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Some afternoon links on a Monday off the ice

With an off day for the Bruins after taking four perfect points over the weekend and opening a seven point lead over the Washington Capitals [1] (and eight points over the suddenly-reeling New Jersey Devils [2]), here’s another edition of afternoon links.

Just coming off the radio co-hosting the Dale and Holley program with Dale Arnold [3] on 850 WEEI, and there was quite a bit of email interest in the upcoming Bruins 7th player Award. The award has always been part popularity contest and part unsung hero, and this season shouldn’t be any different. Earlier in the year I thought that Blake Wheeler [4] would be a shoo-in after going from relatively unknown rookie bound for Providence to a potential Calder Trophy candidate.

But Wheeler cooled off as he hit the rookie wall over the last few months, and David Krejci [5] has been an important player for the Bruins all season long — even when his scoring tailed off a bit following the All-Star break. Krejci is second on the team with69 points and leads the entire NHL [6] with a +/- of +36. 

Matt Hunwick has the third-most points of any B’s defenseman(6 goals, 18 assists for 24 points) this season, and has given the Boston coaching staff needed depth along the blueline all season. That Hunwick has done his damage in only 46 games this season speaks to how good he’s been while in the lineup. Also, remember this is a former sixth round draft pick that was one of the last cuts in training camp, and that means — for a guy manning the first power play unit — he’s gone way “above and beyond expectations” this season.

Several people emailed the show this morning/afternoon about Dennis Wideman [7] being another candidate for the 7th Player Award, but Wideman was expected to be the puck-moving complement to Zdeno Chara [8] along the back line — and he’s moderately exceeded expectations. Not to the level of guys like Krejci, Wheeler  and Hunwick, however.

My vote goes to Krejci…now on to the links.

–Just when you think NESN play-by-play guy Jack Edwards has pulled out everything  in his “Spooned it down the River by the Half-Wall” dictionary, he took it to a new level with last night’s call on Milan Lucic [9] burying Randy Jones [10] behind the Flyers net. It’s pretty difficult to determine what Edwards actually said over the hyena-like cackling, but here’s the verbatim transcript: “Lucic hammers him! Down goes Jones! And how’s this for irony: The crowd wants a call for a hit from behind! AH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!”

–Helmet tip to Yahoo! blogger Puck Daddy [11]for unearthing this interview with noted Bostonian and Red Sox [12] fan Jeremy Roenick [13], which is notable for a couple of different things: first the reverential treatment given to Curt “Superstar” Schilling when his picture pops up and secondly the long pause while J.R. decides whether to bury Wayne Gretzky [14] or give him his proper due after their very public feuding while Roenick was skating for the Coyotes.

–Speaking of awards, here’s a good story in the Toronto Sun about Zdeno Chara’s very real candidacy for the Norris Trophy [15]awarded to the league’s best defenseman. Chara doesn’t have the best offensive numbers among candidates that include Nik Lidstrom and Mike Green [16], but 6-foot-8 “Z” is the ultimate shutdown blueliner capable of putting the clamps down on superstars like Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin [17].

Heard an argument over the weekend that the Norris Trophy should be given to the best all-around defenseman in the league — with more weight given toward players like Chara that make defending the puck priority number one — and that a Bobby Orr [18] Trophy could/should be added for the best offensive defenseman in the NHL [19]. Don’t think too many people in Boston would quibble with something like that.