Since I passed on watching the All-Star festivities (I elected to attend a party and go skiing instead), I thought I would contribute to the plethora of opinions as to whom takes home first-half hardware.
Hart - Evgeni Malkin
To me this is simple. He has kept his team relevant in the playoff race while the best player in the world in unable to play due to concussion issues. He's first in total points and third in goals. While a lot of players are having great seasons…Giroux, Quick, Lundqvist…Malkin has to pretty much do it on his own.
Vezina - Jonathan Quick
Detractors will argue that seventh place in the West isn't enough to make Quick relevant in this discussion, and that Lundqvist should finally grab his first Vezina. My counterpoint is that the Kings don't score...at all. Yes Henrik's numbers are better, but he also gets more help, offensively and defensively. I'll address that later.
Norris - Shea Weber
Zdeno Chara's power-play numbers are intimidating, and he plays physical, but he just hasn't been as complete of a player as Weber has been this season. Weber is having a great season, concussion issues aside. Let's not forget that he hits a ton.
Calder - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Yes he is currently injured, and his numbers may slide upon his return, but, this is about the first half. I knew this kid was talented, but I didn't think it would translate into NHL success this early. Adam Henrique will likely win the award at season's end, but going into the break…RNH has been the highlight stealer.
Selke - Patrice Bergeron
He's second in plus/minus, and among the contenders…leads with 40 blocked shots. There's nothing sexy about Bergeron's game, but then again…there's nothing sexy about this award.
Adams - John Tortorella
The biggest reason I don't have Henrik winning the Vezina is right here. Not to take away from Henrik's season, but Torts' system has taken a lot of pressure off of Hank. is team has fully committed to his methods. Those methods have the Rangers on top of the Eastern Conference, ahead of teams with more talent.
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