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.
So, let’s put it to a vote…
Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur
The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.
“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.
“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”
More on the statue from the Devils:
The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.
Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov
Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.
“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”
“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.
“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”
The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.
Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues
In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.
After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.
The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.
The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.
The Islanders also have a game in hand.
Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings