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Kesler, Datsuyk, Staal Named Selke Nominees

The NHL continues to announce the nominations for this year's NHL awards, to be held June 23rd in Las Vegas. Today, the league announced that Ryan Kesler, Pavel Datsuyk, and Jordan Staal will be up for the Selke Trophy in 2010. Datsuyk will look to win his 3rd Selke in a row, having won it the last two years. Datsuyk led the league in takeaways in 2009-10 with 132, and held a -17 ratings, along with his 27 goals and 70 points. He is the leading goalscorer scorer amongst the three nominees, even though it was an off-seaosn by Datsuyk standards. Kesler, who came in second place to Datsuyk in 2009, has 25 goals and 75 points in all 82 games this season, a career year. Although on...

Vezina Candidates Named

The National Hockey League has announced the candidates for the 2009-10 Vezina trophy, which will be handed out in late June in Las Vegas. Not surprisingly, Ryan Miller, who led the Buffalo Sabres to a Northeast Division championship, is among the candidates. He has a career-high 41 wins (18 losses, 8 overtime losses) in 69 games, posting a .929 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. He was also named MVP of this year's Olympic Hockey tournament in Vancouver, leading the US team to a silver medal. Joining him is Ilya Bryzgalov, a first time nominee who has been cited for the Phoenix Coyotes success and re-emergence this season. Leading the Coyotes to their first playof...

Upsets-A-Plenty & A Word On Alex Tanguay

Interestingly, every team I picked to win their series lost their opening game last night, including the San Jose Sharks. I'm not sure why I would even bet on the Sharks to win any playoff series at this point. They played flat and uninspired; typical of their recent playoff performances. Joe Thornton was once again nowhere to be found on the scoresheet when it mattered. Sure, he won the gold with Canada, but had only 2 assists in the whole tournament. Expect more of the same from No-Show Joe. Pens vs Sens A less-than-stellar performance by MA Fleury propelled the gritty Sens to a 1-0 series lead last night. Not to take anything away from the Sens who dominated the Pens at ...

TCL Staff Predictions: Western Conference!

As promised in this morning's Eastern Conference Predictions, the first round of the playoffs in the West is next on our list. The west is very interesting this year. Four series that we don't see very often, if at all, including several teams who are new to the playoff scene. While the powerhouses in San Jose and Detroit are present, and cup favorites Vancouver and Chicago are also there, some of these series could definitely go either way. So, once again, here are the predictions for the first round in the Western Conference, from 10 TCL writers from all corners of the NHL, as well as TCL's Mascot, Checkers the Cat!

SERIES 5: San Jose Sha...

TCL Staff Predictions: Eastern Conference!

As promised, The Checking Line will have extensive coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs. From Scott Lowe covering the Caps to Phil Y and James Edington on the case for the Canucks, as many other writers to fill the gaps, you can be certain that the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs will be the top subject here at TCL. As part of this coverage, we have polled 10 of our writers in order to come to a consensus on which teams will win their respective series. Knowing that some of these results would be biased, based on team affiliations, we recruited Checkers, The Checking Line Cat in order to remove these biases and make choices that would not be based on team affiliation, or, frankly, any knowl...

2009-10 Playoffs Schedule Announced

With the 2009-2010 NHL regular season coming to a close, it is time to look ahead to the playoffs. Plenty remained at stake on the final day, notably between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. The stakes were simple, win and you're in. And the Flyers did just that in dramatic fashion. The game ended up going to a shootout with Philadelphia prevailed. The win jumped the Flyers into 7th overall while Montreal fell to 8th. As a result, Montreal has the daunting task of facing the President's Trophy winners, Washington Capitals. The Flyers will face New Jersey while Buffalo will take on Boston and Ottawa meets Pittsburgh. Out West all 8 playoff teams were known, just not the ma...

Bill Masterton Nominees

It's that time of the year again, and a lot of people begin to make their predictions over who will win which awards when the NHL holds its yearly award ceremony in Las Vegas in June. While we'll have ample time to discuss the winners of the Hart, Selke and Vezina trophy, among others, but today, we'll look at the nominees for the Bill Masterton trophy. Selected by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, ''The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey.'' You'll normally find the feel good story of the year as the recipient of this ...

A New Ruling

The National Hockey League and NHL Players Association have been approved the new head shot rule. The new rule was put into effect immediately and will be enforced starting with tonight's games. This rule has been fast tracked since the Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard that knocked the top centre for the Boston Bruins out for the season. This rule is a bandaid situation for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. More discussions will be held this summer regarding the penalty for these blindside head shots. Right now, no on-ice penalty will be assessed but a player that violates this rule will be subject to supplemental discipline. Now we need Colin Campbell to do what he hasn...

Thank You Notes

It's the end of the week, which means it's time for me to hand out another batch of thank you's. This week was harder than usual, but I still found it in myself to give out some thanks, even if they're undeserved. So here we go: Thank You...Brian Burke for trading away the Leafs' first round pick this year so that that the Leafs annual late season surge would actually be in the best interest of the team. Thank You...Bruce Boudreau for clearing up the confusion among fans of whether or not Ovechkin or the boards was to blame for Brian Campbell's injury. Thank You...Vesa Toskala, for finally realizing that your save percentage should be higher than your goals against average. ...