We've talked here at OTF the last several days about Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne's chances to win some of the major post-season awards, and it was good to see David Climer over at The Tennessean chip in this morning with some support for Barry Trotz as a Jack Adams Award winner for his work in leading the Preds to confound pre-season predictions once again.
Now, however, some of that recognition is coming in from around North America, and you have to really start wondering whether, indeed, this might be the year that a Nashville Predator brings home one of the core trophies handed out in Las Vegas on June 22. Steve Sullivan, of course, won the Masterton Trophy for dedication to the game back in 2009.
Today, Eric Duhatschek writes glowingly about the Preds for the Globe & Mail.
On choosing Weber for the Norris:
Weber inspires that sort of admiration among his peers - he is strong physically, passes well for a big man and keeps the crease clear for the Preds' goalies. In short, he most accurately meets the trophy's official definition, possessing the "greatest all-around ability in the position."
He also tabs Trotz for the Jack Adams:
There is a temptation to string all the Nashville success stories together, but when you consider that they lost Pekka Rinne for a handful of games in the opener, Matt Lombardi in the second game to what turned out to be a season-ending concussion and had such a revolving cast of centre-ice men that at one point, they had a player named Chris Mueller on an American Hockey League contract and had to sign him to an NHL deal because they'd run out of options down the middle, well, to get this overachieving group into the post-season again represents remarkable work by Trotz and his staff.
And he completes the trifecta for touting Rinne for the Vezina (although this is decided upon by NHL GM's), after naming him 3rd on his MVP ballot:
On a purely statistical basis Thomas has led the race from wire to wire, emerging from an off-season last year, in which he lost the starting job to Tuuka Rask, to a fabulous bounce-back season on behalf of the Bruins, Thomas has been exceptional again. Rinne's numbers are in the same ballpark, however, so ultimately, GMs will have to decide if Boston's superior roster will be a factor in their decision-making.
Duhatschek is no voice in the wilderness, he's as "establishment" as it comes. Not only is he a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he's also on the board which selects the new inductees each year. When you toss in the effect of the "Chris Botta boycott" (writers covering the Islanders, Rangers and Devils are boycotting the vote in protest of the Islanders' decision to revoke Botta's medial credentials), you have to wonder if this might be the year that the Preds bring home a major trophy (or two?).
FYI, when we ran the following poll recently on the OTF Facebook Page, the results came in favor of Pekka, 53-9-6 over Trotz, then Weber.
Which award do you think the Preds have the best chance of winning?
Pekka Rinne, Vezina Trophy (best goalie) (49 votes)
Barry Trotz, Jack Adams Award (best coach) (74 votes)
Shea Weber, Norris Trophy (best defenseman) (38 votes)
161 total votes