The 2006 NHL Awards took place in Vancouver, BC tonight from 8-10 pm. The biggest surprises of the night for me were Lindy Ruff winning the Jack Adams over Peter Laviolette and
Miikka Kiprusoff winning the Vezina over Martin Brodeur. The Red Wings went 2-for-2 with the awards they were up for, with Pavel Datsyuk picking up the Lady Byng and Nicklas Lidstrom picking up the Norris.
The show opened with a good interview with Ovechkin and Crosby, where they talked about the competition between them during the regular season. The players walked down the NHL's version of the red carpet, and Scotty Bowman and Nicklas Lidstrom were seen signing autographs. By the way, it seemed like this one guy with a New York Rangers jersey got every single player's autograph who walked by.
Ron MacLean wore a referee styled jacket and said a few corny jokes before beginning the award presentations. Winners are listed below.
CALDER MEMORIAL TROPHY
: Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
FRANK J. SELKE TROPHY
: Rod Brind'Amour, Carolina Hurricanes
HART MEMORIAL TROPHY
: Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks.
JACK ADAMS AWARD
: Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres
JAMES NORRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY
: Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
LADY BYNG MEMORIAL TROPHY
: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
LESTER B. PEARSON AWARD
: Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers
Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary Flames
ART ROSS TROPHY: Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
WILLIAM M. JENNINGS TROPHY: Miikka Kiprusoff,
BILL MASTERTON MEMORIAL TROPHY: Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks (new name!)
KING CLANCY MEMORIAL TROPHY: Olaf Kolzig, Washington Capitals
MAURICE RICHARD TROPHY: Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose Sharks
Mike Babcock accepted the Lady Byng on Datsyuk's behalf, and awkwardly didn't go up to the mic and say a few words. Later in the show, when Kiprussov won the Vezina, Darryl Sutter accepted it for him and did a speech thanking the coaching staff (ha ha) and saying how Kiprussov told him not to swear. It came off a lot better than Babcock jumping on stage and saying nothing, at least. Oh, and I loved the fact that Brodeur didn't win the Vezina.
Lidstrom did a good job accepting his fourth Norris in five seasons, but I didn't really catch anything interesting out of his acceptance speech. It sounded like I've heard it before. He did say he might be talking to GM Ken Holland after the show, maybe so they can get some contract talks done!
I was soo glad Lindy Ruff won the Adams over Laviolette, because he really did a great job with Buffalo this season and just edged out Peter Laviolette, 155-154, in the votes. None of the other awards were nearly this close in voting.
When Kiprussov was honored for winning the Jennings, Brendan Peters, the kid they always showed in the stands during the playoffs with the Flames goalie equipment on, accepted for his favorite player. That was a nice touch.
Brian Burke and Tom Cochrane presented the Masterton to Teemu Selanne, who accepted via video from Finland, where he is running a charity hockey camp. Datsyuk could've at least prepared a video clip like Teemu did, but I guess he didn't expect to win the Lady Byng.
Ovechkin won the Calder, and gave probably the funniest speech of the night. He thanked his agent or assistant for cleaning his house and helping him buy his car and food at the grocery store. In his tone and Russian accent, it sounded really funny.
Mark Messier awarded the Hart to Thornton, who gave the best speech of the night. He was very clear and concise, and seemed the most comfortable on stage in front of the mic. This part of the awards show is always a big question every year, because hockey players are not the best at giving acceptance speeches. But this year every player did well in this area.