Now that the NHL has reached the conference championship phase of the playoffs, so too can the NHL awards, which are expected to be handed out day-by-day over the next couple of weeks. First up is expected to be the King Clancy Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community. The trophy will be awarded this evening before the start of Game 1 between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Dallas Stars. The three finalists for the awards are Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and New Jersey Devils’ P.K. Subban.
Dumba has been committed to racial and social justice and the Hockey is for Everyone initiative and helped form the Hockey Diversity Alliance with seven current and former NHL players. Lundqvist supports several different initiatives, including aid for children’s health, education, underprivileged youth, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Make a Wish Foundation. Subban also supports several groups, including initiatives for underprivileged youth, medical support and promoting racial and social injustice.
- Despite the bad news that the Tampa Bay Lightning will have to go through the Eastern Conference Finals without Steven Stamkos, the team did get some good news, however, on the injury front. The Athletic’s Joe Smith reports that first-line forward Nikita Kucherov is expected to be available Monday for the Lightning’s first game against the New York Islanders. Kucherov was forced to leave Game 5 against the Boston Bruins with an undisclosed injury, but has had almost a week to recover. The 27-year-old has been quite effective in the playoffs so far with four goals and 16 points in 13 games.
- The Dallas Stars will be without starting goaltender Ben Bishop once again as The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reports that Bishop and defenseman Taylor Fedun remain “unfit to play.” Both skated today, but neither appear ready to play. The scribe did add that forwards Andrew Cogliano and Mattias Janmark are both expected to be game-time decisions today. Bishop has appeared in just three games during the playoffs and hasn’t made an appearance since Aug. 31 against Colorado when he allowed four goals in 13 minutes before being replaced. The team will rely on Anton Khudobin once again, who is 8-5 with a .909 save percentage in 14 games during the playoffs.
- Former AHL forward Riley Holzapfel announced his retirement after spending his four years with the Vienna Capitals of the Austrian League. Holzapfel was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2006 and five season in the AHL before opting to play overseas in 2013, playing three seasons in the SHL before joining Vienna in 2016. He was never able to break into the NHL, however. The 32-year-old was still productive with Vienna, scoring 18 goals and 46 assists in 48 games.