Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadians and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild are this year’s finalists for the Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman that shows the “greatest all-round ability” at the position, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association at the end of the regular season.
It is the first time each finalist has been among the final three in Norris consideration and the field is absent traditional presences like 2009 winner Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, who finished as runner-up in each of the past two seasons.
The Vancouver Canucks are likely facing an offseason of on-ice personnel changes. Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province suggests defenseman Alexander Edler could be one of several Vancouver players on the trade block.
“Trading Alex Edler to a team like Philadelphia, for instance, a squad desperate for help on the back end to help them get back into the mix in the East. They have some outstanding frontline offensive talent they might be persuaded to part with for a player like Edler — who, upon hearing a different coach’s voice giving different directions, might develop into that great defenceman he looked like he could become in the Stanley Cup playoffs two years ago.”
Signed through until 2019, Edler earns an average-annual salary of $5 million. The 27-year-old Swede was a disappointment this regular season, notching only 22 points in 45 games.
The interim label has been removed from the head coaching title of Ron Rolston. Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier announced Tuesday morning that Rolston has been named the club’s head coach, assuming the role he has held on an interim basis since February 20, when he he was brought in to replace the fired Lindy Ruff.
Rolston, the 16th coach in club history, was 15-11-5 in his 31-game run as the interim head coach. Despite showing some tangible improvement in the second half of the season, the Sabres still missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, finishing in 12th place in the eastern Conference, seven points behind the eighth-place New York Islanders.
Prior to joining the Sabres in February, he was the coach of the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. In his two seasons as coach of the Americans, Rolston compiled a 63-44-17 regular-season record.
Before joining the Americans in 2011, Rolston spent seven seasons as head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, where he became the first coach in American hockey history to lead the United States Under-18 team to three gold medals (2005, 2009, 2011) at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship.
Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader has been suspended for two games for charging Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman during Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series in Detroit on Saturday, May 4, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
The incident occurred at 15:11 of the second period. Abdelkader was assessed a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct.
Detroit Red Wings Justin Abdelkader will have a telephone disciplinary hearing with the NHL at 4pm et this afternoon about his game-misconduct for charging on Toni Lydman from Saturday, according to Bob McKenzie on Twitter.
Abdelkader was assessed a major penalty for charging and given a game misconduct with 4:49 left in the second period. Lydman was helped off the ice and did not return to the game. Abdelkader cannot be suspended for more than five games.
“From what I gather, the league has done a pretty good job with these things, and I’m not going to say anything,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game. “Mr. Shanahan can look at it.”
It seems the Carolina Hurricanes aren’t willing to be too patient. With the fifth-overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Hurricanes are reportedly hoping to snag a player capable of making an instant impact per the Raleigh News & Observer. Assuming wisely that defenseman Seth Jones won’t be available, other options may include center Elias Lindholm and center Aleksander Barkov. Or, even though he’s signed to play in the KHL for another two seasons, winger Valeri Nichushkin.
“If might affect his ranking but it might be OK with some NHL teams,” Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes director of amateur scouting, said. “Some might be willing to wait or decide to negotiate with the (Russian) federation.”
If the Hurricanes are willing to take that risk, ESPN Insider and NHL Scout Grant Sonier suggests Nichushkin 6-foot-4, 200 pounds could be an ideal fit in Carolina.
Jay-Z is part of a group trying to renovate Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum outside New York City.
The rapper and music mogul attended a meeting Thursday on Long Island, where the media was briefed on four proposals to renovate the arena and surrounding property.
Nassau County officials have been trying to come up with a plan to redevelop the 40-year-old arena for many years. The New York Islanders are its primary tenant, and they are moving to Brooklyn in 2015.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is part of a group that built the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn and is bidding for the Long Island project.
He took photos with Nassau County officials but did not speak during the 30-minute presentation. County officials are expected to decide on a plan this summer.
Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference has been suspended for Game 2 of their first-round playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs for an illegal hit to to the head of forward Mikhail Grabovski on Wednesday night.
According to the league’s ruling, Ference “made a decision to check Grabovski after playing the puck. However, in doing so he lunges toward Grabovski, extending his left arm and shoulder, picking Grabovski’s head and making it the principal point of contact.”
Early in the first period of the Bruins’ 4-1 series-opening win over the Maple Leafs, Ference came up high with his elbow as he skated past Grabovski and connected with the opposing player’s head.
There was no penalty called on the play, but the replay clearly showed Ference raising his elbow to make contact. Grabovski did not appear to be injured on the play.
Ference went unpunished in the first period of Boston’s 4-1 playoff win Wednesday night when he elbowed Grabovski in the head by the boards.
The NHL said it was reviewing an illegal check to the head. Grabovski finished the game.
Asked about the hit after the game, Boston coach Claude Julien said he hadn’t seen it and couldn’t comment.
Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said it was part of the “physicality” of the playoffs.
“It’s a game that’s made to be physical,” he said. “You’re allowed to hit people.
“To judge if it was offside, a bad hit, or a belligerent hit, that’s not for me to judge. That’s for people in the league to make those determinations.”