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The Predators made the playoffs for the 10th time in 13 seasons after acquiring defenseman P.K. Subban in a trade with the Canadiens for defenseman Shea Weber on June 29. Nashville had the fewest points among the 16 playoff qualifiers and was the second wild card from the Western Conference, but swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round and earned its first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since entering the NHL in 1998.
Veteran Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk did not play in the team’s 5-2 loss to Team Canada on Saturday night during the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey at Air Canada Centre.
Having spent 17 years working with Vegas GM George McPhee when McPhee was Capitals GM, Mahoney knows him well, but said trying to predict what he’ll do is difficult.
“You never know,” Mahoney said. “I’m sure he has his plan and things may depend now on who was exposed by certain teams in the expansion draft and how that could change the dynamics of what he thought. It only takes one or two players, maybe, that they thought weren’t going to be exposed that are that could change what they do with all the teams as far as them picking up the players.”
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The NHL Awards are a chance to pause, once again, and reflect on how impressive a season some players had — from Conn Smythe-winning center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins to silky-smooth Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson to new-on-the-scene center Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s clear that 2016-17 was a great season for teams, especially for the Stanley Cup champion Penguins, but it was an equally great year for individuals on the ice and off it.
Datsyuk, 38, sustained a lower-body injury during Wednesday’s practice and left the ice. Russia needs to beat Finland in order to advance to the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey. If Finland wins, then Team North America, a team of 23-and-under players, will advance to the semifinals.
In Datsyuk’s absence, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has started all three games for Russia in this best-on-best tournament, will need to be on top of his game against Finland. He has stopped 70 of 75 shots so far.
Datsyuk took responsibility for the distraction this speculation has created and showed concern about the financial pinch his retirement from the wholesale NHL jerseys after this season might create for the team that drafted him.
Red Wings #13 Pavel Datsyuk Stitched White NHL Jersey
The expansion draft protected list was revealed Sunday and the Golden Knights have until 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday to submit their selections. Vegas must choose 30 players, one from each team, and take a minimum of 14 forwards, nine defensemen and three goalies from the unprotected lists.
Vadim Shipachev took Datsyuk’s place in the Russian roster for Thursday’s 3-0 win over Finland that allowed them to advance to the semifinals.
Three players rose above the rest in terms of their perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, the qualifications for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy: Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano and Carolina Hurricanes forward Derek Ryan.
For Anderson, it was a trying year that ended on a positive note. It started with his wife, Nicholle, being diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in October. He took two leaves of absence to be with her, then returned to help the Senators qualify for the playoffs and get within one win of the Final — just as Nicholle Anderson found out she was cancer free.
Cogliano a four-time finalist, owns the fourth-longest consecutive games streak in NHL history (786). He hasn’t missed a game since making his NHL debut in 2007.
The three-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward, Datsyuk left the Detroit Red Wings to return to Russia and his family after having played in 953 regular-season games for the NHL team.