Mar 24, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) looks and defend the goal as ice gets scattered in his face during the first period against the Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning Come Up Empty at the NHL Awards

In what has seemingly been the biggest shocker of the night, the Tampa Bay Lightning has come up empty at the 2014 NHL Awards that took place tonight in Las Vegas.

At the risk of sounding a little biased here, I can’t see how this all played out tonight.

Don’t get me wrong, I have respect for each of the players and coaches that won in their respective categories, but there are still at least two complete shockers here for me.

If you ask my honest opinion, which I know you are just dying to hear, I truly believe that Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat deserved to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. Unfortunately, he only received 5 first place votes while MacKinnon received 130. Our guys simply had no chance here.

While I do concede that Nathan MacKinnon is a fantastic player who did indeed lead the rookies of the National Hockey League in points last season, Ondrej Palat had a substantially higher plus/minus rating and is an incredibly well-rounded player.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it was just not meant to be.

In regards to Jon Cooper not winning the Jack Adams Award, this is kind of a mixed bag for me. A coach’s contribution to their team is very subjective and the only people who truly know what a coach has contributed to his team is his own players.

Obviously, being a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, I felt like the person who should have won this award was Jon Cooper, I harbor no ill will towards Patrick Roy and still believe that he is a decent coach deserving of the distinction.

Unfortunately, the odds were not ever in Cooper’s favor as he only obtained just 5 first place votes, finishing in third place.

Now, the complete shock of the night comes at the hands of the Vezina Trophy.

While I do concede that Tuukka Rask is a phenomenal goalie who helped his team reach the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, I just plain cannot see how this award did not go to Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop.

Here is a look at the two strictly by the numbers:

2013-14 Season
  GPI W/L/OT GA SA SV SV% GAA
Bishop 63 37-14-7 133 1,758 1,625 .924 2.23
Rask 58 36-5-6 115 1,641 1,526 .930 2.04

 

As you can see, the two of them ran pretty neck and neck in just about every category. Tuukka Rask is most certainly a valid contender for the distinction when you look solely at the numbers.

I think where the distinction between these two players is being that Bishop was able to maintain numbers like these all the while playing with a pretty serious injury since around the time of the Olympic Break.

From where I am sitting, I would think that the sheer amount of heart and determination needed to perform at that level with any sort of injury would count for something when it comes “the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at this position.”

Unfortunately for Bishop, he only received one…yes one, first place vote. Needless to say, Rask walked away pretty comfortably with this one.

Unfortunately, when the curtain was drawn and the night was over, it was just not the Tampa Bay Lightning’s night to shine. The players that won awards at tonight’s ceremony, especially those categories that the Lightning had players and coaches nominated for, deserved the distinction they were awarded.

The good news is, this officially closes out the 2013-14 Season. Now, we here in the Bolts Nation can start looking forward to next season; our pending free agent signings, the NHL Draft, Development Camp, and eventually the preseason and home opener.

Besides, as much as I would have like for all of our guys to bring home some additional hardware tonight, I’d rather have one piece of hardware…the Stanley Cup. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be gunning for that, the most sacred of hardware, next season.

I hope you’re ready!

 

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