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Wanna bet on who wins the Hart Trophy?

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Wanna bet on who wins the Hart Trophy?

If you believe the odds coming out of Las Vegas, where the NHL will stage its annual awards show from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino tonight [7 p.m. NBCSN], Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has the best chance of winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player.

If it happens he’ll become the first goalie to win the award since former Capitals netminder Jose Theodore did so with the Canadiens in 2002.  

But that’s not how I selected. As a long-time member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, I am given the annual privilege of voting for five of the NHL’s top player awards, along with my selections for post-season All-Star and All-Rookie teams. We are asked to provide five players, in order of preference, for each of the five individual awards.

For better or worse, here’s how I voted:

HART TROPHY [MVP]
Alex Ovechkin
Carey Price
John Tavares
Jamie Benn
Sidney Crosby
NORRIS TROPHY [Top Defenseman]
P.K. Subban
Ryan McDonagh
Erik Karlsson
Shea Weber
Ryan Suter
CALDER TROPHY [Top Rookie]
Aaron Ekblad
Johnny Gaudreau
Filip Forsberg
Jake Allen
Kevin Hayes
LADY BYNG TROPHY [Most Gentlemanly]
Nicklas Backstrom
Steven Stamkos
Rick Nash
Daniel Sedin
Patrice Bergeron
SELKE TROPHY [Top Two-way Forward]
Max Pacioretty
Nicklas Backstrom
Tyler Johnson
Derek Stepan
Jonathan Toews
NHL ALL-STAR TEAM
CENTER -- John Tavares, Nicklas Backstrom, Sidney Crosby
RIGHT WING -- Vladimir Tarasenko, Jakub Voracek, Nikita Kucherov
LEFT WING -- Alex Ovechkin, Rick Nash, Jamie Benn
DEFENSE -- P.K. Subban, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber, 
Ryan Suter, John Carlson.
GOALTENDER -- Carey Price, Braden Holtby, Pekka Rinne
NHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

FORWARD -- Johnny Gaudreau, Filip Forsberg, Kevin Hayes

DEFENSE -- Aaron Ekblad, John Klingberg
GOAL -- Jake Allen

As for the Vegas odds on all of the major awards, here you go, for entertainment purposes, of course:

Odds to win Hart Memorial Trophy    

Carey Price (MON)                     1/20     

Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)        5/1       

John Tavares (NYI)                    10/1     

Odds to win Vezina Trophy   

Carey Price (MON)                     1/100   

Pekka Rinne (NAS)                    13/2     

Devan Dubnyk (MIN)                 11/1     

Odds to win James Norris Memorial Trophy  

Erik Karlsson (OTT)                   1/4       

P K Subban (MON)                    11/4     

Drew Doughty (LA)                    6/1        

Odds to win Calder Memorial Trophy

Johnny Gaudreau (CAL) 1/2       

Aaron Ekblad (FLA)                   7/4       

Mark Stone (OTT)                      5/1       

Odds to win Lady Byng Memorial Trophy      

Anze Kopitar (LA)                      5/11     

Pavel Datsyuk (DET)                 12/5     

Jiri Hudler (CAL)                        4/1       

Odds to win Frank J. Selke Trophy    

Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             2/9       

Jonathan Toews (CHI)                7/2       

Anze Kopitar (LA)                      5/1       

Odds to win Jack Adams Award        

Bob Hartley (CAL)                     2/11     

Alain Vigneault (NYR)                4/1       

Peter Laviolette (NSH)               5/1       

Odds to win Ted Lindsay Award        

Carey Price (MON)                     2/7       

Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)        5/2       

Jamie Benn (DAL)                     6/1        

 

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How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

The Capitals look to rebound from an ugly loss with a road game against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. NBC Sports Washington). Washington has lost two games in a row and five of eight. The Predators beat the Capitals 6-3 on Dec. 31 at Capital One Arena and has won five in a row over against them.

Here is what to watch for in tonight’s game:  

1. Back to Holtby

After sustaining an eye injury in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby is expected to play against the Predators. The Capitals did not hold a morning skate on Tuesday after traveling following a 4-1 loss at home Monday to the St. Louis Blues. Holtby started last season’s game in Nashville, a 6-3 loss on Nov. 14, 2017 where he allowed four goals in the second period and was pulled from the game. But Holtby still leads the NHL in even-strength save percentage (.939) since Nov. 4 among goalies who have started at least 13 games and it could be time to get him more consistent work – even with backup Pheonix Copley playing well behind him. Holtby has had his rest. If he’s healthy, it might be time to let him carry the weight for a while. 

2. Another Chance for Burakovsky?

There’s constant talk now about the future of Andre Burakovsky, who returned to the lineup Monday after a two-game absence. Caps coach Todd Reirdan was clear about what Burakovsky had to do to stay in the lineup. We’ll see tonight if that happens. Playing on the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller, Burakovsky played just 10:46 against the Blues and was on the ice for a goal against. But he did have three shots on goal and seemed engaged. Burakovsky has been a healthy scratch in six of the past 16 games. 

3. No. 700 for Oshie

One night after defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 1000th career game, forward T.J. Oshie will reach a milestone of his own with game No. 700. Oshie has been kept off the score sheet the past two games, but had two goals in a Jan. 8 game against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

4. Powering Up

Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal in the loss to St. Louis on Monday might mean the Capitals are coming around in that area. A struggle for weeks, they at least now have two goals on the man advantage in the past four games. But they have slipped all the way to 14thin the NHL (21.2 percent) so there is work left to be done.

Monday’s game featured much better puck movement by the top unit.   

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

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How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

How Holtby’s return could help Capitals escape mid-season doldrums

The Capitals look to rebound from an ugly loss with a road game against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m. NBC Sports Washington). Washington has lost two games in a row and five of eight. The Predators beat the Capitals 6-3 on Dec. 31 at Capital One Arena and has won five in a row over against them. Here is what to watch for in tonight’s game:   

1. Back to Holtby

After sustaining an eye injury in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Braden Holtby is expected to play against the Predators. The Capitals did not hold a morning skate on Tuesday after traveling following a 4-1 loss at home Monday to the St. Louis Blues. Holtby started last season’s game in Nashville, a 6-3 loss on Nov. 14, 2017 where he allowed four goals in the second period and was pulled from the game. But Holtby still leads the NHL in even-strength save percentage (.939) since Nov. 4 among goalies who have started at least 13 games and it could be time to get him more consistent work – even with backup Pheonix Copley playing well behind him. Holtby has had his rest. If he’s healthy, it might be time to let him carry the weight for a while.  2.Another Chance for Burakovsky?There’s constant talk now about the future of Andre Burakovsky, who returned to the lineup Monday after a two-game absence. Caps coach Todd Reirdan was clear about what Burakovsky had to do to stay in the lineup. We’ll see tonight if that happens. Playing on the third line with Brett Connolly and Lars Eller, Burakovsky played just 10:46 against the Blues and was on the ice for a goal against. But he did have three shots on goal and seemed engaged. Burakovsky has been a healthy scratch in six of the past 16 games.  3. No. 700 for OshieOne night after defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 1000th career game, forward T.J. Oshie will reach a milestone of his own with game No. 700. Oshie has been kept off the score sheet the past two games, but had two goals in a Jan. 8 game against the Philadelphia Flyers.  4. Powering UpAlex Ovechkin’s power-play goal in the loss to St. Louis on Monday might mean the Capitals are coming around in that area. A struggle for weeks, they at least now have two goals on the man advantage in the past four games. But they have slipped all the way to 14thin the NHL (21.2 percent) so there is work left to be done. Monday’s game featured much better puck movement by the top unit.    

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: