As mentioned earlier, the NHL announced its nominees for rookie of the year on Friday: New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
It’s another talented group of offensive stars, reminiscent to last year’s trio of forwards nominated for the award: San Jose’s Logan Couture, New York Islanders’ Michael Grabner and Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, the eventual winner.
Here’s quick rundown of the case for each of the 2012 nominees…
— Henrique holds the distinct advantage of contributing to a playoff team. His play after injuries to Travis Zajac and Jacob Josefson sparked the Devils, including his veteran linemates on New Jersey’s top unit — Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey finished with 102 points, tied with Boston and Detroit for seventh-most in the NHL.
— Landeskog received huge praise for being the most complete player in this year’s rookie class, which included a verbal Calder vote from Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault.
“He’s the best rookie in the league this year,” the Vancouver coach said in late March. “In my mind, there are some other good rookies but he plays like a man right now and has a lot of skill to back it up.”
— Many have suggested Nugent-Hopkins would be the runaway winner if not for his shoulder injuries. They cost him 20 games in the second half of the season — prior to that, he won the Rookie of the Month award twice and became the fourth-ever 18-year-old in NHL history to record five assists in a single game.
The New York Islanders may have won their home game against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night, but at least one player wasn’t happy with his home rink.
Cal Clutterbuck wasn’t pleased with the quality of the ice and he made it known after the game.
“From about the 5-6 minute mark of the second, you knew it was one of those nights,” Clutterbuck said, per Newsday. “You basically couldn’t string three passes together, the ice was unplayable. But we found a way.”
This is hardly a surprise and it’s not the first time a player has called out the quality of the ice in Brooklyn. Last March, Kyle Okposo mentioned that the ice was “awful”.
We know the ice is bad, but why is it so bad?
Chris Botta reports that the piping system at the Barclays Center isn’t up to NHL standards. The only solution, according to Botta, is to ‘tear up’ the floor of the arena to put in the proper pipes, which is something that should have been done during the off-season.
4. Arena mgt knows this and hasn't fixed it yet, which is inexcusable, brings down caliber of play and is potentially dangerous.
Hockey players are known for their toughness, but Daniel Winnik is taking it to a whole new level.
The damage was done after Winnik blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz said his forward had lost a piece of his ear, but it sounds like that wasn’t totally accurate.
“I wouldn’t say I lost a piece of it,” said Winnik, per the Washington Post. “I mean, it’s really chewed up, and obviously some scabs and all of that, but no visible missing piece…The puck hit basically half ear, maybe a little more ear than helmet. Very fortunate it wasn’t way worse.”
He didn’t need any stitches, but they did have to use some glue to patch him up.
It doesn’t sound like the injury did enough to scare Winnik into putting on a visor or an earpiece.
“I mean, my face has been banged up a lot over the years, and I still haven’t worn a visor. I mean I’ve probably broken my nose like 15 times or something. I just can’t wear it, and the earpieces, I think you’re just used to wearing it for so long without it. I mean you take them out you’re like, ‘Why the hell was I wearing earpieces in the first place?’ But I guess this is kind of an indication on why guys do.”