NHL notes: Islanders' Tavares has Hart
|Islanders' John Tavares celebrates his goal against the Penguins during playoff action in Uniondale, N.Y., May 7, 2013. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
John Tavares of the New York Islanders has been considered an exceptional player since his early teenage years.
From being allowed to enter the OHL a year early to being picked first overall in the 2009 draft, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., has long been considered a special player.
Another accolade was added Friday to Tavares' growing hockey resume: Hart Trophy finalist. Tavares joined two other previous teen phenoms, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, as the nominees for the NHL's MVP.
"It's a tremendous honour for me," Tavares told ESPN. "Growing up, I always wanted to play in the NHL. A lot of people I looked up to and idolized were Hart Trophy nominees and some of the best players to ever play the game. It's special and there's a lot of people that helped me on my path to get here today. It truly is special, and a great honour, and very humbling to be recognized with those two great players."
In his fourth NHL season, Tavares led the Islanders with 28 goals and 19 assists in 48 games. He also helped the Isles make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
GETZLAF COMPLAINS OF EAST COAST BIAS
Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf wasn't the least bit surprised the three finalists for the Hart Trophy all play in the Eastern Conference.
And he had an answer why: Reporters who vote on the finalists for the NHL MVP award are all asleep when the western teams play their games.
"The only time the media in the East sees anyone in the West is when we play them," Getzlaf told ESPN.com. "You're not going to see our games, the media, staying up to 1 or 2 in the morning to watch. We were pretty well aware that it was going to be all East this year. That's just the way it is."
And Getzlaf's teammates aren't happy about the perceived snub of the Left Coast's best players, including Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
"Obviously, we're always going to get screwed," Ducks winger Teemu Selanne said. "I was very happy to see Corey (Perry) won that one year. We are not the hockey market."
The last seven times the Hart has been awarded, players from the Eastern Conference have won four times, those from the West three. But this season, shortened due to the NHL lockout, teams played only within their conference, which might have affected the visibility of some players.
SAKIC GETS PROMOTION
The Colorado Avalanche once counted on Joe Sakic to make the right decisions on the ice.
Now the Avs will ask the Hall of Famer to do the same thing off the ice.
Sakic was promoted to vice president of hockey operations by the Avalanche Friday, taking over many of the duties performed by general manager Greg Sherman, who will remain in that role. Josh Kroenke, the son of owner Stan Kroenke, replaced Pierre Lacroix as team president but will stay on as an adviser.
"Joe will be in charge of all hockey-related decisions moving forward," Stan Kroenke said in a release. "With his credentials, presence and knowledge of the game, Joe will be a key ingredient in making sure that together we reach our future goals.
"Greg Sherman will work with Joe in managing the day-to-day business operations of the team as general manager. I know he is just as optimistic as Joe and I are about the future of our team."
Sakic's first order of business will be to find a replacement for fired coach Joe Sacco. The Avalanche will also pick first overall in next month's NHL draft.