Monday Morsels Around The NHL


Happy Monday Caniacs! What a weekend of hockey it was with both the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks being eliminated, and the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers being on the verge of elimination. Things in the hockey world never quite go the way we’d guess do they? Here are some morsels of news for this lovely Monday!

The big news in Carolina today is the signing of OHL Plymouth Whalers defenseman Beau Schmitz to a three-year, entry level contract. Schmitz has just concluded his fourth season of major-junior hockey, in which he was leading Whalers D-Men in goals (14), helpers (40) and points (54). He also served as the Whalers’ captain in the 2011-12 season. Some notable alumni of the Plymouth Whalers include Penguin James Neal, Nashville Predator David Legwand, Florida Panther Stephen Weiss, and Boston Bruin Tyler Seguin. The Whalers’ season ended just last week when they were defeated by the Kitchener Rangers in a game seven loss in a second round playoff series. Check out more from Cardiac Cane KP Kelly on Carolina Hurricanes Draft Prospects here.

In other news, the NHL has begun to announce finalists for 2011-12 season awards, with more to come over the next week. Before all the awards are announced, check out our own Cardiac Cane predictions from Sally here and KP here.

On Friday, finalists for the Calder Trophy (top rookie), which was awarded to Carolina Hurricanes Jeff Skinner following the 2010-11 season, were named. The Professional Hockey Writers Association voted and selected Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog, Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and New Jersey Devils center Adam Henrique. I know Caniacs were hoping for a nod to Hurricanes rookie D-Man Justin Faulk, so we’ll just have to be satisfied with knowing he had a stellar performance this year, and will for many years to come!

This morning, finalists for both the Lady Byng Trophy and the Selke Trophy were announced. The Lady Byng is awarded to the player who exhibits not only a high quality of play, but also the most sportsmanlike conduct. The finalists include Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers, Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers and winger Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders. This is the first nomination for all three, with Pavel Datsyuk and Tampa Bay Lightning’s Martin St. Louis having this award on lock for the last six years. Carolina Hurricanes Ron Francis is a three-time winner of the Lady, once with the Canes in 2001-2, and twice while playing with the Penguins.

The Selke is awarded to the top defensive forward in the league. This year, St. Louis Blues David Backes, Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron and Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk all have a shot at the award. Datsyuk is no stranger to the Selke: he’s typically nominated and had won the trophy three years in a row (07-08, 08-09, 09-10). If Datsyuk wins again this year, he will tie Bob Gainey for the most wins. Former winners of the Selke include Vancouver Canucks Ryan Kesler and Carolina Hurricanes Rod Brind’Amour (two years in a row).

Other awards will be announced as follows, according to
Tuesday, April 24
Masterton Trophy (perseverance, dedication)
General Manager of the Year

Wednesday, April 25
Vezina Trophy (top goaltender)

Thursday, April 26
Norris Trophy (top defenseman)

Friday, April 27
Hart Trophy (most valuable player to his team)

Monday, April 30
Jack Adams Award (top head coach)
NHL Foundation Award (community service)

Until next time Caniacs! I’ll be holding my breath until the conclusion of tonight’s match up between the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers. Sens Captain Daniel Alfredsson is expected to return tonight, as will the Rangers Carl Hagelin, who was suspended after the hit that cause Alfie his injury. Brian Boyle will be out for the Rangers with a concussion after a hit from Sens Chris Neil. The Chicago Blackhawks will have to fight off elimination by the Phoenix Coyotes tonight as well.

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