With the Los Angeles Kings up 3-0 in their Stanley Cup Finals series with the New Jersey Devils, the sun is very quickly setting on the NHL's 2011-2012 Season and other than those belonging to the Cup winners, all eyes will officially be on 2012-2013.
As you likely know - and given that you're reading a hockey blog in the middle of June, I'll assume you do - there are three marquee events rapidly approaching. Three events with varying degrees of importance, depending on who you root for.
The NHL Awards Ceremony is in just two weeks, June 20th, in Nevada. Steven Stamkos has made this rather important for us Tampa Bay Lightning fans, hasn't he? Turns out it's probably even more important to you if you like Vince Vaughn.
Starting just two short days later is the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. And just about a week after that wraps up, we dive into NHL Free Agency on July 1st. I don't have to tell you how important those are to the Bolts.
Your Lightning Links:
Lightning Owner Jeff Vinik donated $5M to a Boston Area independent day school to help provide faculty bonuses and other things. What a stud.
Here's a chart showing what we all know: Eric Brewer and Victor Hedman were in over their heads last season.
The rest of your Bolts links, as well as links from around the league after the break.
- It sounds like General Manager Steve Yzerman has made up his mind that he is indeed going to try and trade those 3409870 draft picks for a goalie as opposed to trying to get the right guy through the draft or free agency. Shock value: 0. As is standard, he didn't rule out grabbing a free agent, however.
- You may have heard, but the Norfolk Admirals are pretty good. Helping that is the fact that no one can shutdown Cory Conacher.
- As if Ryan Malone wasn't awesome enough, he's one of many playing in a charity game benefiting Defending the Blue Line, and organization that raises money for military families.
- And finally, here's a first-hand account of the agony injured players go through when their team is playing for the championship.
Links from around the NHL:
- May 31st marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg. Here's a look at what that was like for a Thrashers blogger.
- Here's some great news: Hockey participation is up in the United States. In fact, it's at an all-time high. How about them apples, Mr. Cherry?
- This is pretty much awesome: Dominic Moore is hosting a ping-pong tournament. What I would give to be at that thing.
- And then there's some pretty terrible news regarding Moore. His wife has been diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Moore family.
- Some thoughts and commentary, including some remarks from Brendan Shanahan on his first year in charge of supplemental discipline. He'll never please everyone, so it's a good thing he seems to realize that.
- This is troubling. Perhaps the Phoenix Coyotes don't have everything in order to sell the team?
- As has been mentioned several times, Willie Mitchell is embracing this trip the Cup for all it's worth. And for good reason. Here's his first person account of his battle with concussions. Pretty intense stuff, but it's incredibly good to see a player come out and say he doesn't want another player to ever have to go through it. Good on him.
- Even more good news on the hockey injury front: Paralyzed high school player Jack Jablonski is really making some strides in his recovery. Keep going, Jack.
- And finally, a scouting report on the draft's top goaltending prospects.