2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

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Image Source: NBC Sports

Moments ago, the NHL released the final roster of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles January 28th-29th. Not surprisingly, Nashville has only one player on said roster: P.K. Subban, who was voted by the fans as the Central Division Captain. And, with his upper-body injury slated to be healed by the All-Star Weekend, Subban may have to relinquish his captain duties to someone else for safety’s sake.

– CENTRAL DIVISION

  • P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
  • Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars

 

– ATLANTIC DIVISION:

  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
  • Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens
  • Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
  • Frans Nielsen – Detroit Red Wings
  • Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vincent Trocheck – Florida Panthers
  • Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabres
  • Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

– PACIFIC DIVISION:

  • Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
  • Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
  • Mike Smith – Arizona Coyotes
  • Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  • Jeff Carter – L.A. Kings
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks

– METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

  • Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils
  • Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets

What do you think about the roster for this year’s All-Star Weekend? Nashville isn’t the only team with one representative, but if you want to include former Preds (Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Seth Jones, and Shea Weber), then Nashville’s actually pretty well represented.

All joking aside, the big question is will Subban be healthy enough to participate? As mentioned, his 2-3 week recovery time ends at about the time of the All-Star festivities, but should not participate if it risks re-injury (thus keeping him out of the lineup even longer). Of course, that will be something the organization and Subban discuss as time gets closer.

 

 

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OT woes continue to plague Preds in 2-1 loss against MTL

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Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Although it was a bittersweet night with the return of Shea Weber to Nashville since being traded to Montreal for P.K. Subban in the off-season, it wasn’t how the Predators had hoped to start 2017 and the second half of the season. The 3-on-3 OT format has been in place since last season, and while the rest of the league has generally figured it out, Nashville just hasn’t seemed to get it down. In fact, Nashville’s OT/SO record since the start of last season is 7-20. Woof.

However, it’s that continuous inconsistency that forces the Predators into that all too familiar scenario that is the overtime loss. Nashville’s lone goal was notched by Kevin Fiala with less than a minute left in the second period, his sixth of the season. Fiala’s backhander was assisted by Ryan Ellis (9) and Roman Josi (15). It wouldn’t take long before Shea Weber would come knocking, collecting his 10th goal of the season with the assistance of former (and not so welcomed) Predator, Alexander Radulov. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how not to score in Bridgestone Arena.

While Nashville would push Montreal beyond regulation (which used to be considered a good thing), overtime would yet again deny Nashville of the much needed win and two points. Captain Max Pacioretty would seal Nashville’s OT fate for his 16th goal of the season. Let it also be known that Radulov assisted on this goal as well (his 20th overall).

Despite this loss, Nashville’s penalty kill looked rather decent, with the Predators denying the Habs four times throughout the match. Montreal gave Nashville three chances at the man advantage, but prevented them from ever getting a chance at net. Oh yeah, and Carey Price is a stud. And yet, so is Pekka Rinne. As Peter Laviolette mentioned after the game:

Of the 45 shots on net from Montreal last night, Pekka Rinne stopped all but two. Carey Price only faced 24 from Nashville. While some would rather argue that Juuse Saros should be given more ice time (and I don’t disagree – to an extent), Rinne is still Nashville’s veteran and starting goaltender; and pardon my French here, but he’s still damn good. Saros will be an outstanding successor for Rinne but for now, he’s just that; the future. He probably should see a little bit more ice time, but that’s a debate for another day.

Nashville has no time to pout about their former captain stealing the show; it’s onward to Florida to face the 19-16-4 Tampa Bay Lightning. At this point, the Predators have no time left to revel over poor performance; just time to recoup and continue seeking the solution to their inconsistency before the playoffs are out of reach.

Let me leave you on a rather heartwarming note with Nashville’s tribute video to Shea Weber. A TV timeout just wasn’t enough time to convey what Weber has done for Nashville and the growth of hockey in our city. So many lives have been impacted positively by your actions both on and off the ice. Truly, there are not enough thank yous that can be said to express how grateful we are. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Subban out against MTL on Tuesday

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Image Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Say it ain’t so… P.K. Subban will miss Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, his first chance to face his former team this season. And if his upper-body injury is as bad as speculated, he may miss his second opportunity in March. Per Elliotte Friedman, Subban is to meet with team doctors to discuss treatment for a possible herniated disc. He also mentioned the possibility of surgery, which would leave him on the mend for an extended period of time. Of course, that is worst case scenario, but it also cannot be ruled out until a decision is made from team doctors.

