NHL Awards: Blues’ star Tarasenko graces the cover of NHL 17

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Vladimir Tarasenko scored a career-high 40 goals during the regular season, as a star with the St. Louis Blues. And now, he’s on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 17, which is set to be released Sept. 13.

More than six million votes were cast on Twitter and NHL.com, as Tarasenko beat out Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars) and Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) in the voting competition.

“It’s an incredible honor to represent my teammates and all the Blues fans around the world on the cover this year,” said Tarasenko, as per the Blues’ website. “As a player, it’s a big deal to be fan selected for something like the Cover Vote, and I’m excited to be involved in the game this year.”

Weber takes Messier Leadership Award

Shea Weber beat out Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and John Tavares (New York Islanders) for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which honors players for their on-ice leadership and contributions within the community.

Henrik Sedin captures the King Clancy Trophy

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin was named the winner of the King Clancy Trophy for the first time in his NHL career.

The award recognizes leadership on and off the ice as well as humanitarian contributions in the community.

Henrik and twin brother Daniel Sedin are not only the Canucks franchise leaders in numerous categories — including games played, goals and points — but they are heavily active in the community, giving back to causes like BC Children’s Hospital.

From Canucks.com:

Most significantly, Henrik alongside his wife, brother Daniel and sister-in-law, made a joint $1.5 million donation to help build a brand new BC Children’s Hospital in 2010.

Flames’ Giordano receives NHL Foundation Player Award

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano was the recipient of the NHL Foundation Player Award for 2015-16, “recognizing an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”

Matt Martin (New York Islanders) and P.K. Subban (Montreal Canadiens) were also finalists for the award.

The NHL Foundation will now present $25,000 to a charitable organization of Giordano’s choice. As per a release from the league, Giordano has selected the Calgary Flames Foundation, which lends support to the Calgary School Board and the Team Giordano initiative.

Former teammates Andersen, Gibson win the Jennings

The Anaheim Ducks will go into next season having split the goaltending tandem of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, however the pair was recognized Wednesday for winning the Jennings Trophy.

The Jennings Trophy goes to the goalies having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals against during the regular season.

Andersen and Gibson finished with a league-low of 192 goals-against for the Ducks this season.

However, keeping both goalies for the future simply wasn’t an option for Anaheim.

On Monday, Ducks GM Bob Murray traded Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first-round pick this year and a second-round pick next year.

‘Hockey is my passion’: Jagr receives Masterton Trophy

At the age of 44, Jaromir Jagr just keeps on going.

Despite his age, Jagr scored 27 goals and 66 points in 79 games for the Florida Panthers this season.

Pascal Dupuis and Mats Zuccarello were also finalists for the award.

Kopitar wins the Lady Byng in addition to the Selke

Anze Kopitar was a two-time winner on Wednesday, as he took the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship in addition to the Selke Trophy.

During the regular season, he managed 74 points in 81 games with only 16 penalty minutes.

2015-2016 Lady Byng Trophy Voting, Top 20 Finishers

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Anze Kopitar, LAK 817 (52-25-17-11-4)
2. Aleksander Barkov, FLA 475 (24-21-12-7-7)
3. Loui Eriksson, BOS 388 (10-12-22-27-13)
4. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY 371 (17-19-6-10-8)
5. Ryan O’Reilly, BUF 270 (10-12-11-7-10)
6. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 248 (6-13-9-15-7)
7. Tyler Seguin, DAL 222 (1-11-19-10-10)
8. Patrick Marleau, SJS 200 (9-5-12-2-9)
9. Joe Pavelski, SJS 87 (3-0-4-10-7)
10. Jaromir Jagr, FLA 52 (3-1-2-1-2)
11. Frans Nielsen, NYI 52 (2-0-3-3-8)
12. Matt Cullen, PIT 51 (3-3-0-0-0)
13. Evgeny Kuznetsov, WSH 50 (0-2-4-4-4)
14. Sean Monahan, CGY 46 (1-1-1-6-6)
15. Jared Spurgeon, MIN 42 (3-0-1-2-1)
16. Sam Reinhart, BUF 38 (0-3-2-1-4)
17. Brandon Saad, CBJ 30 (0-2-1-2-5)
18. Patrick Kane, CHI 29 (1-0-3-0-4)
19. Alexander Wennberg, CBJ 26 (0-1-2-2-3)
20. Joe Thornton, SJS 25 (2-0-0-1-2)

NHL 2015-16 All-Star teams

First All-Star Team

G Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals

D Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings
D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators
C Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
RW Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
LW Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars

Second All-Star Team

G Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

D Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
D Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins
C Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
RW Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues
LW Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

All-Rookie Team

G John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

D Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
D Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues
F Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
F Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
F Artemi Panarin, Chicago Blackhawks

Golden Knights captain Mark Stone undergoes back surgery

mark stone surgery
Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports
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LAS VEGAS — Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery in Denver, the club announced Wednesday.

The Knights termed the procedure Tuesday as successful and that Stone “is expected to make a full recovery.”

This is the second time in less than a year that Stone has had back surgery. He also had a procedure May 19, 2022, and Stone said in December this was the best he had felt in some time.

But he was injured Jan. 12 against the Florida Panthers, and his absence has had a noticeable effect on the Knights. They have gone 1-5-2 without Stone, dropping out of first place in the Pacific Division into third.

Stone is second on the team in goals with 17 and in points with 38.

