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Memorabilia Memories: End Of The Season Awards

You might recognize the "Memorabilia Memories" (formerly "Lighting the Lamp") feature from the Game Time paper. Rick Ackerman has been nice enough to send over his column for the website. "Memorabilia Memories" will be featured every home game day.

Memorabilia Memories with Rick Ackerman

The regular season ends later tonight and we still don't know who the Blues will face in the opening round of the 2015 playoffs. We will find out if it is either Minnesota, Chicago or Winnipeg later tonight when Chicago's game at Denver and Anaheim's contest at Arizona are over.

In the meantime, here are the regular season awards for Blues' players based on the NHL awards handed out later in June when the playoffs are over. Below are listed my fictional St. Louis trophies with an explanation of what they are for along with the corresponding NHL trophy. The envelopes please.

Mike Liut Trophy (Outstanding Goaltender/Vezina):

Jake Allen edges Brian Elliott (and Martin Brodeur) for the Blues best goaltender during the regular season. He was hot during the last two months of the season, salvaging the final two weeks when Elliott faltered down the stretch. Overall, Allen won 22 games and only lost seven in regulation. He registered four shutouts.

Al MacInnis Trophy (Outstanding Defenseman/Norris):

Kevin Shattenkirk was on his way to a shot at the Norris Trophy as best defenseman in the league when injured in Washington on February 1. At that point, he was the leading scorer among defensemen in the entire league. Nevertheless, he returned for the last two weeks of the regular season and continued to pile up the points (four in six games) and increasing his plus/minus number to +19, second best on the team. He has accumulated 44 points despite missing 25 games.

Barret Jackman Trophy (Outstanding Rookie/Calder):

Due to a limited number of games in the NHL prior to this season, this was actually Allen's rookie season and he easily wins the outstanding rookie award for his fine performance in goal. He has proven that winning the best goaltender in the AHL award last season was no fluke and is quite ready to lead the Blues into the playoffs along with Elliott.

Dale Hawerchuk Trophy (Sportsmanship and Gentlemanly Conduct/Lady Byng):

Jaden Schwartz has scored 28 goals and 63 points in 74 games with only 16 penalty minutes. He has shown a great deal of skill and talent during his fourth full year with the Blues after being drafted in the first round (14th overall) out of Colorado College in 2010. Playing for most of the season on a line with Jori Lehtera and Vlad Tarasenko, Schwartz has shown he can both put the puck in the net and set up his linemates with uncanny precision.

Rob Ramage Trophy (Most Improved Player):

Vlad Tarasenko had a sensational season scoring 36 goals and 71 points in 76 games. He could have topped the 40 goal plateau, yet missed the last 6 games of the regular season after a lower body injury suffered in a game at home on March 30 against Vancouver when he was tripped by Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Completing the final year of his entry level contract, Tarasenko's excellent regular season will surely earn him a huge salary increase during contract negotiations this summer. His agent, former Blues goaltender Mike Liut, will make sure his Russian client is adequately rewarded.

Larry Patey Trophy (Outstanding Defensive Forward/Selke):

Steve Ott provides quite the inspiration and leadership for his teammates. Despite being the Blues oldest regular forward (Ollie Jokinen is older yet is not a true regular), Ott is a hustling, buzz-bomb of a player, skating hard into opposing players and stirring up trouble whenever possible. He has only scored three goals in 78 games, but adds a lot more to the checking, defensive game necessary to keep the opposition from scoring. He is exactly the kind of player that is needed for playoff success, too.

Scotty Bowman Award (Outstanding Coach/Jack Adams):

Brad Shaw is the architect of the Blues penalty-killing system (now ranked eighth in the league after being ranked 21st in early February) and has quietly earned the respect of the players. A constant positive influence behind the scenes, Shaw manages the defense, now ranked fifth in the league going into the last game tonight. And the Blues are ranked third in the entire league for the least number of shots allowed per game.

Brian Sutter Award (Outstanding Player/Pearson):

Alexander Steen did not match last year's lofty goal and point total, yet he nonetheless contributed offensively and would have ended up second in team scoring if not injured on March 28 in a home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Despite missing eight games, Steen is second (to Alex Pietrangelo) on the team in assists while scoring 24 goals.

Bob Plager Award (Dedication to Hockey/Masterson):

Injuries have plagued Barret Jackman’s career since winning the Rookie of the Year Trophy in 2003. Nevertheless, Jackman shows up to play every night he is able, only missing two games the entire season. He is the heart and soul of the team, rightfully wearing Plager’s #5 sweater with pride and dedication, a true professional.

Brett Hull Trophy (Top Goal Producer/Rocket Richard): Tarasenko

Bernie Federko Trophy (Top Point Producer/Art Ross): Tarasenko

Barclay Plager Award (Leadership/Patrick):

Captain David Backes plays a tough, solid defensive game, among the NHL leaders in hits with 224. At the same time, he contributes to the offense, scoring 26 goals and racking up 58 points in 80 games, fourth on the team. A gritty, hard working, hard checking bruiser, Backes makes opposing players keep their heads up at all times and is one of the true leaders (by example) of the Blues.

Bob Gassoff Award (Hard Hat/Toughest Player):

Ryan Reaves has scored six goals and 12 points in 80 games for the Blues, yet is much more valuable for his hustling play and tenacious checking. Reaves leads the Blues and is fourth in the entire NHL with 269 hits. You just have to love a guy who gets his head checked into the glass, goes to the bench to pull out a tooth and hand it to a trainer, and then goes back to play, not even missing a shift.

Dan Kelly Trophy (Most Valuable Player/Hart): Tarasenko.

Thanks for reading; see you soon (next week) for playoff games one and two!