The Latest on NHL awards show at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino (all times local):
New Jersey forward Taylor Hall has won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player.
Hall beat out Los Angeles captain Anze Kopitar and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon in a contest between three first-time finalists for the award.
Hall finished sixth in the league with 93 points for the Devils. He is the first New Jersey player to win the Hart.
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, the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, likely got the nod over two worthy contenders because of the way he carried the Devils offensively while they reached the playoffs for the first time in five years. He scored 41 more points than rookie Nico Hischier, the Devils’ second-leading scorer.
George McPhee has been named the NHL’s general manager of the year in the fourth trophy given to the Vegas Golden Knights at the NHL Awards.
Exactly one year after his remarkable performance in the expansion draft, McPhee was a no-brainer choice for the award after his masterful assembly of the most successful debut team in recent sports history.
The Golden Knights went 51-24-7 and won the Pacific Division before reaching the Stanley Cup Final, setting innumerable records along the way for first-year success.
McPhee beat out Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff and Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman for the award.
McPhee joins coach Gerard Gallant, Lady Byng winner William Karlsson and Mark Messier Leadership Award winner Deryk Engelland with trophies from the annual show in the Golden Knights’ hometown.
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie.
The 35-year-old Finn won his position’s top honor for the first time, beating out Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck and Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Rinne was a Vezina finalist for the fourth time. He finally got it after a standout regular season for the Presidents’ Trophy winners in Nashville, where he has been a stalwart in goal since 2008.
Rinne went 42-13-4 with eight shutouts, a 2.31 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage for the Predators. He also earned his 300th career victory on Feb. 22.
Rinne struggled along with his teammates in the postseason, but voters didn’t hold it against him.
Gerard Gallant of the Vegas Golden Knights has won the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL’s top coach.
Gallant was an obvious choice over Colorado’s Jared Bednar and Boston’s Bruce Cassidy after he masterminded the most spectacular expansion season in recent sports history. The Golden Knights went 51-24-7 and handily won the Pacific Division before winning 13 postseason games and reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their first playoff campaign.
The 54-year-old Gallant was named the Golden Knights’ first coach in April 2017 Trenton Cannon Jersey Elite
, and the veteran NHL coach provided steady leadership while turning Vegas’ expansion roster into a cohesive, motivated team. Gallant’s players praised his steady, intelligent approach to the postseason, which ended in a five-game loss to the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.
Gallant previously coached in Columbus and Florida, but his teams had never won a playoff round before Vegas’ remarkable run.
Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar has won the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
Kopitar won the trophy for the second time in three years, beating out perennial candidate and four-time winner Patrice Bergeron of Boston, along with Philadelphia’s Sean Couturier.
Kopitar led all NHL forwards in ice time during another standout season for the Kings, who were the NHL’s top statistical defensive team. The Slovenian star played extensively on the penalty kill and took 1,816 faceoffs.
Kopitar was a finalist for the Selke for the fourth time in five seasons. Bergeron has been a finalist in seven straight seasons, passing Pavel Datsyuk’s NHL record.
Kopitar is also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP.
New Jersey’s Brian Boyle has won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.
The other finalists were Florida’s Roberto Luongo and Carolina’s Jordan Staal.
The 33-year-old Boyle was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia during training camp Customized Los Angeles Rams Jerseys
, but he made it back into the Devils’ lineup in November and eventually represented New Jersey at the All-Star game after teammate Taylor Hall couldn’t go because of injury.
Boyle put together an outstanding season even while his 2-year-old son, Declan, also had significant health problems.
Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson has won the Lady Byng Trophy as the player best combining sportsmanship and ability.
After Columbus made a deal with Vegas to take Karlsson off its hands in the expansion draft, the talented Swede had a breakthrough season for the expansion Golden Knights, racking up 43 goals and 35 assists with only 12 penalty minutes. Karlsson had never scored more than 25 points in any of his three previous NHL seasons with Anaheim and the Blue Jackets.
”Who would have thought?” Karlsson said with a smile after picking up his award.
Karlsson’s trophy is the first individual player honor earned by the Golden Knights. Coach Gerard Gallant, general manager George McPhee and defenseman Deryk Engelland are also up for awards later in the ceremony in the Knights’ hometown.
The AFC North champions are optimistic Brown’s familiar No. 84 will run out of the tunnel at Heinz Field on Jan. 14. Brown hasn’t played a snap since injuring the leg while trying to haul in a touchdown pass in the second quarter against New England on Dec. 17. If for some reason his leg doesn’t heal in time, the Steelers (13-3) are confident they can thrive without him.
”We don’t know what’s going to happen with 84,” veteran receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. ”Things sound good but we don’t know. I’m confident because we put the work in. You saw it in the Patriots game. We didn’t panic when AB got hurt. Guys rolled in, played ball. The last few weeks we’ve been doing that.”
Pittsburgh persevered thanks in part to the precocious development of rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster Giants B.J. Hill Jersey
, the resilience of Martavis Bryant and offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s refusal to pigeon hole the many weapons at his disposal. Haley insists that every wide receiver and tight end learn how to run every route from every conceivable spot along the line of scrimmage. Even running back Le’Veon Bell (whose 85 receptions ranked 10th in the league) is required to pick it up.
”We’ve got to keep it unpredictable,” tight end Jesse James said. ”We can’t let defense know where AB is going to line up every time. That goes for everybody. We’re always looking to see different matchups.”
Ones the Steelers exploited even with Brown out.
Smith-Schuster averaged 110 yards receiving over the final three games. Bryant’s tumultuous return from a yearlong suspension, a return that included an early-season trade demand, ended with a flourish. He caught 13 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown over the last three weeks. Even reserves Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter found the end zone as Pittsburgh bounced back from a difficult loss to the Patriots to clinch a first-round playoff bye.
Don’t get Brown’s teammates wrong. Pittsburgh is infinitely better with the only unanimous selection on the NFL’s 2017 All-Pro team in the lineup. Yet the drop-off isn’t quite as steep as it would have been a year ago, when Bryant was out of the league, Smith-Schuster was still in college and injuries forced the Steelers to use a largely anonymous group to fill in the gaps.
It speaks to the depth Pittsburgh has cultivated over the last 12 months that Cobi Hamilton, who caught the team’s lone touchdown pass in an AFC title game loss to New England, didn’t survive the final round of cuts in August.
”Out of all the years I’ve been here, I’m confident knowing we have more hands, we have more in our deck of cards Cheap JK Scott Jersey
,” said Heyward-Bey, now in his fourth season with the Steelers. ”We’ve got more things going on.”
Smith-Schuster has been a revelation as both a route runner and an enthusiastic blocker in the running game. And Brown’s absence has given Bryant the playing time he was looking for when he went to the team in September and asked to be traded. Things have quieted down since, and his production level ticked up as the season went along. Bryant had at least four receptions in five of Pittsburgh’s last six games. He only had one game with more than four receptions over the first 10 weeks.
Bryant stressed the receivers didn’t ”add more pressure to ourselves” when Brown went down but added ”everybody wants to have AB’s back and be great for him.” Perhaps no one has more at stake than the 26-year-old Bryant, who showed flashes of greatness in in 2014-15 before multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy put his career in jeopardy. The road back has been rocky but nothing Bryant says he can’t handle.
”This is nothing compared to what I’ve been through,” Bryant said. ”This is a walk in the park for me. Just happy to be back. This year almost over. We got three more games left, looking forward to those and see what happens.”
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