The voting for NHL trophies -- Hart, Norris, Vezina, Calder, etc. -- will be difficult this season because many of the voters will only have watched games live in one conference.
With that in mind, we enlisted the services of six scouts (three from teams in the Eastern Conference, three from teams in the Western Conference) who have kept a watchful eye on all 30 teams this season.
Each scout on our panel was asked for their Top 3 for each of the following eight awards with a 3-2-1 voting calculation for first, second and third. Here were the results:
Most valuable to team as selected in a poll by Professional Hockey Writers' Association
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh (12)
2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago (11)
3. John Tavares, N.Y. Islanders (6)
Defenceman during season who demonstrates greatest all-round ability as selected by PHWA
1. P.K. Subban, Montreal (12)
2. Ryan Suter, Minnesota (10)
3. Duncan Keith, Chicago (5)
Best goalie as voted by NHL general managers
1. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus (10)
2. Antti Niemi, San Jose (8)
3. Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota (7)
Top rookie as selected by PHWA
1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida (13)
2. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal (12)
3. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota (5)
Lady Byng Trophy
Sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct & high standard of playing ability as selected by PHWA
1. Patrick Kane, Chicago (10)
2. Matt Moulson, N.Y. Islanders (8)
3. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay (4)
Also receiving votes: John Tavares, N.Y. Islanders (3); Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit (3); Jonathan Toews, Chicago (2); Phil Kessel, Toronto (2); Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg (2); Kris Letang, Pittsburgh (1); Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles (1).
Best defensive forward as selected by PHWA
1. Patrice Bergeron, Boston (14)
2. Jonathan Toews, Chicago (12)
3. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles (4)
Coach contributing most to team's success as determined by NHL Broadcasters' Association
1. Michel Therrien, Montreal (12)
2. Paul MacLean, Ottawa (11)
3. Joel Quenneville, Chicago (6)
Also receiving votes: Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim (4); Randy Carlyle, Toronto (3).
General Manager of Year
Top GM as voted by the 30 club GMs & panel of NHL executives, print & broadcast media
1. Marc Bergevin, Montreal (14)
2. Bob Murray, Anaheim (10)
3. Ray Shero, Pittsburgh (7)
Also receiving votes: Chuck Fletcher, Minnesota (3); Stan Bowman, Chicago (2).
Mr. Cooke goes to Ottawa
They will be angry, my friends. Those Ottawa Senators fans have enjoyed watching their pesky team persevere despite long-tem injuries to key players Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, Milan Michalek and Jared Cowen.
But the smiles from Senators fans disappear at the mention of Pittsburgh Penguins third-line left wing Matt Cooke because of his run-in with Karlsson on Feb. 13, when the latter had 70 per cent of his left Achilles tendon lacerated by Cooke's skate.
Cooke meets up with the Senators on Monday for the first time since that nasty incident that Senators owner Eugene Melnyk maintained was intentional on Cooke's part. Cooke was not given a penalty on the play nor was he levied any supplementary discipline.
Senators fans have not been so forgiving. But will Cooke even play? There has been speculation from some press members in the nation's capital that Cooke may be spared the abuse from crowd at Scotiabank Place.
Meanwhile, Cooke's season took another bizarre turn in Boston over the weekend, when Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards criticized Pittsburgh reporters for nominating Cooke for the Masterton Trophy last year during first period of the Penguins-Bruins broadcast a year ago (Sidney Crosby is the Penguins' nominee this year for the Masterton, awarded to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey).
"Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is about the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan for prisoner of the year," Edwards said. "An outrageous lack of judgment on the part of the Pittsburgh press."
To put it in context, Sirhan murdered presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968; and Cooke isn't liked in Boston for a blindside hit on Marc Savard three years ago.
But enough was enough on Saturday. Penguins GM Ray Shero was angered by Edwards' remarks. He confronted the Bruins broadcaster in the first intermission, which prompted Edwards to issue an apology through his Twitter account.
