St. Louis and Stamkos, Plus No Surprises at NHL Awards

Okay, so after Pavel Datsyuk pwns the Lady Byng Memorial for sportsmanship and gentlemanly play for four seasons running, Tampa Bay Lightning forward finally gets his hands on it. What did he have to do to finally beat Datsyuk? First, he had to beat him in scoring (94 points to the Red Wing forward's 70) and beat him in lowest penalty minutes, 12-18. Check that out: St.Louis played all 82 games this season. He took six minor penalties. That's fewer than one a month.

Of course, the paranoia in me whispers that Datsyuk beat St.Louis all these years running because he plays in Detroit, a.k.a. Hockeytown, for one of the league's most-watched teams, while Martin plays for Tampa Bay, where the sports writers work on the tan, their golf game, and make jokes about the ownership situations. And it is the sports writers who vote for the Lady Byng. Well, stick in in yer craw, writers! Seriously, anyone who would write about hockey would have to be a real jerk. Hey, wait a second...

Anyway, along with St.Louis, the Lightning were represented at the NHL's annual attempt at sports entertainment by

Steven Stamkos

(co-recipient of the Rocket Richard Trophy with

Sidney Crosby

) and

Kurtis Foster

, who was nominated for the Masterton. I'm not much of a fashion person, but my eyes hurt looking at Stammer's suit. Pretty shiny there, Stammer.

I'm not sure if St.Louis's win over Datsyuk counts as an upset. For the most part, The awards all went to the obvious picks. Buffalo's Tyler Myers won the Calder for top rookie. Buffalo's Ryan Miller got the Vezina for top goalie. Datsyuk maintained his iron grip on the Selke for defensive forward. All slam-dunks for the betting man.

Foster, who recovered from a broken femur a few years ago to lead the Tampa Bay blueline last season, missed the Masterton award. Instead it went to Jose Theodore, who had to overcome the loss of his infant son last summer. It is indescribably tragic that Foster and his wife lost their own newborn this past April. Sincerest condolences to both the Fosters and the Theodores.

For the feel-good story we had Dave Tippett, who was an obvious choice for the coach-of-the-year Jack Adams Award. The Phoenix Coyotes always sucked when the team was stable. He somehow turned them into a powerhouse when the team was...what the hell happened there, anyway? Um, the Coyotes had some problems. And he turned them into a freakin' beast. Good on you, sweet child of Moosomin, Saskatchewan.

Duncan Keith had to put up with some bad jokes from host Jay Mohr about losing so many teeth in the playoffs, but he won the Norris for top defenceman. That will go nicely with the other stuff he won this year: some kind of Cup thing, as well as some metal. What? Oh, a medal.

Tell me something: why does the NHL have two leadership awards? Anyway, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy went to Shane Doan, while the Mark Messier award, as selected by, um, Mark Messier, was given to Sid Crosby.

The other double award, most valuable player, provided possibly the only guessing games on the night. Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Henrik Sedin were each nominated for both the Hart Memorial Trophy (as voted by those hockey writers) and the Ted Lindsay Award (as chosen by the players).

There wasn't much to choose between these three guys. They were all high scoring leaders on very good teams. The Hart went to Sedin (probably because he also won the Art Ross for most points), while the Lindsay went to Ovechkin (probably because the players know who the real best player on the ice is).

So who was most valuable player of the actual award show? I'm going to say Snoop Dogg. The NHL always embarrasses itself at these shows trying to act young and hip and funny, but usually the shtick is painful. But having the D-O-double-G gives them some cred.

And now we can just sit back and wait for the new season to begin in October. There is nothing hockey-related to talk about until training camp begins. Except for that draft thing. And all the other stuff. See you tomorrow.