Canucks' trio wins big: NHL awards roundup
Sedin honoured by peers, while Kesler and Gillis named Selke, GM winners
The Vancouver Canucks may have missed out on the trophy they wanted most, but they didn't walk away empty-handed from the best season in franchise history.
No team had more members of the organization called to the stage during the NHL's awards show on Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Daniel Sedin took home the Ted Lindsay Award as the players' MVP, Ryan Kesler won the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward and Mike Gillis was named general manager of the year.
It gave them a chance to reflect fondly on a year that ended with a disappointing Game 7 loss to Boston in the Stanley Cup final last week.
"We should be happy," Sedin said. "I think the organization should be proud of our team and the players. We're going to have a lot of years going forward here where we're going to be a good team."
And the winner is …
Hart Trophy (MVP) — Corey Perry, Anaheim
Norris Trophy (top defenceman) — Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit
Vezina Trophy (top goalie) — Tim Thomas, Boston
Frank J. Selke Trophy (defensive forward) — Ryan Kesler, Vancouver
Calder Memorial Trophy (top rookie) — Jeff Skinner, Carolina
Lady Byng Trophy (sportsmanship/gentlemanly conduct) — Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player) — Daniel Sedin, Vancouver
Bill Masterton Award (perseverance/sportsmanship/dedication to hockey) — Ian Laperriere, Philadelphia
Jack Adams Award (coach of year) — Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh
Mark Messier Leadership Award — Zdeno Chara, Boston
NHL Foundation Award (commitment/perseverance/teamwork to enrich his community) — Dustin Brown, Los Angeles
Of course, the individual recognition didn't completely take away the sting of failing to win the Stanley Cup. The Canucks were reminded about what they missed out on when Boston's Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara carried the coveted trophy on stage during the awards show, drawing the biggest applause of the night from the crowd at The Palms.
"I'm honoured to win this award but I'd trade it in any minute for the Stanley Cup," said Gillis, who beat Tampa's Steve Yzerman and Nashville's David Poile for top GM. "I don't think any of us have kind of had an opportunity to fully decompress from what happened and understand it. It's great, but I want to win the Stanley Cup."
Sedin failed in his bid to secure both of the league's MVP awards — he finished second to Anaheim's Corey Perry in media voting for the Hart Trophy after winning the Ted Lindsay Award selected by his peers.
However, there was no hint of disappointment from the Swede, who led the league in scoring with 104 points while Perry was tops with 50 goals.
"Corey obviously had a great finish to the season and helped his team make the playoffs," Sedin said. "He really deserves that award."
A year ago, Sedin's twin brother Henrik won the Hart and finished second to Alex Ovechkin for the Ted Lindsay.
Kesler finally got his hands on the Selke after being a finalist on two other occasions. He led all NHL forwards in blocked shots with 80 and set personal bests in faceoff percentage and scoring.
"Everything kind of happened for me this year — 41 goals and to win the Selke is a season I'll never forget," Kesler said. "It's nice to get acknowledged. I guess all those years my dad was yelling 'backcheck' at me finally paid off."
The only other member of the team nominated for an award, Roberto Luongo, finished third in voting for the Vezina Trophy.
Lucky 7 for Lidstrom
After a two-year break, Nicklas Lidstrom is the NHL's top defenceman again.
The Detroit Red Wings star won the Norris Trophy for the seventh time in his 19-season NHL career. Lidstrom tied Doug Harvey as a seven-time winner, one behind record-holder Bobby Orr.
Lidstrom beat Boston's Zdeno Chara and Nashville's Shea Weber. He captured the award three straight times from 2001-03 and then added another hat trick from 2006-08. His second run was stopped by Chara, who has been a finalist three of the past four seasons.
Lidstrom was second in the league among defencemen with 62 points, including 16 goals. He was third among blue-liners in assists.
Thomas takes home Vezina
Tim Thomas has a second Vezina Trophy to go with his recent Stanley Cup title.
The Boston Bruins goalie earned top NHL honours after a stellar season that culminated in the championship.
Thomas set an NHL record for save percentage when he finished at .938, surpassing Dominik Hasek's .937 set in the 1998-89 season. He also had a league-low 2.00 goals-against average and nine shutouts.
Those imposing figures lifted him over fellow Vezina finalists Roberto Luongo of the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks and Nashville's Pekka Rinne in voting by the league's 40 general managers.
Rinne had 25 wins in 42 starts, ranking second in save percentage.
St. Louis secures Lady Byng
Martin St. Louis is taking home the Lady Byng Trophy for the second straight season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning forward was named the NHL's most gentlemanly player in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
He beat out Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings and Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars.
St. Louis finished second in scoring with 99 points this season and was assessed just 12 penalty minutes — matching his career low.
Lidstrom, who earlier Wednesday earned his seventh Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, had 20 penalty minutes and 62 points.
Eriksson had 73 points and eight penalty minutes — the fewest among the league's top 50 scorers.
Skinner best freshman
The NHL's youngest player has been crowned as its best rookie.
Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes claimed the Calder Trophy, beating out San Jose's Logan Couture and Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders in voting by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Skinner led all rookies in scoring with 63 points during a season where he was selected to the all-star team. He only celebrated his 19th birthday last month.
Grabner scored 34 goals to top his team and fellow rookies. Couture had eight game-winning goals, including seven on the road.
Bylsma top coach
Dan Bylsma is the NHL's coach of the year.
He was recognized with the Jack Adams Award after helping the Pittsburgh Penguins register 106 points despite losing star forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to serious injuries.
Bylsma finished ahead of Nashville's Barry Trotz and Vancouver's Alain Vigneault in voting conducted by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.