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.
Selke winner two years in a row
Patrice Bergeron, one of the most underrated elite centers in the game has won his second Frank J. Selke Trophy in a row, “in recognition of the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game”. Though the Boston Bruins season was disappointing, Bergeron still was a light in the darkness.
Bergeron beat out the likes of Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews for this sought after offensive recognition.
“It’s definitely, you look at the names that have won it three times, it’s pretty special to be now part of it and humbling at the same time,” Bergeron said. “Winning the awards or not, I wouldn’t change the way I play the game.”
Dubnyk wins Masterton after storybook season
Though all three candidates were very deserving, as someone who personally was there for the beginning part of Devan Dubnyk’s season, I couldn’t see the Masterton award going to someone more deserving.
Dubnyk’s 2013-2014 season is one that he has put in the past, and for good reason. After starting with the Edmonton Oilers, Dubnyk was traded to the Nashville Predators, who then traded him to the Montreal Canadiens who just put him in their AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is for the player who, “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” Devan did all of this and more in his start with the Arizona Coyotes this season in the shadows of a struggling Mike Smith, until he found his success with the Minnesota Wild. Dubnyk is an exceptional goalie, and an even better man.
“When you’re in Hamilton and you’re back on the bus and rotating three guys, it’s tough to see past that I guess. You try to but when you’re in it, it’s real tough to see past it,” said Dubnyk. “I think the best thing is to get a break from the season and get that chance in the summer to reflect on everything that had happened and why it happened and like I said up there, you realize how lucky you are to have these people in your life. They’re there for you no matter what happens or what you’re doing, if you’re playing hockey or playing good or bad at whatever you’re doing. It’s not going to change. When you realize that you can take the pressure off and go play and I’m fortunate enough to have people around me like that.”
Burns wins NHL Foundation Player Award
Brent Burns is an incredible guy. This was a suspicion of mine, up until seeing it in person post NHL Foundation Player Award win when he talked passionately about everything (animals, charity, the military, etc.) to the media for more than 20 minutes.
The NHL Foundation Player Award presents $25,000 to the winners charity of choice.
According to the NHL website:
Burns has selected two beneficiaries: Defending the Blue Line, affording children of military members the opportunity to participate in the game of hockey by providing hockey equipment, game tickets and unique experiences with professional athletes, and Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships for family members of injured and/or deceased military men and women.
Burns said when he retires, he doesn’t know whether he’ll be a zoo keeper or in the military between his passion for both. Burns even shared his love for goaltending saying, “I’ve always wanted to play goalie, but my flexibility is embarrassing.”
Messier Leadership Award
Jonathan Toews took home this year’s Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, which is awarded to a player “in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community.”
According to the NHL:
The award recognizes an individual as a superior leader in hockey and as a contributing member of society. It honors an individual who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and dedication to community activities and charitable causes.
“It all started with Jonathan coming in there, taking over the leadership role, and good things have followed ever since,” Messier said about choosing Jonathan. “It’s been working towards this moment for a long time in my opinion, and I couldn’t be happier with our choice. And certainly more than worthy of the nomination and the award today.”
Toews gave his input saying, “It’s hard for me to believe and it’s almost something you feel bashful or I guess embarrassed is the wrong word. It’s something you don’t feel worthy of. It’s an incredible honor.”
Hartley wins Jack Adams
The Calgary Flames had an exciting season, to say the least. One of the biggest contributing factor to their incredible season was their head coach, Bob Hartley. It is no surprise that Hartley took home the Jack Adams Award as “the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success,” because he helped show what this truly means.
Hartley helped define the team’s name of the “comeback kids”, and it is hard to imagine that they would’ve made it as far as they did without his help.
“”You cannot coach and think that it’s about you; it’s about the team,”said Hartley to the media post win.
Yzerman gets GM of the Year
The Tampa Bay Lightning had a fantastic season, that’s for sure. Making it all the way to the finals, only to loose to the Chicago Blackhawks. You could say that this accomplishment was in part due to the clubs general manager. Steve Yzerman took home the award for the GM of the Year, and it is for a reason.
Yzerman helped the team rebuild, and in his first season with the team in 2011, was able to acquire star center Steven Stamkos. The Lightning set franchise records this season with 50 wins and 108 points during the regular season.
Per the NHL:
Voting for this award was conducted among the 30 Club General Managers and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media at the conclusion of the Second Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.