What To Watch For In The Last Five Games Of Meaninglessness

By Keith Schultz

Jan 20, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing

Patrick Kane

(88) and center

Jonathan Toews

(foreground) stand alongside the Blackhawks

After about a period of last night’s game even though I already knew it, there really wasn’t any meaning in the Hawks vs Predators match.  There wasn’t a hard check to be found which had to be good news for Marcus Kruger who routinely gets the brute end of all the hard hits delivered by opponents.  In the standings there isn’t anything meaningful going on but there is still a few things to watch for in the Hawks last five games mainly post-season awards.

The Hart Trophy-MVP (Last Hawk to win-Stan Mikita 1968)

This is a two man chase to pass Sidney Crosby  and the surging Alex Ovechkin by both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Kane has the bravado and the points lead for the Hawks right now by 3 with 21 goals and 28 assists.  Kane started off the season incredibly hot but has cooled off a bit, but he did score a goal against Pekka Rinne and collected an assist on Marian Hossa‘s OT winner.  Toews has scored the same amount of goals as Kane with 3 less assists.  Toews is the leader of the team, faceoff leader, and the guy that can beat you ugly or pretty but he’s going to beat you.  If one of these guys goes on a tear it could be the first MVP trophy for a Blackhawk in 45 seasons.

The Calder Trophy– Rookie of the Year (Last Hawk to Win- Patrick Kane 2007-2008)

Brandon Saad is fifth in scoring on the best team in the NHL  having collected his 10th goal of the season against the Predators last night.  Saad after a slow start getting points, once he started has not stopped getting pucks in the net and his passing has been tremendous.  The leader in the Calder race is Jonathan Huberdeau with 14 goals and 14 assists for the Florida Panthers. Saad will have to put up some big time numbers in the last 5 games to pass him in points but a couple things to point out is Saad is  playing on the top line of the top team and he hasn’t been a drop off in talent even though it is his first season. Secondly he has a +/- of +16 while Huberdeau has a -15 rating meaning that Saad just doesn’t score goals but plays both ends of the ice.

Vezina Trophy-Top Goaltending (Last Hawk to Win- Ed Belfour-1992-1993)

This may be a reach but let’s look at win percentage and nobody in the league can match Ray Emery‘s 16-1 record.  Emery has been outstanding with a .923 save percentage and 1.91 Goals against average.  Emery is one of the reasons the Hawks have been at the top of the standings all year.  If Emery was the clear cut #1 with 10 more game under his belt he probably would be the runaway winner this season. With only one loss Emery should still be in the conversation for the Vezina.

Lady Byng– Most Gentlemanly Conduct (Last Hawk to Win-Stan Mikita 1966-1967)

If Patrick Kane doesn’t pick up the Hart he could still be in line for the Byng. Kane only has 4 minor penalties called on him all season and while this isn’t the manly award it still a post-season award which a Blackhawk could be in line for.  Kane plays hard and rarely acts out, and even though Toews dropped the gloves this year against Joe Thornton I can’t remember when Kane has dropped the gloves last.

The only real thing to watch for in the last 5 games of meaninglessness is that the Hawks remain healthy, ready, and sharp for the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but adding to the post-season trophy case may give Hawks fans a reason to tune in before April 30th.

What do you think about the Hawks chasing any awards?

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