The Bruins didn't clean shop at the 2011 NHL Awards Wednesday night, but they did leave with some extra hardware to add to their ever-expanding trophy case. In a night of great moments few and far between, Tim Thomas and Captain Zdeno Chara not only brought out their newly acquired Stanley Cup, much to the dislike of Ryan Kesler, who the camera directly shot for several disapproving seconds, but they both took home a pretigious award before the night was through.
Thomas was awarded his 2nd Vezina Trophy in the last three years, essentially making him the Vezina winner in consecutive starting seasons. Thomas beat out competitors Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks. Seemingly, Versus, the NHL, or whoever arranged the seating during the ceremony did so in spite of the entire Canucks team, as they were placed in camera shot, yet directly behind both Thomas and Chara, who sat in the first row. When Thomas was called to the podium, Roberto Luongo's widows peak could be seen from a mile away.
Chara didn't take home his 2nd Norris Trophy in the last three years, as that was debatably handed to Niklas Lidstrom. It's Lidstrom's 7th career Norris Trophy, putting him just one behind the all-time leader, Bobby Orr. Big Z actually came in 3rd in the Norris voting, falling behind Shea Weber, who, in my opinion, rightfully deserved the award, based on his statistics and the talent (or lack thereof) that surrounded him. Instead, Chara was given the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, handed out by none-other than Messier himself. It was the first time Chara's been given the award, and after a season wrapped in debate and controversy about his leadership, playing style, and mental toughness, was a well-warranted honor.
While Daniel Sedin did leave with the Art Ross Trophy (why they give out awards pre-determined months ago is beyond me) and Ted Lindsay Award, he was denied the Hart Memorial Trophy, much to Bruins' fans likings, as Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks rightfully took home the award. While Sedin and Martin St. Louis, the 3rd nominee, had great seasons, they also had the likes of Kesler & Sedin, and Stamkos & Lecavalier respectfully on their teams, while Corey Perry had, well, not a whole lot great talent to help him. Clearly, the Ducks wouldn't have made the Playoffs without him and his 50+ goal season.
Other winners included Ryan Kesler (Selke), Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider (Jennings), Mike Gillis (GM of the Year), Jeff Skinner (Calder), Dan Bylsma (Adams), Martin St. Louis (Lady Byng), Ian Laperierre (Bill Masterson), Doug Weight (King Clancy), and Dustin Brown (NHL Foundation Player Award).
The best moment of the night was not Jay Mohr's opening monologue, although his bit about Tim Thomas drinking metamucil out of the Cup was gold. It came when two of of the wives from The Real Housewives of Wherever came out to present the Lady Byng Trophy. Not only did they bomb their half-assed introduction, but when it all came down to the winner, they celebratorily shouted "Martin St. Louis," as in "Saint Lou-issss." As in, you needed to memorize three player names that you were presenting, and you bomb the winner. Way to go NHL. You couldn't have gotten any other C-list actors? You realize where the league really stands when the biggest star put out there is Cris Angel.