If the Stanley Cup playoffs are over and the Draft hasn’t happened yet, it must be time for the annual NHL awards. This year, the Ducks were represented with some serious hardware.
Corey Perry, who won the Maurice Richard trophy for most goals, also took home the Hart trophy for MVP. Perry looked truly shocked when accepting the award, clearly thinking that Daniel Sedin was going to take it home to be a twin for his Ted Lindsay player MVP award won earlier in the evening.
Perry is the first player from a Southern California team to win the trophy since Wayne Gretzky did it in 1989 while playing for the Los Angeles Kings. Joe Thornton is the only other California representative, having won the Hart in 2006 with San Jose.
“Congratulations to Corey Perry on this tremendous accomplishment,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray. “This is an historic day for the Perry family and the entire Anaheim Ducks organization. Corey deserves this terrific honor following a season that defines what the Hart Trophy is all about.”
The soft spoken 26 year old had a career year with 50 goals and 98 points. He helped the Ducks get into a playoff spot after the team appeared out of the race. His contributions included 16 goals in his final 19 games and he led Anaheim in time on ice while playing on both the power play and penalty killing units.
Perry’s contributions had him named the NHL’s First Star of the Month for March after becoming just the fifth NHL player since January 1997 to score 15 goals in a single month.
Two former Ducks also took home hardware and recognition. Dan Bylsma was honored as coach of the year as head of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Doug Weight was honored with the King Clancy leadership award. Both players were leaders on and off the ice during their time with Anaheim, and have continued since leaving the organization. Two nicer guys could not have been recognized for the achievements and efforts.
Vancouver took home a lot of awards – Ryan Kesler for Selke, Mike GIllis for GM, Daniel Sedin for Art Ross and Ted Lindsay, and Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider for best goals against average. They missed out on the big one, the Stanley Cup.
Tim Thomas, who did get the Cup as well as the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP, also earned honors with the Vezina trophy for best goaltender.
In an otherwise stilted and awkward show (really, if you are going to have people from reality TV announce an award, can they at least know how to pronounce the name of the winner?!) there were two skits that were hilarious. One involved the Hanson Brothers of Slap Shot fame mugging Cup keeper, Phil Pritchard, in a Vegas hotel elevator. They then proceed to attempt to sell the Cup at a pawn store.
The other skit was part deux of the Bobby Ryan/Ryan Getzlaf “feud.” Last year was the Canadian Olympic Gold Medal snubbing, and this year was a continuation of the theme. It was another Getzlaf vs. Ryan group of contests, including hula hooping on ice. Who knew both guys could hula hoop that well? The finale was razor scooter race around the Honda Center concourse, with Bobby sufficiently concerned that Scott Niedermayer would sabotage his efforts as he did last year. In a classic line, Niedermayer states no, because “this year I’m not doing anything.” When the sabotage comes, Ryan accuses Niedermayer, but then Perry pops out his head and says that HE is the guilty party. Canada continues their victorious rule and a part three seems destined for the 2012 awards.
For now, the next thing to look forward to is the annual draft on Friday, leading up to free agency on July 1. After that, the August doldrums will set in and there will be nothing to do but count down the days to training camp and pre-season games. Three months to go….