Claude Giroux stood in the middle of the stage at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on Wednesday night, accepting a prestigious honor at the NHL Awards.
It just wasn't the award Giroux wanted. Not even close.
Giroux, 24, was presented as the next cover boy for EA Sports' NHL 13 video game, as voted by the fans. A link to the new cover is here.
Instead, Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin – whom Giroux's teammates helped render inconsequential in their first round playoff series – won his first Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in a runaway as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Giroux finished fourth in voting, narrowly missing out on a finalist spot. He was beaten out by Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
Close but no cigar was the theme of the night for the Flyers. Somehow, none of their 12 rookies – which combined to lead all teams in rookie scoring – were nominated for an All-Rookie team or the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
Matt Read, who led all rookies in goals, finished 4th in Calder voting. Sean Couturier, 19, was a distant 9th.
Giroux was also left off the first and second NHL All-Star teams.
Worthy candidate Paul Holmgren finished 5th in voting for manager of the year. Peter Laviolette barely cracked the Top 10 in voting for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year. Former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock took the Adams.
Back in April, we disclosed our full ballot as a member of the PHWA. Giroux probably should have beaten out Stamkos as a finalist, considering his 60 goals weren't even enough to get the Lightning to the playoffs.
Here is how Giroux finished in the Hart voting: