John Tavares

Joseph Veleno granted exceptional status, eligible for QMJHL draft

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Joseph Veleno is the latest player to be granted exceptional status.

Hockey Canada informed Quebec Major Junior Hockey League commissioner Gilles Courteau of Veleno’s eligibily for this Saturday’s entry draft the league announced on Thursday.

Veleno, who turned 15 in January, spent this season playing midget hockey.

The 6-foot, 170-pound forward finished 12th in his league in scoring with 52 points in 41 games while playing with the Lac St. Louis Lions, according to an article in the Montreal Gazette.

“There is a talent there that plays a 200-foot game, which is rare at that age,” Veleno’s coach, Jon Goyens said. “We’ve been very lucky to be able to coach some of the most talented kids (Jonathan Drouin, Anthony Duclair, Louis Leblanc, Mike Matheson) to come out of Quebec in the last 10, 15 years. Not all of them necessarily had the 200-foot game in them; they might have had other elements, like stickhandling or vision, that might have been ahead of Joseph. But nobody at his age was playing, as a skilled forward, a 200-foot game, which is really, really rare.”

Connor McDavid, John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Sean Day have all been granted exceptional player status previously, but Veleno is the first player out of Quebec to receive the honor.

“If you’re going to be the first guy (in Quebec) to get exceptional status, right off the bat you’re going to be compared to the four or five guys who got it in the ‘O’ (Ontario Hockey League), and you’re going to be compared to those who didn’t get it,” Goyens said.

The Saint John Sea Dogs hold the first overall selection at the draft.

Photo courtesy of the Montreal Gazette

McDavid wins OHL Player of the Year, sixth-youngest in league history

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Another day, another accolade for Connor McDavid.

McDavid, the OHL Erie superstar and likely No. 1 pick at this year’s draft, captured the 2014-15 Red Tilson Trophy on Tuesday as the Ontario League’s Player of the Year.

“Obviously it’s amazing,” McDavid said, per NHL.com. “It’s such a special honor. It’s an award that’s really for a team. You wouldn’t be at this point without your teammates and all the coaches and everyone.

“I think it’s one of the most team-oriented awards there are. Obviously it means a lot getting your name on it, but at the same time I owe it all to the boys.”

McDavid, 18, also set some history upon winning the award, becoming the sixth-youngest player in OHL history to take home the Tilson. That puts him in some pretty elite company: 16-year-old John Tavares (Oshawa) was the youngest-ever winner in 2007, followed by Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers (2010), Plymouth’s David Legwand (1998), Eric Lindros of the Oshawa Generals (1991), and Jack Valiquette of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1974).

McDavid captured this year’s award on the strength of 120 points in 47 regular-season games, the tearing apart the OHL playoffs — he currently leading all skaters with 45 points through 18 games.

Price, Benn, Ovechkin named Lindsay Award finalists

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Dallas captain Jamie Benn, Washington captain Alex Ovechkin and Montreal goalie Carey Price have been named the nominees for this year’s Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the league’s Most Outstanding Player as voted by the players.

More:

Benn played in all 82 regular season games for the Dallas Stars in 2014-15. Benn captured the Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points (87), which he won with a four-point game – including his second hat-trick of the season – on the final night of the regular season. 

Ovechkin played 81 games for the Washington Capitals during the 2014-15 regular season, and helped lead the Capitals back into the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Ovechkin scored 53 goals to capture his fifth Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and he became the sixth NHL player to record six career 50-goal seasons.  

Price layed 66 games for the Montreal Canadiens during the 2014-15 regular season, and helped lead the Canadiens to the second best record in the NHL. Price led the league in wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933), which earned him finalist nominations for the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Vezina Trophy.

This is the first Lindsay nomination for both Benn and Price, while Ovechkin is looking to capture the award for the fourth time in his career. The Russian sniper last won it in 2010; he also took home the trophy in ’09 and ’08, when it was known as the Lester B. Pearson.

Interesting to note that while both Ovechkin and Price were nominated for this year’s Hart Trophy as league MVP, the third finalist — John Tavares — failed to make the cut for the Lindsay.

source:

So Long Island: Islanders remove ice from Nassau Coliseum for final time

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New York Islanders captain John Tavares was only talking about the 2014-15 season when he said it was hard to believe it was over. For many Islanders fans, that thought applies most to their lengthy run at Nassau Coliseum.

Sometimes it helps (and hurts) to see visual evidence of the end of an era. Tuesday provided that to Isles fans, as the team is removing the ice from Nassau Coliseum for the final time. Here are a couple photos of the process:

Even those who are thrilled by the thought of an up-and-coming Islanders team rocking Brooklyn have to admit that this is a pretty big bummer.

PHT Morning Skate: Canadiens flag raised at Ottawa’s City Hall

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

As a result of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s bet with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, there is now a Canadiens flag raised at Ottawa’s City Hall (h/t MTL Blog):

John Tavares thinks the Islanders’ first round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals is something he’ll carry forever. “It stings. It’s been a really hard last three days,” Tavares said. (Newsday)

A collection of hockey cards worth $200,000 that primarily featured Wayne Gretzky may have been stolen. (Postmedia Network)

Anaheim’s firefighters released a video in support of the Ducks’ efforts against the Calgary Flames:

There might be reasons coach Mike Babcock would consider joining the Edmonton Oilers beyond Connor McDavid. (Edmonton Journal)

Members of the old Winnipeg Jets reflect on the new version making the playoffs. (Winnipeg Sun)

Here are the highlights from Washington’s 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers: