The finalists for the Bill Masterton trophy, which is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey, have been announced. Jose Theodore (WSH), who played this season in the wake of his infant’s son tragic death, Kurtis Foster (TB), who returned to the game over a year after cracking his left femur, and former Ranger Jed Ortmeyer (SJ), who plays every day with a very dangerous blood disorder that almost caused him to retire twice. Chris Drury, who is not a finalist, was the Rangers nominee.
In other news, Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire has announced his retirement. In 1,213 career games, Lemaire had a record of 588-441-184 with Montreal, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Lemaire is also 61-56 in the playoffs, winning a Stanley Cup in 1994-1995.
The Norris Trophy finalists, for best defenseman, have been announced. There really shouldn’t be any surprises with this group of Drew Doughty (LA), Mike Green (WAS), and Duncan Keith (CHI). Simply put, Doughty and Keith are two of the best defensemen in the league, and will continue to be amongst the league’s best for many, many years. As for Green, just look at his numbers. Seriously, just look at them. Then remember that the Rangers traded up to get Lauri Korpikoski in the draft, 13 spots ahead of Green.
As more finalists for the major NHL awards get announced, we meet with no surprises for today’s finalists for the Calder trophy, awarded to the top rookie. The three finalists are Colorado’s Matt Duchene, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, and Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. In my opinion, I think this should go to Jimmy Howard, as he single-handedly got got Detroit into the playoffs after taking over for the struggling Chris Osgood. Of course, us Ranger fans know a lot about Tyler Myers, as he seems to be Joe Micheletti’s favorite player.
Next up in the NHL Awards finalists, the Lady Byng, awarded to “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” This year’s finalists are Brad Richards (Dallas), Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay), and the perennial pick for this award, Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit). Datsyuk has won this award the previous four years in a row, while St. Louis has finished second the previous three years, losing to Datsyuk of course.
The three of these players combined for a total of 22 minor penalties for the entire season. Let that one sink in for a minute or two.
Each day this week, the NHL will be announcing the three finalists for the offseason awards. Yesterday, the three Vezina finalists for best goalie were announced: Ryan Miller (Sabres), Ilya Bryzgalov (Coyotes), and Martin Brodeur (Devils). All three deserved to be nominated, yes Brodeur too, as they each had statistically superior years than the rest of the NHL goalie clan. The award should go to Miller, with Bryzgalov finishing second and Brodeur finishing third. Miller had an absolutely outstanding year, and deserves the award. Bryzgalov also had an outstanding year and carried the defensively-challenged Coyotes to a 100+ point year. Bryzgalov’s numbers are a bit below Miller’s numbers though, so Miller should still win the award.
Today, the Selke finalists for best defensive forward were announced: Jordan Staal (Penguins), Ryan Kesler (Canucks), and Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings). Datsyuk has won the award the previous two years, but all three are superb two way players and defensive specialists. I personally like Kesler to win, but that’s because I’m biased from the Olympics.
Chris Drury is the Rangers nominee for the Bill Masterton trophy, which is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. A member of the Rangers has won this award four times since its inception in 1967-68: Jean Ratelle (1970-71), Rod Gilbert (1975-76), Anders Hedberg (1984-85), and Adam Graves (2000-01).
It’s about time for some good news in November. Marian Gaborik was named the NHL’s Third Star of the month for November. Gaborik put together an impressive line for the month, putting up 11-8-19 in just 13 games.
The rest of the Rangers team had a combined 2 goals an 1 assist for November.
Ok, the last part isn’t true. But it sure does feel like it.
Rangers rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto has been awarded the NHL’s rookie of the month for October. Del Zotto, 19, finished October as the Rangers third leading scorer, putting up a line of 4-8-12 and a +3 in the first 14 games this season, leading all rookies through October (James vanRiemsdyk passed him recently).
Del Zotto has been nothing short of awesome for the Rangers. He adds a new dynamic to the powerplay, and is currently playing as a top 2-3 defenseman on the Rangers. He has been a pleasant surprise. Kudos to him, and very well deserved.
Ranger greats Mark Messier and Mike Richter are the 2009 recipients of the Lester Patrick Award, which is awarded for outstanding service to hockey in the US. The third recipient this year is Red Wings Senior Vice President Jim Devellano.
Former Ranger, and one of my favorites, Tony Amonte was elected to the US Hockey HOF, joining John Leclair and Tom Barrasso in the 2009 class. Amonte had two very successful seasons with the Rangers before being shipped to Chicago in the deal that brought Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan to NY, putting up 35-34-69 and 33-43-76.
Other than Mike York, who went on to nothing following his departure from NY, Amonte was the last Ranger rookie to really be a consistently legitimate scoring threat every time he touched the ice. Kudos to him, Leclair and Barrasso.