LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 20: Nickelback performs during the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on June 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
It started with Shea Weber getting jobbed by just 12 points (1,069 to 1,057) for the Norris Trophy, and went mostly downhill from there. The Nashville Predators went 1-for-5 at the 2012 NHL Awards, with Mike Fisher taking home the only honor, that being the NHL Foundation Player Award for his oustanding charitable work.
Besides Fisher's (very) few seconds in the spotlight, however, the night went pretty poorly for the Preds:
- Clearly, the Professional Hockey Writers don't understand the "all-around" portion of the criteria for voting on the Norris Trophy. Erik Karlsson had a great year as an offensive specialist, but if you assembled a fantasy draft of all NHL players and let the GM's start new teams from scratch, nobody outside of Bryan Murray would pick Karlsson ahead of Shea Weber.
- The GM of the Year Award is a really cryptic one. With no stated criteria on what it should recognize, does it go to the guy who made the most impressive moves over the course of the season, or the one who did the long-term work to set his team up for success? Maybe Doug Armstrong won it because he made the call to fire his head coach and bring in Ken Hitchcock, who won the Jack Adams tonight. David Poile came in 3rd behind Armstrong and Dale Tallon of Florida (whose team didn't even win half their games).
- Claude Giroux (not surprisingly) beat Pekka Rinne for the EA Sports NHL13 cover vote, which of course is more marketing campaign than plebescite. According to EA, it was decided "by less than a one percent margin, in what was the closest matchup of the entire campaign." I'd be suspicious about how "incredibly close" so many of those battles seemed to be down the stretch. Yes, Preds fans are enthusiastic, but Flyers fan are no less so, and there's probably 10x as many of them.
- Henrik Lundqvist was the obvious choice for the Vezina Trophy. He had the buzz built early in the season and led the Rangers to the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Yes, Jonathan Quick was relied upon more heavily by the goal-starved L.A. Kings for most of the regular season, but they had to scramble down the stretch just to make the playoffs. Of course, he's got a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy to console him over the summer...
Well, look at the bright side, folks. If Weber actually won the Norris, his salary demands would probably (and justifiably) break previous records, right?
UPDATE: Shea Weber was named as a 1st Team NHL All-Star, his second consecutive season receiving that honor. Ryan Suter came in 6th in that voting, behind Weber, Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, Alex Pietrangelo, and Nicklas Lidstrom.