|Episode 26, Chris Drury, and the NHL Awards|
Last week was a blast. Don was in the basement with a nasty flare up of scurvy and I want to mention a few who stepped up while he was sick. @jtbrolly on twitter was nice enough to join me on episode 25 for 3Things. I also want to thank my brother Anthony and Zach from Accuscore for helping us preview the U.S. Open.
This week we have lined up an ambitious show that will help us transition from Hockey/Basketball season and into the summer. Dan Wolken from the made for iPad newspaper, The Daily, is going to join us to talk about life at an app. Also, Tim Graham from the AFC East blog on ESPN will join us to talk about the latest news on the lockout, the AFC East, and if the Bills will ever make the playoffs. Last, Joe Lemire from SI.COM will introduce us to the baseball season. We did preview the season a bit in April and have checked in a few times since, but it is time to really focus on the season. I want to ask Joe about the early death of the Indians and the Marlins, the future of Albert Pujols, and if anyone can stop the Red Sox and Phillies from playing in the World Series.
I will also one last time try to get @hitfixdaniel to come on the show and preview the Summer television season.
It will be The Sports-Casters Super Summer Spectacular.
The show will be posted on the Sports-Casters website on Tuesday evening. You can also subscribe on iTunes, give us a thumbs up on Stitcher, or listen on the instacast or downcast app.
A couple of weeks ago, a story surfaced that the Rangers were planning to buy out the remaining years on Chris Drury's contract and make him a free agent. Since that initial report, a separate report has surfaced that says Drury will not be bought out due to a degenerative knee injury and instead will be placed on long-term injured reserve. Some have reported that the injury is so serious that it could mean we have seen the last of Chris Drury in the NHL.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Chris Drury. I loved him before he was the Sabres Captain, I loved him while he was the Sabres Captain, and I will love him long after he decides to hang up his skates.
Drury has lived a charmed life. He won the Little League World Series as a youngster for his hometown, Trumbull, Connecticut. He was recruited to play college hockey for Boston University where he witnessed the shocking injury to his friend Travis Roy, became an All-American, and won the National Championship. During his rookie season in the National Hockey League, Drury won the Calder Tropy and helped Ray Borque and the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup.
He has represented the United States in the Olympics and has scored more clutch goals than any athlete I can remember. I would say he is the Derek Jeter of ice hockey. During the Sabres run to the Presidents Trophy in 2007, the Sabres played a game in Pittsburgh. That night, Mario came on to the ice to announce hockey would remain in Pittsburgh and a new arena would be built. Also, a reporter from Sports Illustrated was in attendance to work on a story about the clutch life of Chris Drury. The Sabres found themselves down by a goal with less than a minute remaining and doing what Chris Drury does he buried one in the back of the net and the Sabres went home with a point they should have never had on the night Mario saved hockey in Pittsburgh, again.
Later that season, the Sabres had 19 seconds to score a goal to prevent a three game losing streak in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final against the New York Rangers. They would also have to head back to Madison Square Garden facing elimination and ending the most promising season in Sabres history short of any of the goals they set out to achieve. Like he always did, Drury flipped the script and tied the game with 7.7 second to go. The Sabres won in overtime, won the series, and went on to play in their second straight Eastern Conference Final.
Drury missed most of last season trying to recover from the injury that might end his career. The Rangers were fading down the stretch and Drury told his coach he was good to play game 82. The game that the Rangers needed to clinch the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Drury scored a goal on his first shift to tie the game at 1. It was classic Drury a goal scored with hustle, determination, and his won't give up personality. If it was the last classic moment, what a moment it was...
Drury is a stud no matter what your standard for stud happens to be. He has proved in his career to be a leader, a captain, and a champion. God Bless, Chris Drury.
Let's give away some trophies. June 22, 2011 the NHL world will head to Las Vegas for an awards spectacular hosted by Jay Mohr. Since the show is so packed on Tuesday, I don't think we will have the time on The Sports-Casters to give our choices for the Hart, Vezina, Calder, Jack Adams, Selke, and Lady Byng, instead I will make my selections on the Blog-Casters.
Cory Perry, Daniel Sedin, and Martin St. Louis are the three finalists for the Hart Trophy given to the league MVP. Perry made a late push and St. Louis had a great season and was a larger part in the continued development of Steven Stamkos, but Daniel Sedin is the runaway winner of this award. Luckily for Sedin, the votes were cast long before the disaster that was his 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.
Roberto Luongo. Tim Thomas, and Pekka Rinne are the finalists for the Vezina trophy given to the leagues most outstanding goaltender. Luongo won a lot of games for the leagues best team, and Rinne emerged as one of the best in the league, but his numbers don't touch the 2.00 GAA and .938 GAA. Thomas also had 35 wins only three less than the league leading 38 put up by Luongo. Tim Thomas is going to win the Vezina.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Shea Weber, and Zdeno Chara are the finalists for the Norris trophy given to the player demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all around play at the position of defense. Lidstrom had a fantastic season at age 40, but I suspect his invitation to Vegas was more a kind gesture than an indication he will take the Norris Trophy home with him. Shea Weber is one of those young players that convince me Canada will win gold at the Olympics from now until further notice. However, this award is going to be won by Zdeno Chara. His name is really close to Zenia, the name of my great-grandmother, and his steady, intimidating play was one of the reasons Thomas put up some of the number he did and why the Bruins won the Northeast Division, the Eastern Conference, and The Stanley Cup.
The Calder Trophy is given to the NHL's finest rookie and this season brings an impressive group to Vegas. Logan Couture scored 32 goals for the Sharks, Michael Grabner (A Canucks draft pick) scored 34 goals for the Islanders, and Jeff Skinner scored 31 goals for the Hurricanes. This award is close, but I think it has to go to Jeff Skinner, the 19-year old with a 10-year old face helped the Hurricanes draw the Justin Bieber crowd. I wouldn't be shocked if Grabner or Couture win, but I like my Skinner pick.
Lady Byng Trophy:
The Lady Byng award is given for gentlemanly conduct. Lidstrom, St. Louis, and Loui Erikkson all seem like fine gentleman, but Lidstrom is a legend and is respected by just about everyone. I would almost guarantee Nicklas Lidstrom wins the Lady Byng.
Frank J Selke Trophy:
The Selke is given to the forward who contributes the most to the defensive end. M. Satan for example has never been nominated for this award. This year Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, and Jonathan Toews make up what could be the best field in the history of the award. Kesler has emerged as the best American born hockey play and JT has the year of years last season winning the Gold for Canada and the Cup for Chicago. I think Pavel Datsyuk win this award. He is so silky smooth and plays 200 feet more efficiently than anyone I have watched.
Jack Adams Award:
The Jack Adams award is give to the league's best coach. It would be cooler if they called it the Toe Blake Award. Then the winner could call up his parents and say, "Hey Mom, I won the TOE!" This year Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh), Barry Trotz (Nashville), and Alain Vigneault (Vancouver) are up for the award this year. Dan Bylsma will win this award. It's simple, he was a stud on 24/7, his team had over 100 points without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for most of the season, and he was a stud on 24/7.
I need a puppy to say goodnight.. BREEEEEEEESY, say goodnight girl.