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P.K. Subban, Kris Letang, Ryan Suter named 2013 Norris Trophy finalists

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Ryan Suter

After proving he’s a bona fide workhorse No. 1, Ryan Suter will be tough to beat. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

This morning, the NHL announced the three finalists for this year’s Norris Trophy, given annually to “the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position,” as chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. And not one of them was named Lidstrom, Chara or Weber.

In fact, all three of this year’s nominees — Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, Montreal’s P.K. Subban and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter — are first-timers. A signal of a changing of the guard among the league’s elite blueliners? That’s never a bad thing. All three deserve the recognition.

So, who’s going to win it?

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  • Published On May 07, 2013
  • Top Line: Gary Bettman on Oprah? Yes, Please!; more links

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    Gary Bettman

    Is the Commissioner keeping things from us that we’d like to know? (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

     A simple yes or no question. The great Scott Feschuk imagines a world where the commish channels his inner Lance Armstrong and fesses up on Oprah’s couch. Also, free puppies!

     Something old, something new. True fact. More Minnesotans kept warm during the lockout by wearing a Wild sweater – Zach Parise or Ryan Suter – than by burning an effigy of Bettman. The Wild faithful finally get to see their pricey free agents don the togs tonight, along with rookies Mikael Granlund and Mat Dumba.

     Wishful thinking. The Sens start the season with three goalies and the belief that Ben Bishop could net a top-four defender in trade. Yeah, for a 26-year-old with a 7-8-3 career record.

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  • Published On Jan 19, 2013
  • NHL season will be worth the wait

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    Flyers fans

    Hockey starved Flyers fans get to open the season by welcoming the hated Penguins. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Yeah, I heard you last September. “Wake me up when the lockout’s over,” you said.

    No one’s blaming you for nodding off while the finger-pointing, name calling, line-in-the-sand-drawing lawyers cost us nearly four months of NHL hockey. In fact, I got a little blurry myself listening to all that talk about  cap escalators and salary variance and rose ceremonies, but here I am with that call you’ve been waiting for. Time to rub the sleep out of your eyes, pull the team sweater out of mothballs, settle into that lucky couch groove and pop the top on your favorite frosty beverage. (And while you’re waiting for the first puck ro drop, some suggested reading..)

    The abbreviated 2013 NHL season finally begins Saturday afternoon. And it’s gonna be a good one. (Kings raise banner in style.)

    Make that really good. The 48-games-in-99-days, intra-conference schedule isn’t just “better than nothing.” This impossibly compressed timeline actually magnifies the importance of every moment, every slump, every streak, every injury. With so much on the line and no margin for error, it even makes an Islanders game worth watching. On a Tuesday. In February.

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  • Published On Jan 18, 2013
  • Player anger, plea to save the Classic, more green spilled, and PK’s forecast

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    PK Subban

    The NHL forecast calls for more stalemate, lost revenue, no Winter Classic, and scrambling for side jobs. Loquacious Canadiens blueliner PK Subban may have found his calling. (Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    It’s the end of October and the owners’ locks remain on the doors of all NHL facilities. The most interesting news from the battlefront so far this week is that NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr traveled to Minnesota on Tuesday to meet with players and review the stalemated CBA negotiations.

    Reading some of the coverage of Fehr’s visit, like this story from Bruce Brothers of The St. Paul Pioneer-Press, it’s obvious that some of the players are angry, or at least bordering on it. And, as Michael Russo of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote, some players are concerned about the long-term impact that the lockout will have on their careers. Those reactions are realities of the situation, but they don’t seem to have appreciably dented the union’s resolve.

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  • Published On Oct 31, 2012
  • How much blame do NHL owners deserve for their economic woes?

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    Until last season’s playoff run, their first berth since 2000, the Panthers were a mediocre to poor club and tough box office sell, factors that have nothing to do with the NHL’s expired CBA. (Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    On Monday, we looked at Jimmy Devellano’s strange remarks about NHL players, who he suggested are viewed by ownership as “cattle.” How many owners actually feel that way might be in question, but another of his remarks might be a more accurate representation of this group’s sentiment as the lockout continues. “The owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around,” Jimmy D. said. “It’s not going to happen.”

    And, apparently, they are going to assert themselves even if it means losing another entire season — or maybe even two, or however long it takes until they can get the players to yield. When former Florida Panthers executive Stu Siegel writes in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated that he’s “depressed” to see another work stoppage and notes “there’s plenty of blame to go around,” you have to take into consideration that the owners’ intransigence is a big component.