Subban, who lead the team in ice time before his injury on December 15th, could potentially be out for the remainder of the regular season; can Nashville rally around themselves and make the push without him? Well, since Subban’s absence after 12/15, Nashville has been 3-2-2, which isn’t fabulous, but not the absolute worst either. While it hurts to lose someone as dynamic in defense as Subban, Nashville has plenty of other strong defenseman to rely on, including Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis. The world won’t end without Subban in the lineup, but it sure puts a further kink into Nashville’s push towards the playoffs.

UPDATE:

Per the Predators organization, P.K. Subban has been placed on the Injured Reserve and his condition will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.

 

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Saros earns first NHL career shutout; blank Blues 4-0

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Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As I mentioned previously, the Predators needed to feed off the frustration that mounted in last night’s loss against Chicago and boy, did they.

While the first period saw no net action, Nashville did prevent St. Louis from advancing on two power play chances thanks to some handy penalty kill work. Nashville would begin its onslaught of goals in the second period, starting with Yannick Weber at 4:52 for his first goal this season (and within the Predators organization). Craig Smith (7) and Mike Ribeiro (16) would assist on Weber’s first goal.

Filip Forsberg would answer the call at 7:26 on the power play to give Nashville a 2-0 lead for his 8th goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (17) and Ryan Johansen (20) would pick up the assists.

While Weber and Forsberg’s goals were wonderful gifts from the hockey gods, it would be Viktor Arvidsson’s dirty wrister that would steal the show:

Viktor Arvidsson, who was been quite the shining star for Nashville, earns his 10th goal of the season, assisted by Matt Irwin (5) and Mike Fisher (10).

Carter Hutton was brought in at the beginning of the third period to relieve Jake Allen between the posts, but could not stop Colin Wilson from netting his 6th goal of the season on the power play at 8:08. Wilson’s wrister was assisted by Filip Forsberg (15) and Ryan Ellis (8).

While St. Louis would be given one extra power play chance at 13:14, rookie goaltender Juuse Saros would keep the Blues at bay, earning his first career NHL shutout. Saros, who has shined as Nashville’s backup, further proved tonight that he will be the future between the posts for the Predators. But leave it to Pekka to have us all a little misty eyed as he congratulates his apprentice on his shutout:

After a tough loss against the Blackhawks last night, tonight’s shutout against the Blues certainly has the potential to set things straight for Nashville and its hopes for a playoff run. If anything, it is a great way to end the first half of the 2016-17 season and, likewise, opens up the Predators to a fresh start in 2017.

Next up, Shea Weber and the Montreal Canadiens come to town on Tuesday, January 3rd at 7PM. Hopefully, P.K. Subban will be ready to face his former team as we celebrate Nashville’s former captain and defensive rock.

 

Subban to miss next two games; questionable against MTL

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Image Source: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

December 15th. That was the last time P.K. Subban suited up for the Predators since sustaining an upper-body injury. Although he is still listed as day-to-day, The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan reported earlier today that Subban is expected to miss the next two games on the schedule: Chicago (tonight) at home and St. Louis (tomorrow) on the road.

While there is no bad news coming from information regarding his injuries, there is no good news either. The defenseman has been absent from practice, but has remained active in the community. Not to say one cannot be injured and still perform community service acts, but to me, it’s a good sign.

One of the biggest concerns regarding Subban’s injury, however, is will he be ready to face his former team on Tuesday night? Due to the Subban-Weber trade being one of the biggest shakeups of the off-season, the first meeting between the Nashville Predators and the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday is expected to be a highly anticipated event. But if you have Shea Weber, but no P.K. Subban, it sort of takes the wind out of the fun, right?

Of course, on Nashville’s end, you don’t want to possibly cause further injury by having Subban return before he is 100% ready just for show. However, as the leader of ice time before his injury on the 15th, Nashville is more than ready to have P.K. back in the lineup.

