The National Hockey League introduced the recipients of 4 of its annual awards Thursday, two months after the common season was abruptly halted, then canceled.
Though there was little suspense since all 4 awards honor regular-season statistical leaders in numerous classes, the awards have been a psychological marker that reified a weird timeline that has seen play suspended, gamers largely unable to coach on ice and, most just lately, steps taken towards a posh, expanded 24-team playoff that may be performed over the summer time.
“I think it’s one of those moments where we realize that the regular season is over and it’s on to playoff mode,” Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle stated.
Yandle acknowledged that among the award races may have modified form within the canceled portion of the season, however he emphasised that each participant was coping with the identical uncommon circumstances. The league had accomplished about 85 % of the common season when play was suspended on March 12.
“It’s not like one or two teams got to play 10 games more. Pretty much everyone played the same amount of games and those guys were recognized for having amazing years,” Yandle stated.
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin gained his report ninth scoring title as he and Boston Bruins proper wing David Pastrnak shared the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, awarded to the league’s prime objective scorer. Both gamers scored 48 objectives. Ovechkin was two objectives shy of his ninth 50-goal season, which might have tied a report shared by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy, with 13 video games left on the Capitals’ schedule when the season was halted.
Toronto Maple Leafs heart Auston Matthews completed the truncated marketing campaign one objective behind Ovechkin and Pastrnak. In addition to a possible tie-break, Matthews may have doubtlessly fired his technique to the trophy had the season been accomplished. Washington had performed 69 video games whereas Boston and Toronto had every performed 70 when play was suspended.
“I wouldn’t mind having a game against Boston or Toronto just so those three guys can decide,” Capitals heart Evgeny Kuznetsov stated. “Or, if they want to be creative, they could create a challenge for those three guys and have a competition between them to show their skills.”
Edmonton Oilers ahead Leon Draisaitl gained the Art Ross Trophy because the league’s prime level producer in essentially the most snug style of any of Thursday’s winners. He completed 13 factors forward of his teammate Connor McDavid.
Draisaitl, the primary German participant to win a scoring title in a serious North American league, will undoubtedly obtain consideration for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the N.H.L.’s most dear participant. A fan of his nation’s soccer league, the Bundesliga, Draisaitl stated he hoped the N.H.L. would glean classes from that league’s restart earlier this month.
“I think they have done a good job of making it safe for everyone and they’ve done a very professional job of getting as close to a normal game day as possible,” he stated.
In a a lot nearer race, the Bruins’ goalie tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak gained the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded every season to the goalies for the staff that allowed the fewest objectives. They edged out the Dallas Stars’ Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin by simply seven objectives allowed, and had performed yet one more sport than Dallas.
The Bruins additionally earned the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the staff with the very best level complete. They had a sport in hand and a 6-point benefit on the runner-up St. Louis Blues, their Stanley Cup finals adversary final yr.
Unlike the N.B.A., which in some circumstances makes use of league honors to dictate the incomes potential of its gamers, bonuses within the N.H.L. for league awards are restricted. The overwhelming majority of gamers would not have monetary incentives of their contracts by means of ensures within the collective bargaining settlement, as these solely apply to entry-level gamers and over-35 veterans on one-year contracts.
Only one participant who was an award winner or runner-up Thursday, Khudobin, is headed towards potential free company. None are on entry-level contracts and none face potential wage arbitration for subsequent season.
The participant brokers Allan Walsh and Eustace King agreed that any potential bonuses concerning trophies or their factoring into wage arbitration have been issues that the N.H.L. and its gamers’ union would adjudicate within the close to future due to the unusual nature of this season and subsequent. It was one in all many points to be resolved between the 2 sides within the close to future.
“All we have right now is an agreement on the format of a return to play, if we are able to get to the point where we are able to play games, that’s all we have,” Walsh stated.