NHL Saturday has reached the end of the turbulent 2000s, which included a canceled season and a strong recovery from such a public-relation disaster. As we have stated before, professional hockey in North America may be the only pure pro sport left in our midst. Enjoy it for what it’s worth, sports fans, and get onboard the ice bandwagon!
Enjoy today’s read …
2009 Hart: Alex Ovechkin (original), Evgeni Malkin (revised)
Three forwards separated themselves from the masses: Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (14.46 Point Shares), New Jersey Devils LW Zach Parise (12.78), and Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (12.60). Ovi won the vote again, but with a 15-point playoff cushion for the Caps, that leaves the door open for one of the other two guys to maybe steal the hardware from him.
Alas, the Devils had a 13-point margin of safety themselves, while the Pens had just an 6-point edge on the No. 9 team in the Eastern Conference. So while Ovechkin may have been the best player, we’re looking at Malkin as the most valuable this time out. We took away his Calder in 2007, but we’re giving him something more special here, obviously.
Malkin topped the NHL in assists (78) and points (113) while scoring 35 goals, posting a plus-17 rating, and notching 80 PIMs, too. He was just 22 years old, and Malkin would later go on to lead the NHL one other time in points. His 22:31 ATOI was a career best, too.
2009 Norris: Zdeno Chara (original), Mike Green (revised)
Boston Bruins journeyman Zdeno Chara (10.5 PS) won the Norris vote, despite five other defensemen finishing with equal or better PS marks. So, we also have to consider Capitals youngster Mike Green (13.9), Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidström (11.2), San Jose Sharks veteran Dan Boyle (10.6), Nashville Predators youngster Shea Weber (10.5), and Bruins stalwart Dennis Wideman (10.5).
Obviously, Chara and Wideman cancel each other out, so that’s a start. We’re not sure what voters were thinking here. We know Washington had that 15-point cushion, and Detroit was 23 points clear of the offseason. The Sharks were safe by 28 points, and the Preds came up 3 points short of the postseason. Green was clear of everyone else, anyway, in straight-up value, but he also takes this analysis as well.
Just 23 years old, Green registered 73 points (31G, 42 A) while earning 68 PIMs and a plus-24 rating, too. His 25:46 ATOI would be a career-best effort, too, as he retired after the 2020 season ended without having topped it.
2009 Vezina: Tim Thomas (original), Henrik Lundqvist (revised)
Six goaltenders placed in the league’s Top 10 overall for PS: Minnesota Wild netminder Niklas Bäckström (15.58), Bruins phenom Tim Thomas (14.70), Florida Panthers veteran Tomas Vokoun (14.62), New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist (13.73), Edmonton Oilers journeyman Dwayne Roloson (13.08), and Carolina Hurricanes youngster Cam Ward (12.91).
Thomas won the vote, as the Bruins finished 23 points ahead of the offseason, while the Wild missed the playoffs by 2 points and the Panthers missed out on the postseason due to a tiebreaker. The Rangers slipped into the playoffs by 2 points themselves, and the Oilers finished 4 points behind the Wild. The Hurricanes had a 4-point playoff cushion.
Thomas won’t win this for the second year in a row, and we have to look at Lundqvist and Ward as our leaders, but Lundqvist takes our Vezina here due to better PS overall and that playoff margin. Without him, the Rangers are golfing early. He won our Calder nod in 2006, and now he gets this hardware, too: 38-25-7, 2.43 GAA, .916 S%, and 70 starts tell the story, although voters placed him just sixth. Shame!
2009 Calder: Steve Mason (original, confirmed)
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason (11.2) was the only rookie to post double-digit PS, and he won the vote, but we still will consider Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne (9.9) for this award, too. Why? Because we can. Columbus snuck into the Western Conference playoffs by 3 points, as the BJs made the postseason for the first time, so it will be tough to top that.
Rinne got the Preds to within 3 of the playoffs, so that’s not going to top Mason’s edges here. His numbers—33-20-7, 2.29 GAA, .916 S%, and a NHL-high 10 shutouts—almost make it seem like Mason could have been a contender for the Vezina, but alas his PS mark wasn’t high enough, really, to warrant consideration there. This is a pretty good consolation prize, though.
2009 Conn Smythe: Evgeni Malkin (original, confirmed)
The Penguins topped the Red Wings in Game 7 on the road in Detroit, 2-1, to take the Cup away from the defending champions, and Malkin got the Conn Smythe vote for posting 36 points in 24 games with a whopping 51 PIMs, too. Pens C Sidney Crosby posted 31 points in 24 games, with a team-best plus-9 rating, as the only other Pittsburgh contender here.
As for Detroit, no one on the roster stood out here. We will confirm Malkin’s all-around awesomeness in the postseason. The points and PIMs combination is impressive, as was his 20:57 ATOI mark for the playoffs as a whole, best among the Pens’ forwards corps. Malkin becomes the first player since Mario Lemieux in 1992 to take two awards in this space in the same season.