"I am sorry for insulting Matt Cooke, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the National Hockey League, and anyone else upset by my Cooke comments. I made a mistake. My fault all the way. This is my apology. Bad week, bad emotional reaction by me."
The Calgary Flames have won five of their last six outings that has included a win streak that was extended to a season-high three games with a 4-1 win in Minnesota on Sunday.
A couple of reasons for the late-season success have been their improved play on the road and stingy goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff and Joey MacDonald. Goaltending and their play on the road are two of the many reasons the Flames will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Flames had a 13-game losing streak away from Calgary earlier this year and the usual reliable Kiprusoff wasn't as trustworthy until late in the season.
But will this late success hurt the Flames in the draft lottery? The Flames woke up on Apr. 12 to find themselves tied for 28th overall, one point out of the league basement. With this recent surge, Calgary has moved to 24th, 10 points ahead of the 30th-place Florida Panthers.
We'll find out a week from today, when the draft lottery is held.
The 28-year-old Harding has been on the Wild's injured reserve list since Feb. 12 because he needed time to adjust to new medication for a multiple sclerosis condition diagnosed last fall. The native of Regina stopped 56 of 61 shots in five periods of action for the Houston Aeros, the Wild's AHL affiliate. Minnesota is expected to recall Harding on Monday.
A teammate's skate accidently cut Redmond in practice on Feb. 21. He suffered a career-threatening laceration to his right femoral artery and vein in the mid-thigh region and required three hours of surgery to begin what was supposed to be a long recovery.
But 24-year-old rookie was back on skates in a remarkable hurry. He returned to action over the weekend with the Jets' farm team, the St. John's IceCaps. In two games, he checked in with an assist in each outing. Redmond also will rejoin the Jets this week.
Won't get fooled again
Head coach Todd Richards and the Columbus Blue Jackets will need another solid week to clinch the second playoff berth in franchise history. But Richards, who replaced Scott Arniel late last season, has bucked the odds in terms of achieving success as a head coach after being promoted as an assistant coach with the same team.
Of course, we won't deny Larry Robinson's impact on the Stanley Cup-winning New Jersey Devils after he took over for Robbie Ftorek late in the 1999-2000 season. But since the 2004-05 cancelled season, there hasn't been much success for assistant or associate coaches who moved into the top position with the same team either during the season or in the off-season.
Maybe it's a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," as The Who sang in Won't get Fooled Again.
Here is a list of assistant coaches promoted to head coach with the same team in the past eight years:
2006-07 -- Jim Playfair, Calgary (replaced Darryl Sutter)
2006-07 -- Denis Savard, Chicago (Trent Yawney)
2006-07 -- John Stevens, Philadelphia (Ken Hitchcock)
2008-09 -- Tony Granato, Colorado (Joel Quenneville)
2008-09 -- Rick Tocchet, Tampa Bay (Barry Melrose)
2010-11 -- Tom Renney, Edmonton (Pat Quinn)
2011-12 -- Todd Richards, Columbus (Scott Arniel)
2012-13 -- Ralph Krueger, Edmonton (Tom Renney)
By the numbers
3 -- AHL affiliates of the seven Canadian clubs to advance to the Calder Cup playoffs: Toronto Marlies (Toronto); Binghamton Senators (Ottawa); and Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton).
6 -- Games in the final nine days of the regular season for the Boston Bruins because of Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt for the suspects.
14 -- Points (four goals, 11 assists) in the last seven games for Andrew Ladd. He also has a shootout-winning goal in Winnipeg's current 5-1-1 run. The Jets captain has been there in crunch time.
53 -- Points likely need to clinch eighth-place and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with one week remaining in the regular season.
55 -- Points likely need to clinch eighth-place and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with one week remaining in the regular season.
3,283 -- Days between playoff dates if the Maple Leafs, who clinched their first playoff position since they were eliminated in the second round on May 4, 2004, play on opening night of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs next Tuesday.
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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