The Bruins had themselves quite a time in the pleasure-filled city of Las Vegas, and that was even before they hit the casinos and good times waiting for them on the Vegas Strip. It was a clean sweep of the biggie awards for the B’s candidates at the NHL  Awards show in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
After Tim Thomas  and Manny Fernandez  accepted the Jennings Award Trophy together, Zdeno Chara  was named an NHL  First Team All-Star and Thomas accepted the Vezina Trophy for the league’s best goaltender in a landslide victory over the competition. B’s head coach Claude Julien  followed with a pretty comfortable victory for the Jack Adams  Trophy and — in a tight win over offensive-minded blueliner Mike Green  — Chara came away with his first career Norris Trophy.
Chara finished with 1032 overall points and 68 first place votes while Green finished with 982 total points and 50 first place votes in an incredibly tight voting race.
Julien was named the winner of the 2009 Jack Adams Award, which is awarded ‘to the head coach who has contributed the most to his team’s success,’ Chara was named the winner of the 2009 Norris Trophy, which is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position’ and Thomas was named the winner of the 2009 Vezina Trophy, which is awarded ‘to the goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position.’
The Bruins were presented with these honors during the 2009 NHL Awards at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. Julien beat out St. Louis’ Andy Murray and San Jose’s Todd McLellan by a vote of 224 to 135 to 98 win his first Jack Adams Award.
Julien, who is in his second season with the Bruins, guided Boston to the Eastern Conference’s top record, finishing 53-19-10 for 116 points. This includes a two-month stretch from November 1 through January 1 where the team posted a record of 24-2-1. The club’s 116 points was the third-highest total in franchise history, a 22- point increase over 2007-08 and 40 points more than 2006-07.
The Bruins ranked second in the NHL in offense with 274 goals, a dramatic turnaround from their #25 ranking in 2007-08 when they tallied 212, and ranked first in the NHL in defense with 196 goals allowed. They hit the 30-win mark in their 41st game of the season (30-7-4) on Jan. 8 vs. Ottawa, the fastest they have reached 30 wins since 1929-30 (30-4-1). Julien was also the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team this year.
Julien coached the Bruins to their first Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance since 1999, before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes . Julien is the third Bruin head coach to win the Jack Adams Award in team history, joining Pat Burns who won in 1998 and Don Cherry who won in 1976.
Chara edged Mike Green from the Washington Capitals  and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings  to win this year’s award. This is Chara’s third Norris Trophy nomination (2008, 2004) and first win. Chara anchored a Bruins blue line that allowed the lowest goals per game figure in the NHL this season (2.29).
He led the Bruins and ranked sixth overall in the league in average ice time (26:04) and finished the regular season with a career-high 19 goals, 31 assists and a +23 rating. His 19 goals ranked fourth in the league amongst all defensemen, while his 11 power play strikes ranked third.
Chara played in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins finishing with one goal and three assists. He is the third different Bruin to capture the Norris, joining legends Ray Bourque  who won the award five times and Bobby Orr  who won the award eight times. He was also a final nominee for the 2009 Mark Messier  Leadership Award, which was awarded to Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.
Thomas, who captured 22 of 30 possible first place votes, edged out Columbus’ Steve Mason and Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom to win his first Vezina Trophy. Thomas – who set a career high with 36 wins this year and played in his second straight NHL All-Star Game -finished the 2008-09 regular season as the league leader in Goals Against Average (2.10) and Save Percentage (.933).
He helped lead the Bruins to their highest victory (53) and points (116) totals since 1971-72, and he and teammate Manny Fernandez shared the NHL’s William Jennings Trophy as the goaltenders for the club finishing the regular season having surrendered the fewest goals (196). Thomas played in all 11 postseason games for the Bruins this year, finishing with the playoff’s best Goals Against Average (1.85) and second best Save Percentage (.935).
Thomas is just the second Bruinthe Vezina, joining the unforgettable and immortal Pete Peeters who won the honors in 1983.
2008-09 Jack Adams Award Finalists Voting (Voted on by NHL Broadcasters’ Association at the conclusion of the regular season)
Coach/ Pts (1st, 2nd, 3rd place votes)
1. Claude Julien, BOS/ 224 (35-14-7)
2. Andy Murray, STL/ 135 (15-17-9)
3. Todd McLellan, SJS/ 98 (9-14-11)
2008-09 Norris Trophy Finalists Voting (Voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the conclusion of the regular season)
Player/ Pts (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th place votes)
1. Zdeno Chara, BOS/ 1034 (68-36-18-4-0)
2. Mike Green, WSH/ 982 (50-53-19-4-4)
3. Nicklas Lidstrom, DET/ 733 (14-34-58-19-8)
2008-09 Vezina Trophy Finalists Voting (Voted on by the general managers of the 30 NHL clubs at the conclusion of the regular season)
Player/ Pts (1st, 2nd, 3rd place votes)
1. Tim Thomas, BOS/ 127 (22-5-2)
2. Steve Mason, CBJ/ 33 (3-4-6)
3. Niklas Backstrom, MIN/ 31 (1-8-2)
Also, here’s a funny moment with Thomas and Fernandez — their last moment together as tandem before rookie Tuukka Rask  moves in next season — while accepting their Jennings Award Trophy on Thursday night. Thanks to fellow tweeter @iamdw for pointing it to me. For those that didn’t know, I’m on Twitter at the address @HackswithHaggs. Feel free to follow me if you’re looking for Bruins updates and more.