Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The National Hockey League handed out the hardware for the 2006-07 season. All winners were certainly deserving of taking these hallowed prizes home. Here is a rundown of the awards:
The Presidents’ Trophy is awarded to the team with the best overall record and the Buffalo Sabres took this home after a great regular season. Unfortunately for fans of the team, they bowed out early in the playoffs.
The Prince of Wales Trophy and the Clarence Campbell Bowl are awarded to the division champions of the eastern and western conference respectively. The Ottawa Senators won in the east before succumbing to the Stanley Cup champion and Campbell Bowl winning Anaheim Ducks. Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
Alain Vigneault, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year after a very successful season behind their bench.
Sidney Crosby was the big winner of the year, taking the Art Ross Trophy for being the top scorer in the league, the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award for the most outstanding player as selected by his peers in the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA).
The Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year went to Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguin teammate, Evgeni Malkin after a terrific first campaign.
Fellow Detroit Red Wings stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk did the motor city proud with Lidstrom winning the James Norris Trophy as top defenseman and Datsyuk winning the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly conduct.
Rod Brind’Amour was awarded the Frank Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the league.
Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils won the Vezina Trophy for top goaltender, while Minnesota Wild goalies Niklas Backstrom and Manny Fernandez took home the William M. Jennings Trophy having the fewest goals scored against for the season.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Vincent Lacavalier was presented the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer.
The Bill Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player best showing qualities of perseverance and sportsmanship, was given to Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins.
Saku Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions.
The Lester Patrick Trophy, given to players showing outstanding service to hockey in the United States was awarded to Steve Yzerman, Gordon “Red” Berenson, Reed Larson, Glen Sonmor and Marcel Dionne.
Even though there were no real surprises as each of the awards was presented, it was apparent that this was a very good year for hockey.