While Montreal has blossomed thus far with both Shea Weber and former Predator Alexander Radulov (21-9-5, 1st Atlantic), the Predators have had a bit of a difficult time adjusting (15-13-6, 6th Central) since the loss of the tenacious defenseman that was (and is) Shea Weber. However, from a Montreal fan point-of-view, the loss of P.K. Subban outweighs the nine goals, eleven assists he has produced for the Canadiens. At least, that’s what we’ve heard. While Nashville has not lived up to the hype that the NHL expected after a successful 2015-16 run, there is still time for the Predators to turn this train around. But let’s not beat around the bush; it isn’t much time. Tonight’s bout against divisional rival, the Chicago Blackhawks, could be the much needed win that pushes the Predators back into Stanley Cup contention (hey, we are trying to stay positive here). While the Predators have the talent, the constant inconsistency is what is holding Nashville back. It’s like the old Jerry Reed song that goes, “When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not.” I would say that’s a good way to describe how Nashville has fared thus far this season. Truthfully, they will need to find another song before Sunday if they want to see the playoffs. Where’s DJ Eric Nystrom with the playlist when you need him?

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NSH trades Weber to MTL for Subban

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Yes, you read that headline correctly. Just days after winning the 2016 Mark Messier Leadership Award, Shea Weber has been traded in a deal with the Montreal Canadiens for fellow defenseman Pernell Karl Subban, better known around the world as P.K.

For me personally, I am finding myself in a glass case of emotions… On one hand, this is an outstanding trade. Subban is undoubtedly one of the best defenseman in the league and snagging him from Montreal would be insane. On the other hand, in order to snag someone like Subban, you’ve got to have something just as valuable in return. That valuable piece? Either Shea Weber or Roman Josi. As much as we’d all love to imagine having all three together, it’s just impossible on too many levels. And with that, our beloved captain has been traded to Montreal and the rumors of “when will Weber be traded?” have come to an end on this day, June 29th, 2016.

Unlike the laughable trade that came an hour earlier between the Edmonton Oilers and the New Jersey Devils (one-for-one Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson deal), this trade is good for both parties involved. Montreal receives a powerful, veteran defenseman and Nashville gets a younger, more offensive-minded defenseman that will pair well with Roman Josi in return.

Here’s a little info on P.K. Subban from the Predators:

Subban, 27 (5/13/89), is among the most decorated defensemen in the game today. Individually, he won the 2013 Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, was a finalist for the award in 2015, is a two-time First-Team NHL All-Star (2013 and 2015) and a 2011 All-Rookie Team selection. He has helped teams win a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics and a pair of World Junior Championships (2008 and 2009). Over the past four seasons – dating back to 2012-13 – the 6-foot, 210-pound blueliner has amassed 203 points (42g-160a) in 274 regular-season games, third most among all NHL defensemen. He has surpassed the 50-point mark in each of the past three seasons, highlighted by a career-high 60 points (15g-45a) in 2014-15. He has advanced past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of his last two appearances in the postseason, ranking fourth among NHL blueliners in points (5g-9a-14pts) in 2014, helping Montreal reach the Eastern Conference Final.

A native of Toronto, Subban started his professional career in 2009-10, being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team and an AHL First-Team All-Star after leading all league blueliners in goals (18) and ranking third in points. The 43rd overall selection in the 2007 NHL Draft (second round) played four seasons with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls from 2005-09, posting 190 points (42g-148a) in 234 games and being named a 2009 First-Team OHL All-Star.

Subban has also become renowned for his charitable contributions, and recently received the 2016 NHL Foundation Award which is presented to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.” In September 2015, he announced a $10 million pledge over a seven-year period to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCHF), and often employs various initiatives to engage the community and raise awareness about those causes nearest to him.

That’s right. If somehow you missed this piece of information about a year ago, P.K. Subban is quite the charitable giver and will be a huge asset to the Nashville community as well. So you get elite defenseman + all around nice guy. Can’t beat that, right?

Shea Weber will be truly missed. Drafted 49th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Predators, Weber has been an integrated figure in the Nashville community and the Predators organization for nearly ten years. It really hasn’t set in that he has been traded, but I am sure as the pre-season festivities begin, it’ll hit us all pretty hard. As a writer, I am supposed to keep my heart out of moments like these, but I am also still a fan. It is hard not to become attached to players; it’s like a friend moving away. It sucks. But alas dear Weber fans, you will be okay. Trust me, you’ll love P.K. Subban.

