Martin St. Louis wins Lady Byng Trophy

m.st.louis.jpgWhile the award itself is generally ragged on, the Lady Byng Trophy does lend an air of sophistication to the NHL and to the award proceedings. After all, an award that goes “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” isn’t here to mess around by having guys that waste their days away in the penalty box. Sorry Dan Carcillo, I don’t think you’ll ever take this one down.

With the three finalists in Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis you’ve got guys that spent a combined 44 minutes in the penalty box with Datsyuk standing out as the “goon” of the bunch with 18 PIMs himself. Anyhow, it’s probably not too surprising that the guy that wins the award is the one who spent the least amount of time in the sin bin of the three and Martin St. Louis’ 12 PIMs helped pave his way to Lady Byng glory. The vote seemed to indicate that St. Louis had nothing to worry about from the voters.

                        Pts.        1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th
        1.        Martin St. Louis, T.B.        971        (74-25-6-6-8)
        2.        Brad Richards, DAL        449        (1-39-20-18-12)
        3.        Pavel Datsyuk, DET        438        (17-15-21-15-13)
        4.        Anze Kopitar, L.A.        232        (3-10-14-15-17)
        5.        Nicklas Lidstrom, DET        215        (10-7-9-4-9)
        6.        Patrick Marleau, S.J.        159        (3-5-14-5-9)
        7.        Henrik Sedin, VAN        140        (6-6-6-2-2)
        8.        Daniel Alfredsson, OTT        134        (2-5-9-10-4)
        9.        Zach Parise, N.J.        97        (5-2-3-5-3)
        10.        Teemu Selanne, ANA        70        (2-3-4-2-3)
        11.        Daniel Sedin, VAN        67        (2-2-4-3-4)
        12.        Patrick Kane, CHI        55        (0-1-3-9-6)
        13.        Brandon Sutter, CAR        47        (1-1-0-8-6)
        14.        Andrew Brunette, MIN        41        (2-0-3-1-3)
        15.        Steven Stamkos, T.B.        26        (1-1-1-1-1)
        16.        Sergei Gonchar, PIT        20        (1-0-2-0-0)
        17.        Brian Rafalski, DET        17        (0-1-0-3-1)
        18.        Jarome Iginla, CGY        14        (1-0-0-1-1)
        19.        Ryan Miller, BUF        14        (0-2-0-0-0)
        20.        Patrice Bergeron, BOS        13        (0-1-1-0-1)

Stunning to see St. Louis check in with 74 first place votes and more than double the number of points that Brad Richards had in finishing second. Even more fun was seeing St. Louis give his acceptance speech with notes he had on his BlackBerry instead of hand-written note cards or paper. Can’t fault the man for being a gentleman and a tech-savvy scholar.

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    Stars sign WHL d-man Vala to entry-level deal

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    The Dallas Stars have added another defenseman to their group of prospects.

    On Thursday, the club signed 18-year-old Czech blue liner Ondrej Vala to a three-year entry-level contract. Vala is currently playing for the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Hockey League. He had four goals and 21 points in 72 games last season — his first with the Blazers.

    Having represented the Czech Republic at U-17 and U-18 international events and played for the Stars prospects team at the Traverse City Tournament, Vala is also listed at six-foot-four-inches tall and 209 pounds.

    He certainly brings size on the blue line, which is a quality the Stars appear to value in him.

    “Ondrej has shown a combination of size and physicality along with the ability to play a defensively responsible game at the junior hockey level,” said Stars GM Jim Nill in a statement.

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    Capitals send first-round pick Johansen back to junior

    BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Lucas Johansen poses for a portrait after being selected 28th overall by the Washington Capitals in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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    The Washington Capitals have sent prospect defenseman Lucas Johansen, selected 28th overall in this year’s NHL Draft, back to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.

    From the Kelowna Capital News:

    The Kelowna Rockets have yet to play a regular season game with a full lineup.

    That will change this weekend in Prince George when defenceman Lucas Johansen and forward Calvin Thurkauf rejoin their WHL club for a two-game set against the Cougars.

    Johansen, a first-round NHL draft pick this summer, is back from the camp of the Washington Capitals, while Thurkauf returns from the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    The Capitals confirmed the news via Twitter.

    Johansen, the younger brother of NHL center Ryan Johansen, appeared in Monday’s exhibition game for the Capitals, apparently leaving a positive impression on the coaching staff.

    Still, Johansen doesn’t turn 19 years old until the middle of November. He also has some growing left to do at six-foot-one-inch tall and just 174 pounds, so sending him back to junior is the logical step.

    “For a first game, to have that kind of poise playing defense, you don’t see it very often,” Capitals’ associate coach Todd Reirden told the Washington Post.

    “So, it’s fun to watch, how he goes about the game. Certainly, I think it’s helped growing up in the family that he has and being around some of the players he’s practiced with. I think he has some special tools, in terms of his ability to slow down the play and see some things that other players don’t. He’s looking like an outstanding draft pick for us and a real great prospect moving forward.”

    Shaw suspended three preseason games for boarding Connor Hobbs

    TAMPA, FL - JUNE 02:  Andrew Shaw #65 of the Chicago Blackhawks speaks during Media Day for the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 2, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The National Hockey League has suspended Montreal Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw for three preseason games for boarding defenseman Connor Hobbs of the Washington Capitals in an exhibition game Tuesday.

    The Habs have five more exhibition games remaining before the regular season begins Oct. 13.

    Shaw was given a major penalty and a game misconduct on the play, as he slammed Hobbs “through the numbers, with speed” from behind into the end glass, as per Thursday’s video from the NHL outlining the suspension.

    From the video: “It is important to note that Hobbs is never eligible to be checked by Shaw on this play. From the moment Shaw arrives at the faceoff dot, he sees nothing but Hobbs’ numbers. Hobbs makes no sudden movement just prior to contact that turns this hit from a legal hit into an illegal one.

    “The onus is on Shaw to ensure that he can deliver this hit in a legal fashion, minimize the force, or avoid this hit completely. Instead, he hits forcefully through Hobbs from behind, driving him dangerously into the glass.”

    In a bid to land a gritty forward to their lineup, the Habs acquired Shaw from the Blackhawks, who had been dealing with a cap crunch, during the NHL Draft. He later signed a six-year contract extension with Montreal.

    Despite another concussion, Clarke MacArthur doesn’t plan on retiring

    OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 26:  Clarke MacArthur #16 of the Ottawa Senators looks on prior to a face-off in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre on April 26, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Ottawa Senators by defeating them 2-0 and move to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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    Clarke MacArthur suffered yet another concussion after being hit by Patrick Sieloff during a scrimmage over the weekend, but the veteran Ottawa Senators forward doesn’t plan on retiring.

    Last season, the 31-year-old MacArthur played in only four games for the Senators due to concussions. According to the Ottawa Sun, he suffered four concussions in an 18th-month span.

    Despite this latest concussion, MacArthur is still, at least publicly, planning to work toward a return to game action, saying in a post on Instagram that he was “encouraged” by how his body has reacted following this most recent incident.

    “First off, I want to thank the team and its fans for all the support after the unfortunate incident on Sunday. To me, it was simply a hockey play that ended in a hit causing me to suffer a concussion, a play that could happen at any point,” MacArthur wrote on his social media page.

    “We have been encouraged by how my body had reacted in the days since the injury and the team has been great to give me all the time I need to rest and recover. I will continue to consult with doctors and my entire support group, but I felt it important to let everyone know that my intentions are to work towards returning to the ice soon.”

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    Senators focus on MacArthur’s safety