Chara finishes third in Norris Trophy voting


Chara finishes third in Norris Trophy voting

LAS VEGAS, NV Zdeno Chara had, by some accounts, a career statistical year in terms of offensive production and plusminus, but it wasnt enough to carry him to his second Norris Trophy.
Instead Ottawa Senators youngster Erik Karlsson became the youngest defenseman to capture the Norris Trophy since a 20-year-old Bobby Orr took home the best defensemen honors in 1968. The Swedish defenseman edged out Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber by 12 votes in an incredibly close race, and Chara finished a distant third with fewer than half of the number of first place votes (32-to-66) earned by Karlsson.
The argument against Karlsson included his very limited amount of ice time on the penalty kill and his lack of defensive grit given the demands of his position, but it proved impossible to ignore the 78-point season enjoyed by the Sens defenseman in 81 games last season.
Chara and Weber are the kind of players that have been around a long time and theyve been here before, said Karlsson. Theyve been good for a number of years and they both had terrific seasons. I dont think I even have an understanding of what it takes to be great for that long.
They are great. I have a whole lot of respect for them as hockey players. They do it and they do it every night. They are game-changers both of them.
Karlsson finished with 1,069 votes, Weber finished with 1,057 votes and Chara wrapped it up with 950 votes in third place.

Bruins will play Blackhawks in 2019 NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame


Bruins will play Blackhawks in 2019 NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame

The Bruins will once again be taking things outdoors and participating in their third Winter Classic in franchise history, but for the first time they won’t be hosting the NHL’s centerpiece event. The B’s announced on Saturday afternoon that they’ll be facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic that will be played at iconic Notre Dame Stadium. Both the Bruins and Blackhawks aren’t exactly strangers to the outdoor showcase, and per usual the Black and Gold are happy to be part of a big deal event for the league.

“The Boston Bruins are excited to be playing in the 2019 Bridgestone Winter Classic against another storied Original Six franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Bruins President Cam Neely, in a press release. “The rich history of Notre Dame Stadium is well documented, and our team looks forward to playing at such an iconic venue. We hope that by participating in these large scale and unique NHL events we can bring Bruins fans new hockey experiences, and that we can use these opportunities to help grow our great game and attract new fans.”

There will be some natural storylines for the game including the rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final participants, and a return to Notre Dame for Fighting Irish forward Anders Bjork after playing three seasons in South Bend. The Bruins/Blackhawks Winter Classic matchup was first reported by Barstool Sports almost two weeks ago, but it wasn’t until Saturday that any of the officials involved were ready to confirm the game.

The Bruins will be in their third Winter Classic after hosting the Jan. 1 outdoor game at Fenway Park in 2010 in an overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and at Gillette Stadium in 2016 in a blowout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.  It is a league-most fourth Winter Classic appearance for the Blackhawks, who hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in 2009, took on the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park in 2015, and most recently played the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium in 2017.

Morning Skate: Golden Knights happy to get Malcolm Subban back


Morning Skate: Golden Knights happy to get Malcolm Subban back

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while watching old Super Friends episodes with my 4-year-old on a Saturday morning.

*Has anybody ever been as excited to get a healthy Malcolm Subban back in the lineup as the Vegas Golden Knights are this weekend? Pro Hockey Talk is asking the question, and I think I can honestly answer with a resounding “No.” We’ll see if he’s actually worth all the excitement, but obviously, he’s better than what the injury-plagued Golden Knights had in the interim.

*The Buffalo Sabres continue to get very little return for any of the investments they’ve made in the team over the last couple of years.

*Ryan Suter knows what it takes to remain among the NHL defenseman workhorses in the NHL, and he is consistently there year in and year out.

*Dustin Brown has been a resurgent performer for the Los Angeles Kings this season and is one of the big storylines behind their turnaround.

*The Detroit Red Wings are beginning to more openly adopt Jeff Blashill’s speed game, but the question is how much that will pay dividends for them.

*For something completely different: Good piece in the Boston Globe about Danny Ainge’s relationship with recently passed Red Sox great Bobby Doerr.