Preds defeat Hawks 3-1

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Source: The Tennessean

Let’s start by discussing how successful this road trip has been for the Predators, shall we? After the devastating loss at home against Los Angeles last Saturday, the Predators needed all the help they could get going into a three-game road trip to Canada and Chicago. Sitting pretty in a Wild Card position, Nashville was going to need as many two-point games as they could muster, and Montreal, Chicago, and even second-to-last in the league Toronto weren’t going to go down without some kind of a fight.

Back-to-back games are tough on any team, but Nashville made it look easy by first coming away with two points in a shootout against Montreal (yes, the Predators made it through an overtime) 2-1. Pekka Rinne has been playing exceptionally well, along with his cohort Carter Hutton. Of course, the highlight of this particular game was Craig Smith and his… well, Craig Smithy-ness and then his redemption SO goal.

Moving onward to Tuesday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs (who are battling with the Edmonton Oilers for last in the league) have already beaten the Predators once this season, claiming the two points in Nashville in a 2-1 SO victory back on November 12th. After a little jawing between Cody Bass and former Predator Rich Clune, the Predators notched a 3-2 victory over the floundering Maple Leafs.

Apparently, Rich Clune was not happy that Bass is wearing his former number. I guess Nashville was supposed to retire it after you were waived?

Riding high on their two victories in Canada, it was time for the Predators to face a divisional opponent and not just any divisional opponent – a divisional opponent that has had the upper-hand on Nashville this season. The Predators have loss seven straight games in the United Center so there’s no doubt there was some tension going into last night’s game. Chicago, who is ten points ahead of Nashville and is one point behind tying Dallas for first in the Central Division, wasn’t expecting to lose this game. So much so were they to win, the NBC Sports broadcasters chose to cover the Blackhawks instead of both teams (before anyone says anything, I am aware the Blackhawks were the home team, but come on. It’s on a neutral network. At least try to cover both teams equally).

Pekka Rinne was a force to be reckoned with last night, something we haven’t seen from him in a long time. When I say a long time, I mean he’s starting to find that “Pekka-esque” groove again, which has been absent due to injuries over the last few years. Since allowing Carter Hutton more ice time, it has almost given Rinne a rejuvenated feel. That, and with Hutton finding his fire, it is great to know that, no matter who is in the goal for that given match, it will be well defended.

Viktor Arvidsson is certainly making a name for himself with the big boys, getting Nashville on the board last night to tie the game after Seabrook’s initial goal. The young Swede notched his seventh goal of the season, his second in just five games.

Pekka Rinne would keep the prying Blackhawks at bay until around 1:30 left in regulation when another young Swede would come to the rescue and give Nashville the 2-1 lead. That Swede? Calle “Ironhook” Jarnkrok.

His twelfth goal of the season, Jarnkrok has become a threat in his own, being in the right place at the right time in most situations. For this goal, Mike Fisher setup the initial chance, which Jarnkrok easily took advantage of for the game winning goal.

Extending the Swedish dominance was Miikka Salomaki, who sunk the empty-netter to give Nashville the 3-1 lead and the overall victory as time expired.

Being a divisional rival, a league and division leader, knocking off the Blackhawks in their own arena should be a huge morale boost for the Nashville Predators; there’s no way it couldn’t be. The Predators hit their slump mid-season, but it has seeped into their playoff chances for sure. It’s now or never to kick it into gear and start collecting points. Some might say, “but they already have a wild card spot”. Yes, but that isn’t permanent and there are plenty of other teams who want that coveted spot as well. Plus, who wants to just settle with okay?

Nashville is back home Saturday for a rare 2PM puck drop against the 35-19-9 St. Louis Blues. This will be another game that Nashville will need to push hard for the two point victory.

NSH Acquires Elliott for Bartley

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Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In a trade that took “weeks“to develop, the Nashville Predators traded defenseman Victor Bartley to the Arizona Coyotes for fellow defenseman Stefan Elliott. You may be wondering, “How could this trade – of all trades – have taken weeks?” Well, it involves multiple players and more than just Arizona and Nashville.

Wanting Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier from the Montreal Canadiens, the Arizona Coyotes configured a deal with Nashville (Elliott for Bartley) and then traded Victor Bartley and John Scott to Montreal for Tinordi and Fournier. Make sense?

