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NHL Midseason Awards: Norris and Jack Adams
- Updated: January 12, 2011
With the midway point of the NHL season here, we decided to award the top NHL awards to players and coaches if the season were to end at the 41-game mark. Today we feature the Norris Trophy for Best Defenseman and the Jack Adams Award for Most Outstanding Coach.
EB – To be a top defender requires a well balance of offensive capability andof course defensive dominance. Defense though is not simply a +/- rating, but also doing the dirty work needed, such as blocking shots, to keep the puck out of your own net. I have to recommend Anaheim Duck’s defenseman Toni Lydman. Lydman is having a career high of +23 rating. Factor in over 20 minutes of play each night, 17 points, only one of them from the power-play, and 106 blocked shots, Lydman is doing what it takes to give his team a chance to win every night.
Chris – My nomination for this award goes to Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Letang has really stepped up his game this season and is getting the job done at both ends of the ice. Not only does he have 36 points so far on the season, already beating his previous career-best of 33, but he also sports a healthy plus-21, which is good for third best in the NHL for defenseman. But what’s really amazing is that only one-third of his points have come on the power play, which means Letang is doing a lot of damage during 5-on-5 play. Letang is a big reason for Pittsburgh’s success and is well on his way to a career year. If he can keep up this pace, Letang could be a serious contender for the Norris next summer.
Eddie- It honestly took me a while to decide who should win this award. Letang is solid, Lydman is good, and Detroit Red Wings fans don’t call him Nick Norris for nothing. Nick Lidstrom is my pick for the Norris because at the age of 40, he’s playing better than ever. He tallied his first-career hat trick this season, as well as having a career-best 11-game point streak. He’s one Norris Trophy short of tying Doug Harvey for second-most all-time. Only legend Bobby Orr has had more. Many Red Wings fans think this might be his last season, but with the way he’s playing he could easily play another two seasons.
Matt- At the midway point, Nicklas Lidstrom is the Norris Trophy winner. At 40 years old, Lidstrom is proving night in andnight out that he’s still got it. Currently, he’s tied with Dustin Byfuglien for the league lead among defensemen with 41 points. Lately, he’s been showing his offensive skills as well as defensive. But regardless of how well the other defenseman in the league may be playing, there’s no other player I would want leading my defensive corps besides Nick Lidstrom.
Jack Adams Award
EB – Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins wins hand down. The team rode a 12 game winning streak at one point in time, and has an overall record of 26-12-4 in a tough Atlantic division. The team recently followed in HBO’s 24/7 Penguins/Capitals: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, shedded light into the coaching style of Bylsma. A poised, positive coach with a determination to not only win every game, but treating his players with respect.
Chris -When the season started, everyone believed the Lightning would be better after some of the additions made to the team, but I’m not sure anyone thought the team would be 2nd in the East at the halfway point of the season, which is why my vote goes to Guy Boucher. The Lightning have the fourth best power play in the NHL and the eighth best penalty kill despite having lackluster defense and sub par goaltending. Go ahead, take a look at Dan Ellis’s numbers, especially his fantastic 3.02 goals against average. Regardless, Boucher has this team winning games and staying competitive in a division normally dominated by the Washington Capitals.
Eddie- One of the teams usand many other hockey publications predicted to finish down the Western standings and out of the playoff race was Dallas. But at this point in the season, they have a 25-13-5 record and are leading the Pacific division. Without long time Stars Mike Modano and Marty Turco, they chose not to rebuild but rather change on the fly and reload. Marc Crawford is my pick for the Jack Adams Award. They currently ride a seven-game road winning streak and they have 13 road wins. The only teams with more wins away from home ice are the New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.
Matt- It’s hard to argue with what Chris has stated, and even harder to argue with what Boucher has done in Tampa Bay. He doesn’t have the absolute best talent to fill the ice, but he is getting the most of what he does have. It becomes even more ridiculous when you see that the Lightning have fewer goals for than goals against. Boucher is getting the job done, something that hasn’t been done in Tampa Bay since 2004 with John Tortorella.