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I saw that the guys on ESPN did this. I didn't feel like seeing what they had to say, instead making my own review and prediction for the rest of the season.

 

Surprise team:

Boston Bruins

This one was kind of tough to call here. I had expected improvements from pretty much all of the teams that have improved from last season. It came down to Chicago or Boston, and Boston was a team that I thought wouldn't be much more than terrible this season. I thought Tim Thomas was a pretty good goalie before the season, but he has been putting on a show out there this year. The late addition of Kobasew didn't seem like much, but he has turned it around and he's now a solid first liner.

 

Disappointing team:

Buffalo Sabres

Couldn't help but to expect a slight dropoff from this team after losing their top 2 centers, but I don't think anyone expected them to be as bad as they are. I still figured they would be in contention for a playoff berth, but I don't think they're going to be able to pull it off this season. They have a shot with some pretty weak competition in the East, but this team just flat out canNOT put the puck in the net.

 

Trophy Time:

 

Lady Bing Memorial (Sportsmanship):

Nicklas Lidstrom

Easy call here. He's one of the best ever to play the position and no one displays a higher degree of sportsmanship on and off the ice than this man.

 

Vezina (Top Goalie):

Henrik Lundqvist

He has really set himself apart from the pack thus far. He has started all but one game for the Rangers, not working with great defensemen in front of him, but he is stopping shots a ridiculous rate (93.1%) and giving up only 1.79 goals per outing. His 4 shutouts is second in the NHL and his win total is second as well. He gets the nod for being the best goalie so far. Honorable mention to a group of great defensive forwards as well.

 

Calder Memorial (Rookie of the Year):

Patrick Kane

Easy call here, so I'll keep it brief. 7 goals 15 assists for 22 points in his first 20 games as a big timer. Congrats on a fantastic start. Honorable mention to his teammate Jonathon Toews and an even bigger honorable mention to Tobias Enstrom.

 

Art Ross (Top Point-Getter):

Vincent Lecavalier

He's leading the league right now and I simply don't see things changing. He plays on an awesome line so his assists aren't going anywhere and I don't see his goals falling off with the caliber of his linemates set-up ability and considering he led the league last year.

 

James Norris Memorial (Best Defenseman):

Nicklas Lidstrom

This guy never seems to come off the ice, and he is extremely valuable every second he's on the ice. He does it all: sets his teammates up, puts the puck on the net, kills penalties, possibly the best power play defensemen in hockey and easily the best at controlling the puck and keeping it in the zone. He's been the best in the game for a while, no one can measure up with the things he brings to his team.

 

Frank J. Selke (Best Defensive Forward):

Rob Niedermayer

In my opinion he's been deserving of this award for a few years now, but I'll give him the edge over Brind'Amour this year. More of a lifetime award for this guy, but at the same time he's simply one of the best in the business in terms of backchecking.

 

Maurice "Rocket" Richard (Top Goal-Scorer):

Ilya Kovalchuk

He's putting on a show this season, and it's not going to stop. I'm not sure if he's quite hit his prime, but he sure is impressing me this year. This very well could be the first of many for an elite goal-scorer. 

 

Hart Memorial (MVP):

Ilya Kovalchuck

Popular picks would be Z, The Kid, or Lecavalier, but I choose the guy from Russia. All of the popular picks play on GREAT lines and I feel that their stats are padded somewhat because of that. Not only are their lines great, but they all have some pretty good defensive help as well. This keeps their teams on the attack longer than Ilya has the opportunity for. Plain and simple: He's the reason that team is anywhere in contention right now. Anyone remember when this team started off 0-6 and fired their coach? The reason they're able to turn it around rests entirely on the play of Kovalchuck.

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