Okay, so there is a ton of buzz right now about Karlsson’s worthiness or unworthiness for the Norris trophy. Basically there’s two sides of this debate, the ravenous, passionate fan-based perspective and the stern serious, established hockey journalist perspective. Seems like there’s no middle ground with this one. Not sure why it’s so devisive? I think it’s because he’s just so young and cute and God don’t you just want to cradle him sometimes? Wait are we still talking about Varada’s new kitten?
Here’s my take. Karlsson absolutely deserves this award and the only reason the media won’t give it to him is the complete absence of an objective stat that adquately convey’s his contribution. Seriously, people claim he’s only a power play specialist but Filip Kuba has more power play goals while Campbell and Suter are close in PP points. He’s a defensive liability yet he leads the league in takeaways. He isn’t responsible in his own end yet he leads a resurgent team in ice time. Don’t blame him if the talking heads don’t have an all encompassing stat to crystallize the concept of defensive hockey. It’s not his adorable little fault you big jerks!
Also Jason Spezza’s tires are getting pumped for a Hart nom, plausible?
James chanced to Imagineer:
I like my Erik Karlsson Norris discussion like I like my mainstream Ottawa Senators coverage. Largely dismissed and underdog as shit.
As a fan, I like all eyez on other teams. SO FAR SO GOOD BTW!
BREAKING: Brian Burke just realized he forgot to TiVO Pawn Stars last night. Updates to follow!
Anyway, as I was saying, it’s all good, keep the attention on our rivals diarrheaing all over themselves. Up until recently, a lot of the coverage outside of the Sensphere of Ottawa’s surprising season has been more about streaks, holes in the lineup, how they will cool down eventually, more than how they are just #winning (too soon?) but that’s fine. I am happy being a fan of a team that a lot of people gloss over that has snuck itself into 5th in the East (with a lot of games in hand but still).
The same sentiment goes for all the fronting on Erik Karlsson’s season. Though I will admit I was very surprised to read in a recent Greg Wyshynski article that EK was actually the favorite to win the Norris in a USA Today hockey writers poll. That said, I’ve been reading a number of pieces about why Our Special Little Guy should NOT be considered for the Norris trophy (including 90% of said Wyshynski article). The reasons people are giving are by no means crazy and to tell you the truth, I’m fine with all of it. It is very win-win, he loses the Sens save a little bit of money on his pending contract if he wins the Sens have a a 21 year old that just won the frigging Norris on their team! What did that rap man Noteworthy B.F.G. say in his song, “Big Monies, No Problems”? If you ask me my personal thoughts on whether he has earned his way into a nomination, I say without question he has. Here are my admittedly biased reasons why:
On pace for over a point per game
Playing 25+ mins per game (team leading)
With a +15 rating (2nd highest on team)
Over 20 points ahead of next highest scoring defenseman.
In top ten in ALL NHL scoring (only D man in the top 73 btw)
21 years of age (biggest reason, for me)
Plays for Ottawa Senators. (second biggest reason)
Like YES I GET IT, ERIK KARLSSON IS NOT NIKLAS “ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN AND MAYBE TO ONE LUCKY GAL” LIDSTROM…but I tip the scale in EK’s favor a little bit because of his age, the team he plays for compared to the others in the discussion – I love me my Senators but EK does not have the Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom guys to feed passes to like Green did, not to mention his ever growing plus rating, the massive point differential he holds and just his general all around improvement over last year’s -30 performance.
Will these points (no pun intended) win him the trophy? Mmmm probably not, I could see it going to Lidstrom, the Meryl Streep of Norris trophy winning and like Streep, deservedly so. But like the impressiveness of Lidstrom’s age, it’s Karlsson’s 21 years that really blows my mind. On pace for over 80 points in only his second FULL NHL season. Wow. Does he kill penalties as much as Shea Weber? No, but does Shea Weber have 51 assists? Different defensemen…different dietary needs! Anyway, it’s a special season he’s having. I’m too in awe of it and I watch almost every single game he plays (especially if that delightful Denis Potvin is involved!). I’m too close to him to make a proper call…so….?…Celebrate the moments of our lives?