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  • Published On Sep 25, 2012
  • Shea Weber’s offer sheet puts Predators at the crossroads

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    It’s been a cruel summer in Nashville, where captain Shea Weber (left) may soon follow his former All-Star defense partner Ryan Suter out of town and leave the once-promising Predators in a shambles. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    There have been a few huge bombshells dropped during this offseason and two of the biggest have fallen on Nashville. The Flyers signing restricted free agent defenseman Shea Weber late Wednesday to a mammoth 14-year offer sheet worth a reported $110 million comes two weeks after Ryan Suter, Weber’s partner in the NHL’s best defensive tandem, signed a 13-year, $98 million deal with Minnesota as an unrestricted free agent. Thanks to the Flyers’ offer sheet, a Predators team aiming to join the ranks of the NHL’s best is now at a crossroads.

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  • Published On Jul 19, 2012
  • Red Wings facing a new world

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    After losing out to the Wild in the free agent sweepstakes, the aging Red Wings may be forced to fill holes by relying on younger players, such as blueliner Brendan Smith, next season. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    When free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter surprisingly signed with Minnesota last week, Al Muir wrote on SI.com how the two stars suddenly made the Wild relevant. I noted the ramifications for their former clubs, the Devils and Predators respectively. But the duo’s decision had a huge impact on another franchise:  the Detroit Red Wings.

    Of the teams in the hunt for the two premier free agents, the Wings were considered their most likely destination and may have been most adversely affected by failing to land even one. The Flyers, Penguins and Blackhawks were in the running, but they all still have good young cores of talent, including some of the NHL’s top superstars. You can’t say that about the Red Wings’ roster now, as talented as it may be. With the exception of goalie Jimmy Howard and forward Valtteri Filppula, Detroit’s best players are all over 30 years old and the team lost its top defenseman, future Hall of Famer Nick Lidstrom, to retirement. Injecting a pair of elite 27-year-olds like Parise and Suter into the lineup would have mattered greatly.

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  • Published On Jul 09, 2012
  • Suter, Parise signings will echo

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    It’s ironic that the Predators lost Ryan Suter and may be unable to keep his star defense partner Shea Weber (right) at a time when tight finances are no longer a big issue for the franchise. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The earth didn’t exactly shake and the sun didn’t rise in the West, but something pretty unusual has transpired since the opening of free agency on July 1. None of the NHL’s high profile, high revenue clubs made off with the best players available.

    We’d all become conditioned to the big clubs getting the big names. The list always begins with hockey’s premier franchises — the Original Six, plus the Penguins, Flyers, Canucks, Sharks, Stars and maybe one or two others. As Billie Holiday wrote and sang long ago, “Them that’s got shall get, Them that’s not shall lose,” a colloquial way of saying the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s pretty much true in life and that’s how we expect it to go down in the NHL, too.

    But here are Zach Parise and Ryan Suter dressed not in the sweaters of the Penguins or Red Wings or Blackhawks, but the Minnesota Wild! Add the Oilers’ signing of college defenseman Justin Schultz, a Western Canadian product hotly pursued by numerous NHL clubs once his draft rights with Anaheim expired. And, on Wednesday night, the Lightning joined the party by inking former Flyer Matt Carle who, right after Suter, was in the next tier of ardently sought d-men with Schultz and Jason Garrison.

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  • Published On Jul 05, 2012
  • NHL Free Agency: Who needs what – Western Conference

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    Where free agent defenseman Ryan Suter goes is anyone’s guess, but the Predators will do all they can to keep him. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The gun goes off at noon on Sunday for the start of NHL Free Agency and we’ll be here that morning to begin our live blog of the day’s action. Considering the high volume of rumors and conjecture this year, it could be one of the wilder July 1′s for hockey in a while.

    So here’s a quick look at what spots each team is seeking to fill going into the offseason, some of which they’ll try to address on the open market. Below are the Western Conference teams.  The Eastern Conference teams can be found here. To see the players who are available in free agency, go to TSN.ca.

    DUCKS They have lots of cap space, but lots of needs: improve their defense corps, their secondary scoring and their depth forwards. With Teemu Selanne still undeclared for next season, the Ducks have only Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan and Saku Koivu under contract for next season when it comes to productive forwards, and not much beyond them. And they’re contemplating dealing Ryan. There’s talk they’d like a second line center, a move that would bump the aging Koivu down to the third line, although Teemu (if he returns) likes playing with Saku. But it’s on D that Anaheim really needs help, and a first-rate shutdown defenseman should be high on their list.

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  • Published On Jun 29, 2012
  • Free agency, trade rumors heating up

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    Former Team USA mates Zach Parise of the Devils and Ryan Suter of the Predators (seen here in 2009), are said to be hoping they both sign with the same club in July. (John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Stu Hackel

    The NHL season is over, yes, but the news doesn’t stop, especially when it comes to potential player movement. The message boards and hockey gossip websites will be buzzing, many filled with unfounded rumors, wishful thinking and just plain distortions. Sometimes, a factual report sneaks through.

    So here’s an early offseason roundup of what is known — maybe — about who could be changing addresses next season.

    The first post-Cup deal went down on Friday, with the Predators shipping to Tampa Bay the goalie the Lightning hope will provide an upgrade in Anders Lindback.

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  • Published On Jun 15, 2012


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