It will be Viva Las Vegas for Erik Karlsson.
The Ottawa Senators defenceman was named Thursday as one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top blueliner, joining Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators as nominees for the award.
"I'm very proud. It's a big honour to be named for that (award), especially with the guys that are there," Karlsson said. "It's been a good year and I'm nothing more than happy.
"It feels good to accomplish something. As I said, I'm just proud to be up there and it's not something that I counted on going into the season."
This is the first time Karlsson has been nominated in voting done by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Neither Karlsson or Weber has won the award while Chara took it home once, in 2008-09, and has been nominated five times. Weber was nominated for the award for the first time last year.
Karlsson said he didn't think this would be a special year. The 21-year-old had 19 goals and 78 points to lead all defencemen in scoring this season.
"I never imagined that it would happen," Karlsson said. "We've done a good job this year playing some good hockey and some guys have had outstanding years. I've just been able to help contribute."
The winner will be named at the NHL awards ceremony June 20 in Las Vegas.
ORPIK: NO DELAY
Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik, the team's union rep, doesn't expect a work stoppage before the 2012-13 season.
Orpik says he's confident a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its players -- the current deal expires in September -- can be agreed to without the players going on strike or being locked out.
"I think there's been more communication between the two sides than people are aware of," Orpik told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think both sides are pretty optimistic something will get done. I think there's too much to lose after the last one we had to have another work stoppage. I'm sure we'll get a little more intense in the next couple months."
The entire 2004-05 season was lost when the NHL locked out the players after the previous contract expired in 2004. The NHL has had three work stoppages in its history, all between 1992 and 2005.
"(I hope) we can get something done very quickly and we can continue to play," Penguins forward Steve Sullivan said. "We made a lot of concessions in (2005). I think they got everything they wanted -- a 24% roll-back (in salaries), a hard cap. I don't know what else they're going to ask for this time."
WE'RE NO. 5!
If this isn't another reason to hold another Canadian hockey summit, what is?
Canada has dropped to fifth in the world rankings just ahead of the world championship tournament in Helsinki, Finland. That's a drop of four spots since the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where Canada won gold.
The defending world champs, Finland, sits at No. 1, followed by Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic. And if it's any consolation, the United States is ranked sixth, just ahead of Switzerland.
Hockey Canada added San Jose Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic to the roster for the worlds, which open May 4. Canada will play Slovakia in its opener.
The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Nick Drazenovic to a one-year, two-way contract. Drazenovic, 25, had 13 goals and 28 assists in 41 games with Springfield of the AHL ... Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Nicklas Grossman practiced fully Thursday and will likely be available to play in the opening game of the second-round series. Grossman has been out with a concussion.