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Forum Index > Paul MacLean faced the most adversity, losing several stars

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WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg struck out nine over seven innings, Ian Desmond homered in the seventh to help give the righty his first win in June and the Washington Nationals beat the slumping Colorado Rockies 2-1 on Friday night. Making his 14th start of the season, Strasburg (4-6) allowed one run on five hits for his first victory since May 31. After DJ LeMahieus RBI single in the third inning, Strasburg kept the Rockies scoreless. Colorado lost its fifth straight. Trailing 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Anthony Rendon singled off Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood and came around to score the tying run on Ryan Zimmermans double into the right field corner. Facing reliever Manny Corpas (0-2) leading off the seventh, Desmond swatted a 2-0 pitch over the centre field wall for his 12th homer of the year. Reliever Drew Storen worked the eighth and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for his 19th save as the Nationals moved one game above .500 at 37-36 while the Rockies fell one game under at 37-38. Colorado picked up a timely two-out hit in the third as LeMahieu singled to left, scoring Josh Rutledge from second. That was the Rockies only hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They have scored two runs through the opening two games of the four-game series. After Dexter Fowler reached second base with one out in the eighth following a walk and Storens throwing error, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer struck out. In two starts since returning from the disabled list on June 16 following a lower lat strain, Strasburg has surrendered one earned run and seven hits over 12 innings. That type of effort has not always led to wins thanks to Washingtons batting woes. In his six losses, the Nationals have scored eight total runs. Corpas pitched 1 2-3 innings, allowing only Desmonds homer. Chatwood gave up one run and four hits over six innings with four strikeouts and two walks. He entered the game having allowed one earned run in three road starts. The Nationals failed to put a runner into scoring position through five innings. Rendon had two of the Nationals five hits. Cuddyers opposite field single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the majors. Cuddyer promptly stole second base and moved to third with one out, but Strasburg neatly ended the threat with a strikeout and grounder. NOTES: Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he expects OF Bryce Harper to begin a rehab assignment at single-A Potomac on Tuesday. Sidelined since May 26 with left knee bursitis, Harper ran in the outfield on Friday and was expected to take swings in the indoor batting cage. ... Cuddyer has reached base safely in 38 straight games, tying the Rockies record set by Matt Holliday in 2007. ...Fowler (right ring finger) returned to the Rockies lineup in the leadoff spot after missing the previous three games. ... The Rockies called up OF Corey Dickerson from Triple-A Colorado Springs and designated RHP Logan Kensing for assignment. ...Colorado RHP Jhoulys Chacin (5-3, 4.26) opposes Dan Haren (4-8, 5.72) for Saturdays 12:05 p.m. matchup www.houstontexansjerseysonline.com/elite-joe-mays-texans-jersey/ . The 2012 Super Bowl host committee chairman is still moving ahead, as scheduled, with his plans. www.houstontexansjerseysonline.com/elite-shiloh-keo-texans-jersey/ . Thomas Mueller put the visitors ahead off a rebound in the 43rd minute, Mario Mandzukic scored from another in the 59th, and Arjen Robbens shot took a deflection off the unlucky Thomas Kleine in the 78th. http://www.houstontexansjerseysonline.com/elite-randy-bullock-texans-jersey/. Myers pitched five innings of three-run ball against Houston on Friday, then said he had been dealing with a problem with the flexor tendon in his arm since spring training. www.houstontexansjerseysonline.com/elite-brice-mccain-texans-jersey/ .J. Umberger. The theme remains the same: When will the NHL be back? Umberger, a top-six forward for the Columbus Blue Jackets, doesnt know. www.houstontexansjerseysonline.com/elite-duane-brown-texans-jersey/ . Schwartzel and Wu shot 4-under 68s Friday to finish 9-under overall at the European and Asian Tour event. Some 75 players, half of the remaining field, were unable to complete the round. Scoreboard leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand was 10 under through nine holes.With the shortened 2013 NHL