Viva Las Vegas! Welcome to the 2016 NHL awards Caps fans. On Wednesday evening, June 22nd, the stars of the National Hockey League will be gathered at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. If you aren’t in Sin City, and let’s be honest we all wish we were, you can catch all of the action on NBC Sports Network at 7pm eastern.
Two Capitals members will be represented in Las Vegas tonight for awards: Braden Holtby and Barry Trotz. Alex Ovechkin has decided not to attend this year’s NHL Awards.
Ovechkin won this season’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy and is a finalist for the Mark Messier NHL leadership award. However, Ovi will not be attending the NHL Awards. The Rocket Richard trophy is awarded to the league’s goal-scoring leader.
It is the fourth consecutive year Ovechkin has won this award and the sixth in his career. He won it in the following seasons: 2007-08, 08-09, 12-13, 13-14, and 14-15.
Ovechkin is nominated for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership award along with forward John Tavares of the New York Islanders and defenseman Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. This award is presented to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season.”
Ovechkin’s involvement with the DC-area community was recognized by Washingtonian Magazine for their “Washingtonian of the Year” award in January; he is an active spokesman for the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) helping kids with special needs and involved in his Ovi’s Crazy 8s program that provides tickets to both Most Valuable Kids and ASHA.
Holtby is nominated for the Vezina Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award. The Vezina trophy is an award given to the top goaltender of the season. Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning have also been nominated. This award is voted on by the general managers of all NHL teams.
If Holtby wins the Vezina, he would be the third netminder in Capitals history to win that award. Jim Carey won it in 1995-96 while fan-favorite Olie Kolzig earned the award in 1999-2000. Numerous experts have projected Holtby to win this award and for good reason. Holtby posted a 48-9-7 record with three shutouts, a 2.20 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. He has developed into an elite goaltender in the NHL, which is something the Capitals haven’t had since the days of “Olie the goalie”. His 48 wins tied him with NHL legend Martin Brodeur who reached 48 wins during the 2006-07 season.
Holtby was also named a finalist for the Ted Lindsay award which is presented annually to the “most outstanding player” in the league as voted by members of the NHL Players Association. Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn also received the domination. Holtby looks to become the second player in Capitals history to win this award after Ovechkin won it in three consecutive seasons (07-08, 08-09, and 09-10).
Finally there’s head coach Barry Trotz, who is one of three candidates for the Jack Adams Award that is presented to the head coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success” as voted by the members of the NHL Broadcasters’ Association. Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers and Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars are also finalists for the award.
Trotz hopes to become the third coach in Caps history to win this award. The previous two winners were Bryan Murray in 1983-84 and Bruce Boudreau in 2007-08. In my opinion, Trotz should have won the award last year. When he took the job in late May 2014, it was after the Capitals missed the playoffs and weren’t sure which direction the franchise was going. Trotz helped change the culture in Washington, helped Ovechkin improve his confidence while teaching the other players about mental toughness. Even though their ultimate goal fell short this season, Caps fans should be confident in the leadership that Trotz has and will continue to provide as long as he is behind the bench.
Here is a list of other awards Capitals players have won in their 41 year history:
Alex Ovechkin: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2012-13
Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Award
Alex Ovechkin: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10
Art Ross Trophy
Alex Ovechkin: 2007-08
Alex Ovechkin: 2005-06
Frank J. Selke Trophy
Doug Jarvis: 1983-84
James Norris Trophy
Rod Langway: 1982-83, 1983-84
King Clancy Trophy
Olie Kolzig: 2005-06
William M. Jennings Trophy
Al Jensen and Pat Riggin: 1983-84
Bill Masterton Trophy
Jose Theodore: 2009-10
By Michael Marzzacco