As for Spezza for Hart talk…Jeez, this is a new one…I haven’t given much thought to this. From my perspective, the touchstone moment was during what shall be known as The Season Of Turds (2010-2011) when Spezza went down with an injury and missed the entire month of February. Ottawa won just one
motherfucking game with Spezza out of the line up. He returned a man possessed. He started tearing it UP and hasn’t really slowed down since. It’s become more clear this year that as Spezza goes, so the team goes. When he doesn’t put up points the team basically doesn’t win. Good thing he scores all the frigging time. Now, that’s a valuable player. It’s a question of how that value stacks up league wide.
Haters, who allegedly gon’ hate, said that Spezza would flounder without his former wingman Heatley but losing Dirtbag Dany could prove to be the best thing to happen to Spezza as a player. He has worked hard to round out his game and has become heir apparent to the Sens captaincy when Daniel Alfredsson retires in 2024.
Now, back to the whole, Spezza: good, Hart: ? thing. Well, if there was a Hart trophy for each teaaaam…yeah he’s a lock. There aint one of those, save for Your Draglam Salt: Ottawa’s Best And Saltiest Salt Hardest Working Sen Award, so when the discussion gets league wide it’s pretty tricky. With Gino Malkin’s Mario Lemieux-like rushes and leading the Pens in this non-Crosby paradigm, I think he is the current favorite. There is also a ton of hype around Claude Giroulx. Hype that extends down to the United States, which is both important when it comes to voting and something Spezza doesn’t get to enjoy. Finally, there is the question of whether the voters will be hypnotized by the gaudy number of goals Steven Stamkos of the Lightening, who stiiiiiink, is bound to put up (currently projected at over 60, YIKES!). Actually, now that I think on it, if he can continue his strong play into April Spezza’s for sure in the discussion. Can any of you beauty readers think of some other players who could be considered ahead of Spezza or should we just break into the hockey hall of fame now, steal the trophy, burn “WTYKY LUVZ U” into his lawn, leave the trophy on his front step, ring the doorbell and then hide in the bushes until the police arrive?
I believe he will be in the discussion for the Hart. But in terms of contention, I think he falls under the radar (ie the Stamkoses, Malkins, Giroux’s all have more exposure in the American market). It has been proven that when the Pezz dispenser is…well…..dispensing, the team wins, and when he’s not there they don’t do as well, and there is something to be said for that. But there is a wide pool of talent in the NHL and this year I think Spezza looks Top 5 in the league. Gino or “I score at will” Stamkos will get the Hart because they simply can’t be overlooked.
The Norris should be his period. This isn’t just cause Im a sens fan, or cause i secretly want Karlsson in and around my mouth; but because he deserves it! He’s got every other defence beaten by a mile, most takeaways, most minutes; we aren’t talking about a one dimensional player like Green. Unfortunately for Weber he isn’t having as good a season as the great King K, but who would have figured Karlsson would have put up a season like this? What it boils down to is the stats which EK has got. For every argument that he isn’t good in his own end (most takeaways, most minutes? I dont get that), sure he doesn’t play those PK minutes, but does that mean that someone who kills Penalties all the time should recieve more consideration for Norris contention? It’s EK’s! Period!
Paulrus for Prez!
“or cause i secretly want Karlsson in and around my mouth” Wins the Funniest Thing Said In The Comment Section Award. That got a solid LOL out of me and I’m at a funeral! Before you ask, the funeral is for the passing of Devin Setoguchi’s Shootout Confidence, RIP.
Weber is actually having a great season. Good number of hits, few penalties resulting from those hits. Nice amount of goals, assits, short-handed and power play time. Looks like a complete defenseman to me. If you look at past Norris winners, they log on average 2:00 or so SH time per game, more or less :15. It’s the trophy for all-around play, not leading defesemen in points and there is likely a rep factor too that Karlsson hasn’t achieved…