Amid scoring slumps and the occasional bit of violent play, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that hockey players do a lot of good — most of it off the ice.
The NHL will commemorate the players who make the biggest impact with their charitable work by handing out the 13th annual Foundation Award. Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green and Vancouver Canucks stars Daniel and Henrik Sedin are the finalists for the 2011 edition. Ryan Miller won the 2010 award.
Along with being honored for their work, the NHL will donate $25,000 to the winner’s charity of choice. If you would like to know a little bit more about the players’ contributions, here’s a bit of info from the league’s press release.
The Kings’ 26-year-old captain is a finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award for the third consecutive season in recognition of his continued tireless involvement in countless community-benefiting endeavors. This season, Brown donated $50 for each of his 300 hits to contribute a total of $15,000 to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles’ Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit. Two seasons ago, as part of the program he and his wife Nicole launched with KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America, Brown’s per-hit donation plan raised $70,000 to build a new playground in Carson, CA, that now hosts more than 100 kids per day.
For several seasons, Green has been donating tickets to Capitals home games to underserved children and soldiers through the Most Valuable Kids program, the recipients sitting together as Green’s Gang at Verizon Center. This is the third season Green and local radio personality Elliot Segal have donated money, based upon Green’s scoring totals, to their So Kids Can initiative, which has raised more than $93,000 for various youth-oriented organizations such as Pediatric Prosthetics, Inc. and Dr. Bear’s Toy Closet, which refurbishes playrooms at Children’s National Medical Center. This season, Green and Segal teamed up with KaBOOM! to raise money to build a Capitals-themed playground for an underserved community in the Washington, D.C. area.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin:
The Sedins have become the faces of the annual Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon, which has raised more than $1,000,000 in donations and recognition of fundraising events throughout the year. Daniel and Henrik have joined Canucks teammates in making the Dice and Ice Benefit a signature event for the Canucks organization. It opens the doors for 700 of Vancouver’s leading philanthropists to join the Canucks for a memorable night and a great cause, having raised more than $2,884,127 to date for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and the Canucks Autism Network. The Sedins and their teammates also participate in the Jake Milford Canucks Charity Golf Invitational, helping the tournament raise more than $180,000 for both the BC Hockey Benevolent Association and the Canucks for Kids Fund.
Pavel Datsyuk‘s future with the Detroit Red Wings and in the National Hockey League has been up in the air for a while now, as he’s linked to rumors of a return to Russia and the KHL.
His agent, Dan Milstein, recently explained to the Detroit Free Press that Datsyuk’s future should become clear in mid-June after meeting with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.
As per General Fanager, Datsyuk has one more year left on his current deal, which comes with a cap hit of $7.5 million.
From the Detroit Free Press:
“He would like to leave, but at the same time, he wants to make sure the Wings have options,” Milstein said. “He wants to help the team any way he can with the salary cap issue.”
Wings general manager Ken Holland has said there are no loopholes. Because Datsyuk signed his last contract after he turned 35, his $7.5 million salary cap hit remains in tact even if Datsyuk departs. The Wings’ only option is to trade his contract to a team such as Arizona or Carolina that could use the hefty cap hit in order to be above the salary cap minimum.
At the age of 37, his career in the league started in 2001-02, and has spanned 953 regular season games in which he’s accrued 918 points.
He’s had a highly decorated career, with two Stanley Cup championships with the Red Wings, three Selke and four Lady Byng trophies.
The St. Louis Blues need to win Game 6 on Wednesday, or their season is over. Who they decide to turn to in net is likely to be a talking point — heated debate, maybe? — leading up to that contest.
Do they go back to Jake Allen for a third consecutive start, despite the fact he allowed four goals on 25 shots in Monday’s Game 5 loss to the San Jose Sharks? Or, will head coach Ken Hitchcock turn once again to Brian Elliott, who started every single game from the series opener of the first round versus Chicago to Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
Hitchcock at least felt that going with Allen over Elliott in Game 4 provided the necessary spark for his team, as the Blues evened the series.
But on Monday, the Sharks, on the strength of two Joe Pavelski goals, eventually overpowered the Blues for the win, moving San Jose one victory away from the Stanley Cup Final.
“I thought he was fine. I don’t know, those are decisions we make in a day or so. But I thought he was fine today. He stopped some point-blank shots, especially early, three times early,” Hitchcock told reporters.
“I don’t know. That’s stuff we’ll talk about tomorrow.”
The San Jose Sharks won a back-and-forth Game 5 to take back the lead in a back-and-forth Western Conference Final, moving one victory away from appearing in the Stanley Cup Final.
After scoring the tying goal late in the second period, Joe Pavelski notched his 12th of the playoffs to give San Jose the lead for good just 16 seconds into the third period.
The Sharks earned a 6-3 victory on the road, in a bounce-back effort from Saturday.
Twice, the Blues grabbed the lead. Troy Brouwer gave them the advantage in the first period, showing off his baseball skills by batting the puck into the net on a rebound. Robby Fabbri gave them another lead in the second period, making Roman Polak pay for snapping on Dmitrij Jaskin along the boards.
But the Blues couldn’t hold on. The Sharks scored twice on three power play opportunities and can now clinch the Western Conference on home ice in Wednesday’s Game 6.
As for the Blues, will Ken Hitchcock change up his starting goaltender again? It’s certainly an aspect of this series that will once again be up for debate leading up to Wednesday’s game.
After Brian Elliott had backstopped the Blues through the first two rounds and started the first three games of this series, Hitchcock decided to start Jake Allen in Game 4.
Allen recorded the win Saturday, and was called upon again in Game 5 as expected, but gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Roman Polak took serious issue with St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin during the second period, as the two eventually threw off the gloves off in a fight in the corner.
In the process, Polak let his emotions get the better of him — he snapped — by also taking a roughing minor to give the Blues a power play.
The Blues made him — and the Sharks — pay on a blast from Robby Fabbri, who was a game-time decision for Monday’s contest.
The Sharks tied the game at 3-3 before the end of the second period on Joe Pavelski‘s 11th of the playoffs. Pavelski struck again in the third period, giving San Jose the 4-3 lead.