Devils associate coach Andrew Brunette charged with DUI

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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — New Jersey Devils associate coach and former Florida Panthers head coach Andrew Brunette was arrested early Wednesday morning in South Florida while driving home from a bar in his golf cart, authorities said.

Brunette, 49, was pulled over just blocks from the ocean in the Deerfield Beach area, north of Fort Lauderdale, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report. He was charged with one count of driving under the influence and two counts of disobeying a stop or yield sign. Brunette was released later Wednesday on $500 bond.

The Devils said in a statement that the team was aware of Brunette’s arrest and gathering additional information.

According to the arrest report, a deputy was in the process of giving Brunette’s illegally parked golf cart a ticket around midnight when Brunette walked out of a nearby bar and told the deputy he was about to leave. The deputy said Brunette seemed unsteady on his feet and slurred his speech, and when he was joined by his wife, the deputy said he overheard the wife tell Brunette not to drive while the deputy was there.

The deputy remained in the area and reported watching the couple drive away about 17 minutes later, according to the report. The deputy said he watched the golf cart run two stop signs before pulling Brunette over on a residential street about a mile away from his home. According to the report, Brunette had difficulty following instructions during a field sobriety test before eventually quitting and asking for an attorney. He also declined to take a breathe test to measure his blood-alcohol level, officials said.

Online jail and court records didn’t list an attorney for Brunette.

Brunette is in his first season as associate coach of the Devils. He was interim coach of the Florida Panthers last season after taking over when Joel Quenneville resigned for his connection to a 2010 Chicago Blackhawks sexual abuse scandal.

The Panthers fired Brunette after they lost in the second round of the playoffs last spring despite him leading them to the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top team during the regular season.

The Sudbury, Ontario, native played 1,159 NHL games for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago from 1995-2012. He was a Wild assistant in 2015-16 and worked on Florida’s staff from 2019-2022.

Stars aligned with new coach DeBoer, Nill-constructed roster

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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DALLAS — General manager Jim Nill sensed things were coming together for the Dallas Stars even before the season started with new coach Pete DeBoer and a roster mixed with proven veterans, up-and-coming young players, and even a teenaged center.

At the NHL’s All-Star break, after 51 games together, these Stars are leading the Western Conference.

“Every year you start, you put a team together, and there’s always going to be question marks,” said Nill, in his 10th season as the Stars GM. “You have ideas how you think you’re going to come together, but there’s always the unknown. . This year has been one of those years where right from the start, you could just see everything was kind of jelling.”

The Stars (28-13-10, 66 points) have their trio of 2017 draft picks that just keep getting better: All-Star winger Jason Robertson, goaltender Jake Oettinger and defenseman Miro Heiskanen. The seemingly ageless Joe Pavelski, at 38 and already re-signed for next season, is on the high-scoring top line with Robertson and point-a-game winger Roope Hintz. Wyatt Johnston, their first-round pick in 2021 and half Pavelski’s age, has 13 goals.

There is also the resurgence of six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin two years after hip surgery and 33-year-old captain Jamie Benn, who already has more goals (19) than he did playing all 82 games last season.

The Stars have a plus-40 goal differential, which is second-best in the NHL. They are averaging 3.37 goals per game, more than a half-goal better than last season when they were the only team to make the playoffs after being outscored in the regular season. They are also allowing fewer goals, and have improved on power plays and penalty kills.

“Where we sit at this break, I think guys are happy with that,” Seguin said, before being asked the keys to the Stars leading the West and on pace for a 100-point season with their new coach.

“Our style, our team speed, our puck speed, being predictable. All the clichés, knowing where the puck’s going. Really how we play the five-man unit,” he said. “Our pace this year, it’s been a lot quicker. There’s been some solid depth scoring this year while we’ve got one of the best lines in hockey.”

The Stars went into the break on their only three-game losing streak of the season, all 3-2 overtime losses at home.

“Those aren’t real losses,” said DeBoer, who twice has gone to the Stanley Cup Final in his first season with a new team. “I’m happy where we’re at. I like how we’re playing.”

Plus, Dallas won’t have to worry in the playoffs about 3-on-3 hockey, which has been the only real stain on their season so far. Only one team has more than its 10 losses after regulation.

“We’ve played a lot of good hockey. We’ve made a lot of good strides in our game,” DeBoer said. “We still have another level we have to get to when we get back, but there are a lot of good things that have happened. They’ve worked to have us where we are right now in the standings. Good spot to be in.”

The Stars have 31 games left in the regular season. The first four after the break at home, like the last four before their week-long hiatus.

Robertson’s 33 goals rank sixth in the NHL, and the 23-year-old has the same number of assists while averaging 1.29 points a game even after he missed most of training camp before signing a four-year, $31 million contract. Pavelski has 48 points (14 goals, 34 assists) while playing every game, and Hintz 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in only 43 games.

Oettinger, who is 21-7 in regulation, has a .923 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average since signing his three-year, $12 million contract. That deal came after 223 saves in a seven-game playoff series against Calgary last May, capped by 64 in the series finale that went to overtime.

Nill said Robertson’s production has improved even with the league adjusting to the high-scoring forward, and that Oettinger is proving to be one of the league’s best goalies. But they are just part of what has been a tremendous team effort.

“They kind of had that mojo right from the start, and it was kind of this team’s got the right mix,” Nill said. “It’s come together well, and it’s shown in the standings. It’s been good to watch.”

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.