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NHL Awards Given Tonight – VHN Picks The Winners

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NHL

It’s an unusual year no matter how you slice it for the NHL. A bubble for teams just to complete the season. Constant testing for the COVID-19 virus. And now shoehorning the NHL Awards into a one-hour socially distanced show tonight before Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final.

The pandemic in no way diminishes the NHL’s awards. Even with a shortened regular season, you still had to be one of the best at your position to earn a nomination. VHN gazes into the crystal ball to see if we can predict the winners.

Please keep in mind these are regular season awards – voting was completed before the playoffs.

First the winners we already know:

Art Ross – Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Rocket Richard – tie Alex Ovechkin (WSH) and David Pastrnak (BOS)

Jennings Trophy – Tuuka Rask and Jaroslav Halak (BOS)

Lady Bing Trophy – Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Jim Gregory GM of the Year – Lou Lamoreillo (NYI)

Jack Adams – Bruce Cassidy (BOS)

Bill Masterton – Bobby Ryan (OTT)

Selke Trophy – Sean Couturier (PHI)

Messier Leadership Award – Mark Giordano (CGY)

King Clancy Trophy – Matt Dumba (MIN)

Willy O’Ree Award – Dampy Brar

Tonight’s NHL Awards

Calder Trophy – Rookie of the Year

Winner: Cale Makar (COL)

Runners Up: Quinn Hughes (VAN), Dominik Kubalik (CHI)

While Hughes puts up slightly better numbers, Makar is my choice because he can play all situations and his game displays an amazing maturity that belies his rookie status. If we’re not just awarding points (which happens more than I like) Makar was the best freshman.

Norris Trophy – Defenseman of the Year

Winner: Victor Hedman (TBL)

Runners Up: John Carlson (WSH), Roman Josi (NSH)

Speaking of awards where the winners tend to put up gaudy numbers, we have the Norris Trophy. The award should be for the best all-around defenseman but several times in recent years that has not been the case. That said, I think the contributions of Hedman to the Lightning are so important that he wins a close one against Carlson. Josi is an excellent defenseman and I love his game, but actually think he’s had better years previous to this when he deserved more recognition and possibly even a win. He deserves the recognition and winning would be a major step for markets like Nashville.

Vezina Trophy – Goaltender of the Year

Winner: Tuuka Rask (BOS)

Runners Up: Connor Hellebuyck (WPG), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL)

Rask’s numbers are hard to ignore. He posted 26 wins, a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage. If we’re talking most valuable goalie to his team, Hellebuyck wins. Vasilevskiy is hampered by his slow start. Next year we might have a whole new crop of names here, but for now the old guard reigns.

Ted Lindsay Award – NHLPA-voted MVP

Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Runners Up: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panarin (NYR)

The doubt about whether Draisaitl was riding the coattails of Connor McDavid were removed this season when the latter went down with an injury and the former just kept right on scoring. Draisaitl finished the year as the league’s scoring leader and showed he has indeed broken through as an impact player on his own. If the playoffs counted, MacKinnon might have won instead.

Hart Trophy – NHL MVP

Winner: Leon Draisaitl (EDM)

Runners Up: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Artemi Panarin (NYR)

See above, because I think these two awards will match up this year. Players obviously see things differently because they’re on the ice, but I think both parties can agree on the monster year Draisaitl had.

Let us know who you think wins the NHL Awards in the comments!

 

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Off-Season Training Protocol Announced by NHL

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NHL

The NHL announced today its Off-Season Training Protocol, which will take effect upon the conclusion of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars. Tampa Bay leads the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game Four is Friday night at 8 pm ET.

Teams will be permitted to reopen training facilities to players beginning October 15 for voluntary workouts. Those workouts may involve up to 12 players on the ice at a time.

If the off-season training protocol sounds familiar, it is a close approximation of Phase 2 of the return to play. Both the NHL and NHLPA had to approve the protocol. According to the NHL’s release, it was also designed in coordination with each body’s medical, epidemiology and infectious disease experts as well as club medical personnel.

Starting dates for training camps and the NHL 2020-21 regular season have not been established yet.

You can find the entire document here.

 

 

 

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Welcome to Vegas Hockey Now

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Vegas Golden Knights, Vegas Hockey Now

Hello everyone and welcome to Vegas Hockey Now. We are launching at a unique time – the Vegas Golden Knights have just bowed out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, losing the Western Conference Final to the Dallas Stars. But there’s no time like the present to talk about one of the deepest teams in the NHL and the oddball season that was.

SO IT ENDS, SO IT BEGINS

I look forward to doing many things with you on this site. We will take a look back and examine the good and bad. We will also look forward to potential changes, cap considerations, and prospects in the pipeline. Plus I know that every player has a story, and I look forward to telling a few of those too.

We will provide a lot of free content for everyone, and for the more hardcore hockey fan, we offer premium subscription to VHN+ as well.

We’re proud to be a part of the National Hockey Now network of sites including our flagship Pittsburgh Hockey Now, and venerable beat writing professionals Adrian Dater with Colorado Hockey Now and George Richards’ Florida Hockey Now. We also have our flag planted in Boston, New York, and check out former VGK beat writer Sheng Peng in San Jose.

In total, we’re now seven markets strong and more are coming!

A little about me: I spent five years doing play-by-play for the Nashville Predators and have broadcasted professional hockey for almost 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of games at every level, and appreciate not only the speed and grace of the NHL level but the grind and determination it takes to make it from the minor or junior hockey. When it comes to judging a player, I want to see him play and how he performs. I’m not much of a fancy stats guy but believe they have their time and place. Hey, I’ve worked in sales. Numbers can be made to show anything you want.

You’ll find I strive for objective coverage, even when it means having an unpopular opinion or going against the grain. I’m not beholden to anyone but you, the loyal Vegas Golden Knights fans. It’s my job to break things down, explain them, and let you decide for yourself what to think. You may not always agree with me, but I look forward to the back-and-forth talking about the best sport in the world.

Thank you for joining us here at Vegas Hockey Now. I’m looking forward to the journey with you.

Yours in Hockey,

Tom Callahan

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