Celtics

Morning Skate 114: Haggs' mid-season awards

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Morning Skate 114: Haggs' mid-season awards

With the Bruins reaching the exact midpoint of their schedule tonight in a road game against the Carolina Hurricanes, here are the NHL midseason awards as I see them halfway through the year:

Hart Trophy: Jonathan Toews Its hard to argue with the numbers. One of a handful of players with more than 20 goals, winning more than 60 percent of his face-offs, playing more than 20 minutes a night and hes a plus-13. Captain Serious is on track for some serious awards. Other mentions: Phil Kessel, Claude Giroux, Marian Gaborik, Henrik Sedin, Steve Stamkos, Evgeni Malkin.

Norris Trophy: Zdeno Chara Hes having his best statistical season and has been a monster since the beginning of November. His five power play goals put in a tie with Shea Weber and Dion Phaneuf and his plus-28 leads all NHL defenseman. Other mentions: Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson, Kimmo Timmonen.

Vezina Trophy: Henrik Lundqvist Tough to keep it away from either of the Bruins goaltenders, but Lundqvist is one of the biggest reasons the Rangers are leading the Eastern Conference. The .937 save percentage and 1.89 goals against average are legit for King Henrik. Other mentions: Tim Thomas, Tuukka Rask, Brian Elliott, Jonathan Quick.

Calder Trophy: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins The Nuge is still leading all rookies in scoring, but New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique is quickly catching up to him in a talented crop of first year players. Other mentions: Adam Henrique, Cody Hodgson, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Read.

Jack Adams Award: Kevin Dineen -- Has got to be Kevin Dineens award to lose down in Florida after changing the losing culture and getting the Panthers into the middle of the playoff mix. Its been more than 10 years since the Panthers have made the playoffs, and Dineen is a big reason theyll be in this season. Other mentions: Ken Hitchcock, Paul MacLean, John Tortorella.

Selke Trophy: Patrice Bergeron The Bs center is on pace for more than 70 points, has won close to 60 percent of his face-offs on the best draw team in the NHL and is the best defensive forward playing for the best defensive team. Winning the Stanley Cup certainly helped Bergeron get some recognition, and this is the year when it all catches up to No. 37. Other mentions: Jonathan Toews, Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsyuk.

Lady Byng: Martin St. Louis Its his award until he decides to retire, so theres really no competition for it despite the dark horse run by Loui Eriksson last season. Worth mentioning: Daniel Paille has zero penalty minutes in 36 games this season. Other mentions: Andrew Brunette, Matt Read, Daniel Paille, Loui Eriksson, Kyle Wellwood.

On to the links:

Down Goes Brown has their humorous look at the NHL All-Star snubs around the league.

A good piece by New England Hockey Journals Jesse Connelly on the hockey-friendly Felger and Mazz Show thats helped bring the Bruins and hockey make into the media mainstream in New England.

Great piece of Kevin Paul Dupont on legendary Boston Globe hockey scribe Fran Rosa, who passed away last week.

Pro Hockey Talk has the story of the Philly police getting to the bottom of the meathead Flyers fans that attacked several Rangers fans at a Cheese Steak stand after the Winter Classic.

A good look by Yahoo at the Montreal Canadiens, Pierre Gauthier and the trade for Rene Bourque as examples of something very strange going on up in Montreal.

Steve Buckley from the Boston Herald tracked down Ken Linseman, who loves Brad Marchands game and says he proudly carries on The Rat tradition in Boston.

A plea for the end to staged fighting by the Globe and Mail. Is this really whats wrong with the game of hockey? I dont think so.

For something completely different: Southie families are up in arms about a meeting that may take place between Mark Wahlberg and Whitey Bulger as precursor to a movie about the Boston gangster.

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on it’s own feel, it’s own flavor and - eventually - it’s own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”