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Finally! The 2014 NHL Awards in fabulous Las Vegas have arrived!

OK, maybe the awards are rather cheesy, rather dull and rather comical, but it's still the night the NHL hands out the hardware to commend the best performers from the previous season. And your Boston Bruins are well-represented ahead of the ceremony!

Bergy and Rask are favorites to bring home the
 hardware (via NESN.com)
The Black and Gold trio of forward Patrice Bergeron, goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Zdeno Chara are all in the running to take home the Selke, Vezina and Norris Trophies, respectively, after leading the B's to the Presidents' Trophy with the best regular season record in the league. In the case of Bergeron and Rask, they are the odds on favorite to win the trophies they are nominated for, with Zdeno Chara being slightly behind Blackhawks D-man Duncan Keith for the Norris.

If the hockey world is just, both Bergeron and Rask should be named the recipients of the Selke and Vezina. Bergeron is going up against Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron had one of his best ever seasons as a pro, scoring 30 goals and grabbing 30 assists for 62 total points while finishing with a plus-38 rating. But as we know, the Selke is handed out to the forward who excels on defense, and right now in the NHL, there is no better defensive-forward than Bergeron. It is Bergeron's third nomination in his career, and he won the award back in the 2011-12 season. It would be an injustice if Bergy wasn't voted the winner tonight in Vegas.

The NHL will also reveal the winner of the NHL15 Cover Vote, a month-long process that saw Bergeron progress through the competition and into the final against Habs defenseman P.K. Subban. At last report, Bergeron was miles ahead of Subban in the initial tallies of the votes, so if things go according to plan, the Bruins will have their first player grace the cover of the game since Andy Moog in the 1994 version. EA will also see an atmospheric spike in sales in the Boston market when NHL15 hits the shelves in September.

Tuukka Rask is in great shape to take home his first-ever Vezina Trophy, as he had a terrific season in net for the B's, going 36-15-6 with a .930 save percentage, a 2.04 goals-against and a league-best seven shutouts. Rask was the only goalie in the NHL to be placed in the top-five for wins, save percentage, GAA, and shutouts with at least 25 games played. He allowed two goals or fewer in 37 of his 58 starts. Simply put, he was the best goalie in the NHL throughout the entire regular season. Rask will have to beat out Ben Bishop of the Lightning and Semyon Varlamov of the Avalanche if he's to bring home the accolades.

Will the voters value offense over defense for a third-straight
year? (via fansided.com)
As for Zdeno Chara, it seems less of a guarantee that the big man can take home the Norris, as Duncan Keith is expected to be awarded the hardware over Big Z, but the vote could be closer than what I'm anticipating. With the two previous winners of the Norris being of the 'offensive-defenseman' build (Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban) expect the voters to again award Keith's offensive production, with him leading all D-men with 55 assists and placing second among blueliners with 61 total points. But it's not like Chara was a slouch in the stats columns, as he placed in the top-ten among defensemen in goals (17), plus/minus (+25), power-play goals (10) and game-winning goals (3).

Sidney Crosby is a runaway choice for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, as well as Avs wonder-kid Nathan McKinnon is to take home the Calder as the top rookie. The Jack Adams Award will be awarded to either Patrick Roy of the Avs, Mike Babcock of the Red Wings or Jon Cooper of the Lightning. Expect Roy to be named the recipient, as he coached a young and inexperienced Avalanche team to a 52-22-8 record and a Division title in his first season behind the bench.


Mark Burke 6/24/2014 05:25:00 PM Edit

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