The Nashville Predators, despite having the most successful season in franchise history, fell short on NHL awards. Shea Weber finished a mere 9 votes shy of Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, 736 to 727, for the top defenseman (as well as 35 first-place votes for Lidstrom, to 32 for Weber. It was the closest Norris trophy race in 15 years.
Predator’s goalie and semi-god Pekka Rinne managed to finish second to Boston’s Tim Thomas for the Vezina trophy. Rinne had a spectacular year, including some heroics in the playoffs—even with Nashville falling short in the end. However, the lingering taste left in the mouths of most hockey fans is that of Tim Thomas taking on the goalie who finished third (Roberto Luongo of Vancouver) and outclassing him in the Stanley Cup Finals. Along with second place in the Vezina voting, Rinne also managed finished fourth in the running for the Hart Trophy (MVP).
Coach Barry Trotz finished third in coach of the year voting. The winner was Dan Bylsma of the Penguins, with second place going to Alain Vigneault of the Canucks.
The Predators had their best season ever, and they do not need any of these awards to verify that. Although receiving recognition is nice, next year Smashville will make another push at the only piece of hardware that actually matters: The Stanley Cup.