Stevie Y among award finalists

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:48 PM ET

Steve Yzerman, in his first year on the job as Tampa Bay Lightning general manager, headlined the finalists for NHL executive of the year, announced Wednesday.

Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks, the league's top team during the regular season, and David Poile of the Nashville Predators, whose team has been in the playoffs six of the past seven seasons, were the other finalists.

The winner will be announced June 22 at the NHL awards in Las Vegas.

Yzerman, a Hall of Fame player who won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings including one as management, was hired by the Lightning last year and presided over a team that improved 23 points over 2009-10.

Among his moves, Yzerman hired coach Guy Boucher, and added defenceman Pavel Kubina and Eric Brewer, forward Simon Gagne and goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Gillis' Canucks had a franchise-record 117 points this season while allowing a league-low 185 goals.

Poile oversaw a Nashville team that boasts more than half of a lineup that was drafted and developed by the organization, including defencemen Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Cody Franson and Kevin Klein.

Voting was conducted by the league's 30 GMs and a panel of NHL executives, print and broadcast media.

Modo hires Forsberg

Peter Forsberg is set to rejoin Swedish Elite League club Modo as assistant general manager.

Forsberg, who quit playing after an abortive NHL comeback attempt in February, will work with general manager Marcus Naslund.

Forsberg will work as a scout and adviser.

"It'll be fun, together with Marcus and the team, to build the Modo of the future," Forsberg said.

The Swedish forward, who played for Modo last season, is a former NHL MVP who won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche and Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006.

Forsberg had 249 goals and 606 assists during a 12-season NHL career with Quebec, Colorado, Philadelphia and Nashville.

Damphousse's wife charged

Allana Henderson, the estranged wife of former NHLer Vincent Damphousse, appeared in court Wednesday and was formally charged with assault with a weapon and theft.

Henderson, 40, was granted bail and brushed past reporters on her way out of the downtown courthouse.

Damphousse's criminal complaint alleges he was threatened with a weapon and that one of his suitcases was stolen.

The squabbling spouses have filed charges against each other in an alleged series of domestic incidents dating back to 2008.

The dispute became public last week when Damphousse, 43, was charged with six counts of assault for various alleged confrontations. He and Henderson are both scheduled to return to court July 12.

Predators respond

Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray's suggestion that the Nashville Predators were diving to draw penalties drew a tongue-in-cheek response from Preds assistant coach Brent Peterson Wednesday.

"We use one rink to practice five-on-five," Peterson told The Tennessean. "We go to another rink to practice the power play. Then we go to the pool to practice diving."

Well said, even though the Predators did, in fact, practice at a different rink Tuesday. The move was necessary because Bridgestone Arena was being prepared for a Lady Gaga concert.

For what it's worth, Preds coach Barry Trotz offered his two cents on the accusation that his team was diving but it wasn't nearly as funny as Peterson's take.

"I think it's more disrespectful to the players that are playing and the league," Trotz said. "Other than that, I don't have any comment."

Niemi back in?

San Jose Sharks goalie Antero Niittymaki got the win but Antti Niemi might get the second chance.

Niemi, pulled after allowing four goals on 10 shots in Game 3 of the first-round series with the Los Angeles Kings, could be back in goal when the set resumes Thursday at the Staples Center.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday on NHL.com that he is "leaning towards" starting Niemi, not Game 3 winner Niittymaki, in Game 4.

"When you look at Nemo's record when we pulled him (during regular-season play), which wasn't very often, he responded very well," McLellan said. "If we go that route, which I think we're leaning towards, we expect him to be very good."

Even Niittymaki, who stopped 11 of 12 shots as the Sharks came back to win 6-5 in overtime Tuesday, believes Niemi will get the start.

"I think Nemo's going to be the goalie," Niittymaki said.

Quick hits

The Vancouver Canucks signed Swedish defenceman Sebastien Erixon Wednesday. The 21-year-old, who played for Sweden at the world junior tournament, had five goals and 15 assists in 44 games with Timra IK ... The Minnesota Wild signed Minnesota-Duluth winger Justin Fontaine to a two-year, entry-level contract. The 22-year-old had 22 goals and 36 assists in 42 games this season.


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