The NHL Awards is the time to honor the league’s most deserving players for all of their hard work during the regular season. The 2015 season gave many new and even unlikely faces a chance to shine their way into the hearts of the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association that get a chance to vote.
Taking home the hardware
This year, many players surprised the masses with nominations in categories that one might not expect, but were definitely deserving of. Carey Price, who dominated with four awards, was one of those surprising picks. The 27 year old net-minder for the Montreal Canadiens racked up the the Hart Trophy for the NHL’s most valuable player, the Vezina Trophy for the League’s best goaltender, and the Ted Lindsay Award which is voted upon by the players for being the most outstanding player. He also shares the William M. Jennings Trophy with Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford for allowing the fewest goals in the regular season at only 189.
“I’m very humbled,” Price said about winning the Ted Lindsay. “Especially the players, no offense to everybody else, but I’m very humbled by that because I compete against these guys. We go to war out there, and for them to vote for me is really special.”
Price is the first goaltender to ever win all four awards. He is also the first goaltender to win the Hart since the 2001-02 season when Montreal goalie Jose Theodore won and the first to win the Ted Lindsay Award since the 1997-98 season when Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres won.
“I don’t really know what to say. It’s been an amazing experience. This whole season has been just amazing,” said Price on the season. “To whoever didn’t vote for me, I guess I’ll try harder next year.”
Hudler first Czech player to win Lady Byng
Not only did Jiri Hudler give the best acceptance speech of all time (sans shoes), but he had a pretty dang awesome season. Hudler played a pivotal role in the Calgary Flames success this season with the help of the teams young additions. On Wednesday, June 24th, 2015, Jiri Hudler became the first Czech player in the NHL to win the Lady Byng. The Lady Byng is awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
“I know I’m the first Czech player to win it and that is all I care about,” Hudler told the media after his victory.
The hilarious 31-year-old centerman tried his hand at comedy unintentionally when he waltzed on stage shoeless to which he announced once he arrived on the stage, simply saying, “I have no shoes on, sorry.” So why didn’t Hudler have shoes? Simple. He said that they were “too stiff” after just buying them when he got to Vegas.
He cracked jokes about Johnny Hockey, and even spouted off fact after fact to the media afterwards, but the one thing that struck the most people was when he mentioned his infant daughter.
“Most of all, Jan. 7 was the best day of my life. My daughter was born, Anna Josefine,” he said in his speech. “You know what, sports awards are awesome, but life is life and I love my daughter.”
Karlsson collects second career Norris
Erik Karlsson is not all brooding good looks and man buns, he also has some excellent defensive skills that he has showcased with the Ottawa Senators. Karlsson led all defenseman in points 21 goals and 45 assists.
The James Norris Memorial Trophy is for the defenseman that demonstrates “the greatest all-around ability in the position.” Karlsson also won the award in 2012, and proved to the league’s writers that he was more deserving than P.K. Subban and Drew Doughty this season.
Ekblad wins rookie of the year
The rookies in the 2015 season were outstanding. There isn’t one of them that was more deserving than the other, but ultimately, someone has to win. That chosen winner though, just so happened to be Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers. The 19-year-old d-man narrowly beat out his competition of Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau.
The 2014 no. 1 overall pick showed that his potential was not all talk by showing off with an impressive rookie season. That being said, him being chosen as the Calder Trophy recipient could’ve gone any way, but he was certainly deserving.