Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My NHL awards ballot

The NHL handed out its annual awards last night in Las Vegas. As a die-hard hockey fan for the better part of three decades, I’ve always looked forward to the awards announcement, not just for the show itself, but also for the unveiling of the final results, where you get to see every vote that was cast.

It’s always an especially fun topic to discuss. And by “discuss,” of course, I mean “complain about endlessly.” What is wrong with these votes? Why can’t they ever get anything right?

But this year came with a twist for me: For the first time, I had a vote of my own. As a rookie member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, I got to cast a ballot for five awards, as well as the All-Star and All-Rookie teams.

And … uh … it turns out it’s a lot tougher than it looks.

But after several hours of research, a few more hours of tinkering with my choices, and then many, many hours of rocking back and forth while being overwhelmed by a crippling sense of self-doubt, my ballot was submitted back in April. And because the PHWA is encouraging members to reveal their picks, mine can be found below. Have a look, and then meet me in the comments, where I swear I will fight each and every one of you.

Hart Trophy (MVP)

My ballot:

1. Sidney Crosby

2. Ryan Getzlaf

3. Claude Giroux

4. Semyon Varlamov

5. Patrice Bergeron

Actual winner: Crosby

Any MVP vote these days seems to require a clarification of what “most valuable” really means, so here’s my interpretation: I think the best players are the most valuable, regardless of how their teams ultimately end up doing. I’m not against using team impact as a sort of tiebreaker in really close cases, but otherwise I’m just picking the best player.

This one wasn’t an especially close case — Crosby won easily, and Getzlaf and Giroux were second and third on most ballots (although not necessarily in that order). I have no issue considering a goalie for MVP, and Varlamov earned my vote based on his strong play under a heavy workload. And Bergeron is just a monster.

My top five ended up matching the actual final results exactly. Hey, this is easy!

>> Read the full post on Grantland

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