Per Yahoo! Sports NHL, newly acquired Stefan Elliott has 82GP, 8G, 24PTs, and 16 PIM. Eh, not too shabby of a pick up with the luck Nashville has been having lately. Any goals would be wonderful, am I right?

Beyond Nashville trading defense for defense, there’s the fact that the Pacific Division All-Star Captain has been traded off to the Atlantic Division. What does that mean for John Scott and the All-Star Game? Surprisingly, not much. There’s a good chance he’ll just play out his role as Pacific Division Captain whist listed on the St. John’s IceCaps roster; both Scott and Bartley will join Montreal’s minor league affiliate.

Speaking of Victor Bartley, it’s been real. Placed on waivers by Nashville back in November, a trade featuring the 27-year-old defenseman was bound to happen. Originally an Undrafted Free Agent, Victor Bartley bounced around Sweden before signing his first NHL contract with the Predators in 2011. Of course, Bartley will probably be best remembered for his rendition of “Gangnam Style” with the Milwaukee Admirals:

Ah, good times.

Moving forward, let’s here what the Predators had to say about their newly acquired defenseman from Arizona:

Elliott, 24 (1/30/91), has skated in 82 career NHL games, posting 24 points (8g-16a) in parts of five seasons with the Colorado Avalanche and Arizona Coyotes. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman has spent the 2015-16 campaign with Arizona, notching six points (2g-4a), 10 hits and 16 blocked shots in 19 games.

The native of Vancouver, B.C., was Colorado’s second-round selection (49th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.

Preds Release Opening Night Roster

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Yesterday afternoon, the Predators released the finalized 23-man roster for the 2015-16 NHL season. Without further ado, here are your Nashville Predators:

FORWARDS

Smith

Forsberg

Arvidsson

Bourque

Fisher

Gaustad

Hodgson

Neal

Nystrom

Wilson

Ribeiro

watson

51(1)

DEFENSE

Bartley

Bitetto

Ekholm

Ellis

Weber

Josi

Jackman

Jones

GOALIES

Rinne

Hutton

 

So, are you surprised by who made  the roster? We certainly are happy to see that Austin Watson made the cut, as that kid has been working something hard in the AHL. The same can be said for Viktor Arvidsson, who is definitely ready for his light to shine this season.

The 2015-16 NHL season opens tonight with the Maple Leafs vs. the Canadiens, the Blackhawks vs. Rangers, the Flames vs. the Canucks, and the Kings vs. the Sharks. However, Nashville opens the season tomorrow at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rinne named Vezina Finalist

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Earlier this afternoon, the NHL announced its nominees for the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the league’s best goaltender. Here’s an excerpt from the official news release:

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, as voted on by general managers of all NHL clubs. This is Rinne’s third career nomination for the award, given annually to the NHL goaltender judged to be the best at his position. Rinne was nominated in 2011 and 2012, but is yet to win the award.

After missing significant time due to a hip infection in 2013-14, Rinne returned to form in the 2014-15 campaign, finishing the season with 41 wins (tied for second in the NHL) and among the League leaders in goals-against average (2.18) and save percentage (.923).

Nashville’s nominee for the 2015 Masterton Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, Rinne recorded two, six-game winning streaks and posted four shutouts during the regular season.

On March 14 in Los Angeles, Rinne made 23 saves to record his 200th career NHL victory, and the 600th all-time for the franchise, in his 370th career appearance, all of which had come as a member of the Preds. Against the Rangers on Feb. 7, the Kempele, Finland, native became the fastest (in terms of games played) goaltender to record 30 wins (39 games played) since the NHL adopted the shootout in 2005-06 and just the third goalie in the NHL’s expansion era to tally 30 wins in 39 games or less.

Also nominated are Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild. I totally understand Price, but Dubnyk? He has been exceptionally well when Minnesota has needed him, but so has a ton of other backup goaltenders. Strangely enough, I am not surprised he was nominated; too many writers discussing it these past few months. As much as I think Rinne deserves this award, I am afraid it will end up in Price’s hands. Not only is he heavily favored, he has been excruciatingly consistent.

The NHL Awards are slated for June 24th, time TBA, in Las Vegas.