Not all of the NHL’s regular season awards are handed out after a red carpet ceremony in Las Vegas after the Stanley Cup final is over and done with. Some of them are decided thanks to the statistics acquired during the regular season rather than put to a vote and the Vancouver Canucks are already picking up a lot of hardware.
Daniel Sedin secured the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer completing his season with 104 points. Sedin finished five points ahead of Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis and six points ahead of Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Sedin finished the year with 41 goals and 63 assists and figures to be a Hart Trophy finalist after helping lead the Canucks to the Presidents’ Trophy.
Sedin is the tenth different player to win the Art Ross Trophy in the last ten years. After so many years of seeing the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky dominate year after year, parity isn’t just for the standings anymore.
Sedin’s Canucks teammates Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider took home the Jennings Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltending tandem. The pair of goalies allowed just 185 goals this season, the best mark in the league. It’s the first time any goaltenders from Vancouver have won the award and it speaks to the defensive dominance we’ve seen out of the Canucks this season. With all the goals they’re scoring and preventing, it’s easy to see why the Canucks are the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Oddly enough Luongo isn’t being mentioned very much at all for Vezina Trophy consideration. With 38 wins and a 2.11 goals against average with a .928 save percentage, he should at least get considered.
Corey Perry’s huge season scoring 50 goals was good enough to get him the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. Perry’s outburst in the final two months of the season in willing the Ducks into the playoffs and the fourth seed in the Western Conference carried him up the goal rankings and flying past Steve Stamkos on his way to being the NHL’s lone 50 goal scorer. Perry finished five goals ahead of Stamkos while Jarome Iginla was seven back with 43 goals.
All of these players will get to continue making their presence felt in the playoffs as the Canucks are the top seed in the West and the Ducks are the fourth seed. Whether we see them take home more awards will have to wait until the end of June.
The Nashville Predators have been on a roll lately, and keeping Peter Laviolette around seems like it keeps things going in a positive direction.
The team announced a two-year contract extension for Laviolette during Saturday’s State of the Union event.
During his first two seasons behind the bench in Nashville, the Predators have managed two playoff berths, beating the Anaheim Ducks in the first round during this last postseason trip. The Predators have managed to stay competitive in the Central Division, which is no small task.
With P.K. Subban added to the mix, it makes great sense to retain Laviolette’s surfaces. You never know how a situation will work until it plays out, yet on paper, his system seems like a seamless fit for the star defender.
Nashville’s shown some promise already under Laviolette’s watch, particularly in quietly putting up some promising possession stats. At this moment in time, the future looks even brighter.
It can’t hurt that the guy has a Stanley Cup on his resume, either.
As difficult as it is to believe, it’s October already. You know what that means*; hockey season is rapidly approaching.
Along with stories about guys who might still be a little injured claiming they’re “100 percent” and teams carrying in optimism that will eventually look foolish, we also get fun stuff like new goalie masks.
We’d already seen Petr Mrazek pay tribute to Joe Louis Arena a month ago, but with the preseason in high gear, we’re seeing more masks.
While there will likely be some other fun entries before the games start to count in 2016-17, PHT is kindly saving your delicate fingers a few extra clicks by collecting a few choice masks in one post.
To start things off, Michal Neuvirth paid tribute to late Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider:
This Miami Herald video shares Roberto Luongo‘s very-cool concept: the old Panthers cat on one side, the new one on the other. Here’s a shot from George Richards:
(Anyone else get a little John Vanbiesbrouck nostalgia from that lid?)
Thankfully, no birds were harmed in the making of Louis Domingue‘s mask, which features Arizona sports figures from Randy Johnson to more obvious Coyotes choices:
Nitpick: Steve Nash’s hair could have been floppier. Just saying.
Finally, hockey and Seinfeld once again mix better than a black-and-white cookie in Scott Wedgewood’s mask, which features a Puddy reference:
If you want more goalie masks, DaveArt.com’s list should keep you entertained for some time.
* – Barring all-too-frequent lockouts.
Evgeni Malkin is back in Penguins training camp after a stint with Team Russia at the World Cup.
Malkin and his team reached the tournament’s semifinal before being knocked out by the eventual champions, Team Canada.
The Pens forward collected three points in four games, but he wasn’t satisfied by his overall performance.
“I need to start now,” Malkin said on Saturday, per the Tribune. “I’m not playing great. I’m not happy with my game at the World Cup. I will play better here and now.”
When he’s at his best, Malkin is fully capable of taking over games. That’s easier said than done in a best-on-best tournament, but those are the standards he’s set for himself.
So, what does he have to do to get back to that elite level?
“Play more with the puck. That’s my game always, if I have the puck and I spend more time with the puck. The last four, five games in the World Cup, I tried to use my partners, but my confidence when I play with the puck.”
The 30-year-old dealt with some injuries last year, but still managed to produce 58 points in 57 games during the regular season and 18 points in 23 games during Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup playoff run.
KHL hockey is still relatively new in China and it showed prior to Kunlun Red Star’s game against Lada Togliatti earlier this week.
Prior to the game, the team organized a ceremonial puck drop, which ended up being a little awkward to say the least.
You can watch the entire thing by clicking the video at the top of the page.
That’s pretty funny!
The awkward look the two captains gave each other was priceless too.