season in the books, Scott Cullen has his final take on the award races. Injuries played a factor this year, seemingly more than usual. Both the Hart and Norris Trophy had contenders that missed at least a quarter of the season and the Vezina race could have been different had Ottawas Craig Anderson not missed so much time. Its hard to provide value from the press box, dont you know? My previous installments this season are here: First Quarter, Midseason, Three Quarters and now these are my final award picks for the 2013 NHL season. HART TROPHY Winner: Alex Ovechkin, RW, Washington Runners-up: Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago; Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Comment: Through the first three quarters of this shortened NHL season, it was easy to have Sidney Crosby at the top of the MVP ballot. He was clearly having the best season, but then he suffered a broken jaw and missed the final quarter of the season, casting doubt on his Hart Trophy candidacy. I covered this in my three quarter awards and my position hasnt changed. Its one thing to say Sidney Crosby was having the best year prior to his injury; its another to say that hes 25% better than the second-best player in the league. As it turns out, there has been late charge among the contenders. Washington Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin scored a goal-per-game over his final 23 games to end up leading the league with 32 goals in 48 games (a 55-goal pace in an 82-game season) to emerge as a viable MVP candidate, something that seemed downright impossible early in the season. Toews has been great all season and would be a worthy winner, so he gets a runner-up spot ahead of teammate Patrick Kane and Columbus Sergei Bobrovsky. NORRIS TROPHY Winner: Ryan Suter, Minnesota Runners-up: P.K. Subban, Montreal; Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Comment: This race has been fascinating. Letang was my leader at the three-quarter mark, but was sidelined by a broken toe. Combined with several other injuries during the season, that left Letang missing 13 games in a 48-game schedule, more than Crosby, raising the question about whether Letang was that much better than every other defenceman that he could miss more than 25% of the season and provide more value. At the same time, Letang finished with 38 points, the same total as Subban in 42 games (remember, he missed a handful of games at the start of the year while negotiating a new contract), so with little to choose between them at the offensive end, it opened the door for a guy who was a viable candidate all along. Ryan Suter played more minutes than anyone in the league this year, a career-high 27:17 per game, but he did more than just hop the boards. His 32 points in 48 games represented the best per-game scoring output of his career and Suter regularly faced the oppositions best lines while paired with impressive rookie Jonas Brodin. Thats good enough to get the nod, ahead of two impressive puck-movers. Others that deserved consideration include familiar names: Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Zdeno Chara as well as 32-year-old Ducks veteran Francois Beauchemin, who had the best year of his career. VEZINA TROPHY Winner: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Runners-up: Henrik Lundqvist, N.Y. Rangers; Tuukka Rask, Boston Comment: There were three goaltenders to stop more than 94% of the shots they faced at even strength: Bobrovsky, Craig Anderson and Tomas Vokoun. Anderson missed a bunch of time due to injury and Vokoun was the backup in Pittsburgh, starting 17 games, so Bobrovsky is deserving of the honour as leagues top goaltender. More of the same from Lundqvist puts him in the discussion again and Rask didnt miss a beat, reclaiming the starting job in Boston with Tim Thomas gone. Others that warranted consideration include Anderson (.941 SV% in 24 games), Antti Niemi and Jimmy Howard. Lundqvist, Niemi and Howard all started more than 40 games and there should be some credit for durability in addition to stopping a high percentage of shots faced. CALDER TROPHY Winner: Brendan Gallagher, RW, Montreal Runners-up: Brandon Saad, LW, Chicago; Jonas Brodin, D, Minnesota Comment: None of the rookies ran away from the pack this year, leading to an argument to be made for several candidates. Im keeping Gallagher in top spot for good production, ranking second in goals (15) and fourth in points (28) among freshmen, despite playing fewer than 14 minutes per game. He was also a plus-10, one of three rookie forwards to be in positive double figures. The plus-minus leader among rookies was Saad (plus-17), the 20-year-old power forward whho finished strong (24 points in his last 28 games) while skating on the Blackhawks first line.dddddddddddd Brodin didnt have gaudy traditional stats (11 points, plus-3), but logged more than 23 minutes per game for the Wild, playing on the top pair with Ryan Suter. Since 2000-2001, Drew Doughty, Tyler Myers, Tobias Enstrom, Ryan Whitney, Duncan Keith, Francois Beauchemin and Filip Kuba are the only rookie defencemen to have logged more han 23 minutes per game (minimum 40 games). Myers and Doughty were the only teenagers from that group and Myers the only one with a positive plus-minus, so Brodins play puts him in rare company and would make him a worthy winner. A late-season charge (11 goals, 15 points, plus-7 in 14 April games) vaulted Nail Yakupov into a tie for the rookie scoring lead with Floridas Jonathan Huberdeau. Montreals Alex Galchenyuk also finished strong (six goals, 12 points, plus-6 in last 13 games) and Edmonton defenceman Justin Schultz showed he could score, putting up 27 points in 48 games, but his defensive play still needs work. While there was no runaway winner in this short season, there was pretty decent depth in the rookie class. SELKE TROPHY Winner: Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Runners-up: Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit; Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago. Comment: Using www.behindthenet.ca to look at strength of opposition, zone starts and shot differential, it becomes apparent which forwards are asked to do more than score. Any of these three are deserving winners and have been the leaders for quite some time. Some others that warrant consideration? The Blues David Backes remains a beast, taking the toughest assignments and still driving play in the right direction. While the top four are highly-regarded, Phoenixs Boyd Gordon doesnt get the same kind of publicity, but he was tremendous, generating positive shot differentials despite facing tough competition and starting 32.6% of his shifts in the offensive zone. LADY BYNG AWARD Winner: Martin St. Louis, RW, Tampa Bay Runners-up: Matt Moulson, RW, N.Y. Islanders, Logan Couture, C, San Jose Comment: I havent tracked this award all season, but can acknowledge the contenders for an award that is a consolation prize or a way to reward a player for a good season, so long as they had modest penalty minute totals. Martin St. Louis doesnt need a consolation award, since he won the Art Ross Trophy as the leagues scoring leader, with 60 points in 48 games, but he also had just 14 penalty minutes. Moulson (44 points, four PIM), Couture (37 points, four PIM), Pavel Datsyuk (49 points, 14 PIM) and Patrick Kane (55 points, eight PIM) are all plenty deserving too. JACK ADAMS AWARD Winner: Joel Quenneville, Chicago Runners-up: Paul MacLean, Ottawa; Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Comment: As always a difficult call. Ive had Quenneville in top spot ever since the Blackhawks went through the first half of the year without a regulation loss. No one is suggesting that the Blackhawks arent a very talented team, but Quenneville deserves credit for getting them to show up and perform at a high level night-in and night-out. Paul MacLean faced the most adversity, losing several stars -- Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson -- for long stretches, and dragging that team into the playoffs was an accomplishment unto itself, but at least part of the reason that the Sens survived was the strength of their goaltending (Robin Lehner had a .936 SV% after he was called up from the AHL, Ben Bishop had a .922 SV% before he was traded to Tampa Bay). That doesnt take away from what MacLean achieved, it only puts some question on where the responsibility lies. In any case, MacLean is plenty deserving if he ends up winning. A team that reached the playoffs despite a messy goaltending situation, the St. Louis Blues, probably warrants Ken Hitchcock garnering some votes. The Blues play stifling defence, in typical Hitchcock fashion, but the trio of Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen combined for a pedestrian .904 save percentage and only after Elliott was spectacular in April (posting a .948 save percentage). If not Hitchcock, Montreals Michel Therrien and the Islanders Jack Capuano could get consideration for turning around teams that struggled in 2011-2012, while Pittsburghs Dan Bylsma has tons of talent to work with, but he kept getting results despite numerous injuries. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. ' ' '

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