Popsicle Brothers Hockey Awards 2014

Updated: July 14, 2014
Popsicle Brothers Report Number 5
By:- Gary Norris Gray-BASN Staff Reporter
As we close the books on the National Hockey League 2014 season we must note that this year’s playoffs were the most watched since 1994. The Chicago Blackhawk and Los Angeles Kings Western Conference Championship series broke all hockey telecast records.
This year it was the unrelenting, determined, and dogged Los Angeles Kings winning three seven game Western Conference playoff games. The Kings ended the playoffs with the victory over the surprising, upstart, no-name New York Rangers for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Two of the four championship games were complete King blowouts. In the other two games goalie Henrik “THE KING” Lundqvist kept the Blueshirts alive with a game four victory, staving off elimination.
The League still has to work on some issues like 1.) The geographic alignment of the four divistandsions. 2.) Not capitalizing on the Cross Coastal Championship Series with the two biggest television markets. The New York Metropolitan Area and the Southern California basin. 3.) The size and strength of players.  4.) The racial integration of the league.
This 2014 series is what the league dreamed of, a matchup with that cross-coastal flavor and two big media markets. The League should have promoted this to the lay hockey fan but failed, an opportunity missed.
The League also changed the playoff format into a divisional matchup which increased fan interest with geographical rivalries like Boston-Montreal, Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, Los Angeles-San Jose, and Chicago-St. Louis. This also produced great play on the ice.
The new format also rekindled old bitter rivalries like the New York City tussle with the four time champion Islanders and two time champion Rangers or the 30 year Hudson River Battle with the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.
This  re-energized the Canadian conflicts Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators-Maple Leafs, or the improving Western Canadian tussle Calgary Flames-Edmonton Oilers.
The Winnipeg Jets are the lone wolf in the Canadian Mid-West. Maybe a team in Quebec City would solve that problem. “Can We All Say”, Arizona (Phoenix) Coyotes, how about this team returning to Canada?
The only down side happens to be the transfer of the Detroit Red Wings from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. Chicago Blackhawk fans are still complaining but the Toronto Maple Leaf fans are happy because this means the return of the long time bitter rival Detroit, one of the original six.
The Dallas Stars seem to be the American orphan child. They are a team that cannot claim a geographical conference because of the team’s site in the middle of the country. The same can be stated for the St. Louis Blues who are still in the Western Conference along with the Nashville Predators. The League still has work to do on realigning the four new divisions.
The four new conferences were created to limit travel time but they still have issues with the Western Conference
Consider moving Nashville, or Dallas, to Seattle which would create a natural geographical rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks. That also would divide the Pacific Division into a true north and south battle each season. With Vancouver, Seattle, and San Jose in the north and Los Angeles, Anaheim, and Phoenix in the south
Just food for thought in the 2015 season.
Here are the 2014 winners-
Vezina Trophy-Goalie- Boston Bruins- Tuukaa Rask- best goalie
William Jennings Award-Goalie- Los Angeles Kings-Jonathan Quick-wins for season’s lowest goals against.
Norris Award-Chicago Blackhawks-Duncan Keith wins -best defenseman
Lady Bing Trophy-Colorado Avalanche.- Ryan O’Reily wins – most sportsmanlike player
Hart Trophy Pittsburgh Penguins-Sid “The Kid” Crosby wins -MVP Most Valuable Player
Jack Adams Award-Colorado Avalanche-Patrick Roy- wins- Coach of the Year-
Manager of the Year-Anaheim Ducks- Bob Murray
 The National Hockey League announced the 2013-14 NHL All-Rookie Team, including the three players named as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the League’s top rookie: forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche.
Also named to the All-Rookie Team are two members of the Anaheim Ducks, goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Hampus Lindholm, and Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug.
Freshmen, Goal Brothers, Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers, Seth Jones and Jonathon Diaby for the Nashville Predators, Justin Bailey for the Buffalo Sabers, and Jordan Subban of the Vancouver Canucks should have a great second year in 2014-15. These brothers are changing the landscape of the National Hockey League.
Additional notes:- Will the League keep the contract to National Broadcasting Companies Sports (NBCS) or will the League return to the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network(ESPN).
The NBC broadcasts predominantly league games east of the Mississippi River. Like the Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, Washington Capitals, and sometimes the Chicago Blackhawks, true hockey fans missed the great play of the Western Conference and teams like the two time Champion Los Angeles Kings, the San Jose Sharks, and the Anaheim Ducks.
We all may have issues with ESPN with their racial, political, and social agendas, but they know how to telecast NHL games, with regional weekly coverage. Everybody got to see their team at least once a week.
News and Notes:- Winnipeg Jet forward Goal Brother 6’2” and 190 pound Evander Kane made it no secret that he would love to play with The Philadelphia Flyers forward Goal Brother 6’2 and 182 pound Wayne Simmonds. Two Black scoring machines on the same line Wow!!! That would be a huge front line for the Philadelphia Flyers who had trouble scoring at times last year. The League continues to refuses to invite the winds of change like two Goal Brothers leading a hockey team to the Stanley Cup Finals. The League CANNOT HAVE THAT, because they cannot get their heads around the fact that Black players WILL change the game. They want to keep it at the Euro-style pace because players cannot keep up with the speed of the 39 brothers on the ice today.Ottawa Senators v Winnipeg Jets
Will the New Jersey Devil future Hall of Fame goalie, Martin Brodeur play another year at “The Rock,” Prudential Center in Newark or retire? The New Jersey Devils must say thank you and goodbye to number 30. The team has to move on and look for a future goal tender. Brodeur is only 22 games away from 700 victories with 124 shutouts in over 1,000 games played. Could this be the reason why he is hanging on? The organization will retire the number 30 and Mr. Brodeur will have every Devil goalie record.
Will the San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins finally break up their teams as they seem to lack the motor to win in the playoffs? Both of these teams have the scoring potential to blow out teams. Neither team acquired that killer instinct. That is why both have failed to reach the Finals in recent years. The Sharks need a mean and nasty enforcer, Captain Joe Thornton is not it. The Penguins need a solid man in net (goalie), Marc-Andre Fleury is schizophrenic during playoffs games.
Will the Washington Capitals finally build a defense to help their three frustrated goalies and convince number 8, Alex Ovechkin to play team hockey instead of playing the Lone Ranger? For the last four years this has been the most underachieving team of the league. Goal Brother Joel Ward has done his best for this team, but the Caps are missing that winning fire to gain the cup.
Mr. Gray wishes for a San Jose Shark-New Jersey Devil final in 2015. Good Luck with that !!!!
Have a blessed summer and can’t wait to put those skates back on in October.
 Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com
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