Kyle Connor (Michigan, freshman), Thatcher Demko (Boston College, junior), and Jimmy Vesey (Harvard, senior) are the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
The trio — also known as the Hobey Hat Trick — was announced today. The winner will be announced Apr. 8 in Tampa, where the Frozen Four kicks off next week at Amalie Arena. Demko’s Eagles will take on Quinnipiac Thursday. The other semifinal is between Denver and North Dakota. The final goes Saturday.
Connor was the 17th overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Winnipeg Jets. It’s not clear yet if he’ll return to Michigan for his sophomore season, or if he’ll turn pro.
Demko was selected 36th overall in 2014 by the Canucks. He was the second goalie taken in that draft, after the Flames took Mason McDonald 34th. Vancouver is expected to try and sign Demko this summer.
And, of course, everyone knows the story with Vesey and the Predators.
Last year, Jack Eichel won the award. The year before, it was Johnny Gaudreau.
This morning in Tampa, Carey Price practiced with his Canadiens teammates for the first time since November.
The Habs have maintained all along that Price, if he can, will play again this season, even though Montreal has been eliminated from playoff contention. Price a few weeks ago said he’s “fairly confident” he’ll play again.
But he hasn’t yet, and he won’t tonight against the Lightning. It’ll be Mike Condon in goal again.
The Canadiens only have five games left in the regular season, and they’d also like to get their recent college free-agent signing, Charlie Lindgren, a start.
Ben Bishop will start for the Bolts.
— Garret Sparks expected for the Leafs in Buffalo, where Chad Johnson will go for the Sabres.
— No word on a Blue Jackets starter in Brooklyn, but Sergei Bobrovsky seems likely. Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the Isles.
— Pekka Rinne expected for the Preds in Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
— Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers in Carolina, where it’ll be Cam Ward for the ‘Canes.
— Keith Kinkaid for the Devils in Sunrise. Al Montoya for the Panthers.
— Craig Anderson for the Senators in St. Paul. Devan Dubnyk for the Wild.
— Mike Smith for the Coyotes in Dallas. Antti Niemi for the Stars.
— Joni Ortio for the Flames in Los Angeles. Jonathan Quick likely for the Kings.
— Ryan Miller likely for the Canucks in San Jose. Martin Jones for the Sharks.
If the Vancouver Canucks lose tonight in San Jose — and they’ll be underdogs for sure — they’ll tie their franchise record with 10 straight losses.
That record dates back to their nightmarish 1997-98 campaign, when they dropped 10 in a row in October and November. The roster that season did not lack star power. It featured newly signed Mark Messier, along with Pavel Bure, Alex Mogilny, and Markus Naslund.
The consequences of losing?
Pat Quinn was fired as president and GM; Tom Renney was fired as coach, replaced by the one and only Mike Keenan; and former captain Trevor Linden, now the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, was traded to the Islanders for Todd Bertuzzi.
So yeah, a pretty crazy year.
And the Canucks would remain a disaster the following season. New GM Brian Burke traded an unhappy Bure, fired Keenan and hired Marc Crawford. In the summer, the Sedin twins were drafted with the second and third overall picks.
The Canucks would eventually emerge from the wreckage, and perhaps that’s of some solace to their fans today. But for now, it’s hard to watch.
Vancouver — a team that started the season with a questionable roster, then on top of that was beset by injuries — has been shut out four times during its nine-game winless streak and outscored by a combined 28 to 8.
Related: Sedin calls being ‘happy with losing’ a ‘dangerous road to go down’
From CSN New England, with an update on the banged-up B’s:
The Bruins got a couple of bodies back on Thursday with Ryan Spooner and David Krejci both returning to practice prior to leaving for their two-game Western Conference trip through St. Louis (Friday) and Chicago (Sunday).
Claude Julien said following practice that Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly, who didn’t practice, won’t be traveling with the team due to their injuries and will miss the next two games against the Blues and Blackhawks. Austin Czarnik was returned to the Providence Bruins following practice and Seth Griffith will join the team with injuries beginning to gnaw away at their forward depth.
Oh, and John-Michael Liles is also expected to return tomorrow against the Blues. He and Spooner missed Tuesday’s 2-1 loss in New Jersey.
It’s a hugely important trip for the Bruins, who still haven’t locked down a playoff spot and have dropped six of their last seven in regulation. Currently, they’re just one point up on the Red Wings, with both teams having five games remaining, including one against each other a week from today.
The B’s finish the season with three straight at home: Tuesday versus Carolina, Thursday versus Detroit, and Saturday versus Ottawa.
Corey Crawford is “making good progress” and could be back on the ice this weekend.
That update according to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, per CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers.
Quenneville added that he was “hopeful” that his starting goalie would be back in time for the playoffs, reports Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Crawford has not played since March 14. The 31-year-old has reportedly been dealing with a head injury, though the club has not provided anything in the way of specifics.
The ‘Hawks play tomorrow night in Winnipeg. Marian Hossa won’t make the trip due to an illness, but Artem Anisimov and Brent Seabrook are set to return against the Jets.
Related: Could the ‘Hawks be without Duncan Keith for the start of the playoffs?