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NHL Awards Watch: Tuukka Rask moves into Vezina lead; Crosby vs. Kane for MVP

AP(Ed. Note: This is a weekly feature on Puck Daddy in which we vote on the major NHL Awards. “We” being Wyshynski, Leahy, Mooney, Yahoo! NHL editor Sam McCaig and Yahoo! NHL scribe Nick Cotsonika. Voting is completed Monday night. The results will run every Tuesday on this very blog. Enjoy.)

The Boston Bruins have captured the Vezina Trophy twice since 2008-09, with Tim Thomas winning it both times. After he decided to take his talents to a bunker in an undisclosed location, Tuukka Rask inherited the starting gig.

Lo and behold, he’s the leading candidate for the Vezina in our latest NHL Awards Watch.

Can Rask win the big prize over division rivals like Carey Price and Craig Anderson, who’s still in the mix despite his injury? What about the Western Conference’s hottest goalie? You know, Sergei Bobrovsky? (Seriously? Yes, seriously.)

Coming up, the leaders for the major NHL awards as we pass the halfway mark of the season.

A note on the voting: All four panelists ranked the top five for each award, and point values were assigned to each player. Ties were broken by how high a player was ranked on the majority of ballots.

[Also: Where are the 'real' New York Rangers?]

Hart Trophy

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (25)
2. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (19)
3. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks (9)
4. Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (8)
5. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (7)

Crosby was the unanimous choice for the Hart, continuing to push the Penguins to the top of the conference and Chris Kunitz into the Richard race. Kane keeps pace by leading the Blackhawks on another unbeaten streak. Getzlaf and Staal are the centerpieces of productive top lines. Stamkos leads the league in goals. John Tavares and Jonathan Toews were among the other vote-getters.

Norris Trophy

1. Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins (19)
2. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phoenix Coyotes (18)
3. Ryan Suter, Minnesota Wild (17)
4. Francois Beauchemin, Anaheim Ducks (8)
5. P.K. Subban, Montreal Canadiens (6)

Letang continues to lead a close field for the Norris, leading the NHL in points for a defenseman with 28. Ekman-Larsson is having an all-around great season, including 17 points and a plus-7. Suter is second in the NHL at 23 points for a defenseman, skating 27:20 a night. Beauchemin remains the top choice for defensive defensemen, while Subban has surpassed Andrei Markov as the Habs’ best D-man this season. The Blues’ duo of Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk linger outside the Top 5.

Vezina Trophy

1. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (15)
2. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (13)
3. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators (12)
4. Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (10)
5. Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets (8)

Rask has the starts (20), the wins (14) and the stats (1.92 GAA) of a Vezina winner. Price leads the NHL in wins with 15 and has started 22 games. Anderson remains, for our money, the best goalie of the season but injuries have limited him to 15 games. Crawford has the numbers (1.79) but is sharing time with Ray Emery (11-0-0). Bobrovsky? Yes, Bobrovsky, who could be an MVP candidate too if the Jackets somehow make the cut.

Calder Trophy

1. Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers (18)
2. Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens (16)
3. Cory Conacher, Tampa Bay Lightning (14)
4. Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues (6)
5. Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild (3)

FINALLY, a goalie makes the chart, as Jake Allen of the Blues received support on two ballots. He’s 8-1, but has only played 10 games. Huberdeau leads the freshmen with 12 goals, while Conacher has 21 points to lead all rookies. Gallagher has a ton of support for his all-around stellar season. Brodin tied with Brendan Dillon of the Dallas Stars, but was given a third-place vote while Dillon was down the ballot.

Jack Adams Award

1. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks (24)
2. Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators (16)
3. Michel Therrien, Montreal Canadiens (16)
4. Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim Ducks (13)
5. Mike Babcock, Detroit Red Wings (2)

Coach Q still has a healthy lead, with MacLean edging Therrien in battle of Eastern Conference surprises. Boudreau’s Ducks are keeping pace with the Blackhawks. Babcock received a fourth-place vote, which was good enough to elevate him over Dan Bylsma, Claude Julien, Claude Noel and Mike Yeo in the field.

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