Cooper kept the Lightning going even though Steven Stamkos was out for nearly four months with a broken tibia and they traded Martin St. Louis at the trade deadline. Pushing through that, with rookies like Palat and Johnson handling big minutes, is deserving of credit. Roy may be the popular choice, since hes a well-known former player, and hes no doubt improved the Avalanche, but how much of that is tied to Semyon Varlamovs superb season? Cooper faced a little more adversity. If adversity is the criteria, Babcock might have a strong claim. His best two players, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, each missed 37 games, and those were only the most prominent on a regularly long injured list. That the Wings reached the playoffs, with rookies scattered throughout their forward ranks by seasons end, is enough reason for consideration. Bostons Claude Julien, Anaheims Bruce Boudreau and Columbus Todd Richards are some others that I would give strong consideration to this season. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Carmelo Anthony Jersey . -- Canadian freestyle skier Roz Groenewoud isnt letting surgery to both of her knees deter her expectations for the Sochi Olympics. Steven Adams Jersey .com) - Fair Grounds commences its road to the Kentucky Derby Saturday with the 71st running of the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes. http://www.cheapthundersjerseys.com/ . 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