With the Olympic break upon us, here are some awards for the first half of the NHL season.
Teemu Selanne, Ducks. Has league-leading 41 goals without the benefit of a bona fide No. 1 center.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings. Runs power play and is essential part of NHL's top-ranked penalty-killing unit; plays about 27 minutes a game.
Sergei Samsonov, Bruins. Quick, strong and talented; tied for third among rookies in scoring (25 points); unlike most first-year players, shows no sign of hitting the wall.
Michael Peca, Sabres. Valuable face-off man and tenacious penalty killer; most star players hate to face him.
Martin Brodeur, Devils. His ability to handle puck and make big saves forces teams to alter their style.
Best Defensive Defenseman
Chris Pronger, Blues. Leads league in plus-minus at +32; big (6'5", 207 pounds), punishing hitter.
Most Underrated Player
Teppo Numminen, Coyotes. Reliable defenseman can move puck and play right or left side; his coaches and teammates appreciate his value.
Most Improved Player
Jason Allison, Bruins. Had eight goals and 26 assists in 1996-97, but this season the former first-round draft pick already has 20 goals and 33 assists.
Best Free-agent Signing
Andy Moog, Canadians. Has 2.44 goals-against average, but real value is teaching 23-year-old co-No. 1 goalie Jocelyn Thibault how to be winner.