It was another night of bad speeches, flat jokes and shiny trophies in Las Vegas, as Carey Price came out the big winner at the 2015 NHL Awards.
Actor Rob Riggle (that kinda funny guy from that comedy you kinda like) had the unenviable task of hosting, as joke after joke bombed in front of a mostly humourless audience.
That said, the most entertaining and merciful moment of the night came when Riggle and the house band interrupted Jamie Benn and his Art Ross Trophy speech that never was.
— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) June 25, 2015
Commissioner Gary Bettman appeared on stage only briefly, to prod Jordan Leopold’s daughter, Jordyn, into reading that adorable “trade my dad” letter we shed a tear over a while back.
So yeah, the awards were about as entertaining as you’d expect. But it’s the winners we care about – not the speeches.
The big winners are listed below.
And while you peruse the list, don’t forget to check out our THN Awards to see which awards we nailed (and which ones we made up).
Montreal Canadiens netminder Carey Price scored the biggest award of the night, taking home the Hart Trophy as league MVP after a stellar year between the pipes.
Price had an all-world season, helping the Montreal Canadiens finish with 110 points, good for second in the league, despite mediocre team possession numbers. Price covered up a lot of the deficiencies in the rest of the Habs’ roster, stifling enemy shooters with the league’s best save percentage, goals-against average and win totals. His 1.96 goals-against average made him the only netminder under the 2.00 mark, and he was also the only goalie with a save percentage above 93 percent (.933).
Price led the league with 44 wins in 66 games and finished second in shutouts with nine, behind only Marc-Andre Fleury. Those 44 wins also moved Price ahead of Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden for the most victories by a Habs goaltender in a single season. Plante and Dryden shared the old record with 42 wins.
That’s pretty “Cash Money,” as Habs teammate P.K. Subban said during the broadcast.
Coincidentally, the last goalie to win the trophy was former Hab Jose Theodore, who took it home following the 2001-02 season. The win makes Price the seventh goalie in NHL history to claim the Hart, after Theodore, Dominik Hasek, Jacques Plante, Al Rollins, Chuck Rayner and Roy Worters.
Price edged out Rocket Richard Trophy-winner Alex Ovechkin and New York Islanders center John Tavares to claim the Hart, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Ovechkin potted 53 goals to lead the league again in goals this year, while Tavares put up a career-best 38 goals and 86 points to finish second in the scoring race, behind Jamie Benn of Dallas.
The top-three voting shook out as follows, with points awarded for being named a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th selection:
1. Carey Price, 1,498 points (139-14-2-0-0)
2. Alex Ovechkin, 888 points (8-75-45-18-4)
3. John Tavares, 739 points (4-41-63-27-16)
TED LINDSAY AWARD
There’s something to be said for getting the respect of your peers, and Price obviously has it. The NHL Players Association voted him the league MVP, adding another piece of hardware to the Habs netminder’s haul on Wednesday.
Lindsay was at the Vegas awards show to present the trophy in person, which is always a nice touch.
No surprise here, folks: Carey Price is your 2014-15 Vezina Trophy winner, after leading the league in three of the four main statistical categories for goaltenders.
At age 27, the native of Anahim Lake, B.C. posted career-best numbers in every statistical category this year.
The Habs netminder was the runaway winner, with 27 first-place and three second-place votes from the NHL’s general managers.
Price beat out fellow Vezina finalists Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Dubnyk had a massive second half of the season following a trade from Arizona to Minnesota, where he went 27-9-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts. His cumulative numbers with the Wild and Coyotes had him ranked second in the league in goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (.929).
Dubnyk may not have won the Vezina, but he’s still going to have plenty of ammunition for contract talks as he heads into unrestricted free agency this summer. He also picked up the Masterton Trophy for his rags-to-riches season.
Rinne returned to his stellar form this season after a down year in 2013-14, when he missed 51 games due to hip surgery. His 41 wins ranked second in the league among goalies, and he posted a 2.18 goals-against average and .923 save percentage with four shutouts.
As mentioned above, Dubnyk took home the Bill Masterton Trophy for his incredible career comeback. Last summer he was a three-time castoff, unwanted by the Edmonton Oilers, Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. This season he was a superstar and Vezina finalist.
Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson won his second Norris Trophy Wednesday night on the strength of another spectacular offensive season. The 25-year-old Swede scored 21 goals this year and led all defencemen with 66 points, including a league-best 30 on the power play. He also led all defencemen in scoring for the third time in the last four years. And let’s face it: points weigh heavily when writers vote on the Norris Trophy.
Karlsson won top honours over fellow finalists P.K. Subban (a past winner) and Drew Doughty (a two-time Norris bridesmaid).
The Frank J. Selke Trophy is always a pick ‘em award, and this year, perennial contender Patrice Bergeron took home the hardware. The Boston Bruins center beat runner-up Jonathan Toews by a narrow margin (1,083 voting points to 1,051 points) to claim his third Selke in the last four years.
Bergeron led the league with a 60.2 faceoff winning percentage and put up stellar possession numbers as the Bruins’ go-to checking center. He also registered 23 goals and 55 points.
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar was a distant third in the voting.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
The no-quit Calgary Flames surprised a lot of people this season, and it should come as no surprise that coach Bob Hartley took home the Jack Adams Award for his role in that resurgence. The Flames rebounded from a down 2013-14 season to improve by 20 points and make the playoffs, where they went two rounds deep before losing out to the Anaheim Ducks.
That’s not bad for a squad many saw as a potential lottery team.
Hartley thanked a lot of people in his speech, including the management groups he worked under during coaching stints for the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers.
New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was runner-up, followed by Nashville’s Peter Laviolette.
Last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick is this year’s No. 1 rookie of the year.
Florida Panthers defenceman Aaron Ekblad won the award at the (not so) tender age of 19, beating out runner-up Mark Stone and third-place Johnny Gaudreau.
Ekblad stepped right into the Panthers lineup and never looked out of place this year, posting 12 goals, 39 points, a plus-12 rating and 32 penalty minutes in 81 games played. He also logged big minutes for the Cats, averaging 21:48 of ice this season.
LADY BYNG TROPHY
The most gentlemanly player in the league didn’t even wear shoes at the NHL Awards.
Calgary Flames forward Jiri Hudler hammed it up on stage after winning the trophy, dropping Johnny Gaudreau jokes and generally being awesome throughout.
“I have no shoes on but I have a new suit on,” he said.
— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) June 25, 2015
The 31-year-old Czech scored 31 goals and 75 points this year while posting just 14 penalty minutes.
GM OF THE YEAR
Four years on the job and he’s the best in the business – or at least, the best in the regular season.
Tampa Bay Lightning boss Steve Yzerman is this year’s General Manager of the Year, as chosen by the league’s 30 GMs and a panel of NHL executives.
Yzerman made several shrewd moves to improve on his team’s first-round playoff exit last season, shoring up his depth with some key signings and trades en route to an appearance in the Stanley Cup final this year.
The Lightning finished the year with 108 points and the fifth-best record in the NHL.
Curiously enough, three general managers from this year’s four conference finalists were nominated for this award, yet the only guy who didn’t get a nod ended up winning the Stanley Cup.