One of the most memorable moments of the 2018 NHL Awards involved Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant, general manager George McPhee and players Deryk Engelland and William Karlsson greeting Oct. 1 shooting first responders and survivors onstage.
The league took note of that, which is why it’s moving the show to the site of the tragedy. The Mandalay Bay Events Center will host the ceremony June 19th for its 10th year in Las Vegas.
“We saw what the Vegas Golden Knights meant to this community and after the tragic events of October 1, how they helped this city recover and that was something we took note of,” said Steve Mayer, the NHL’s chief content officer. “We’re really interested in showing our fans how the NHL and our sport is so meaningful in all communities.”
The change in venue will allow more fans to attend. The Mandalay Bay Events Center has a listed capacity of 12,000. Last year’s venue — The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino — holds 4,000. Tickets are available Thursday and can be purchased at NHL.com/AwardsTickets.
Locals will have the opportunity to see the Knights pick up hardware for the second straight year after Gallant (Jack Adams Award for best coach), McPhee (General Manager of the Year), Engelland (Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award) and Karlsson (Lady Byng Trophy for most gentlemanly player) each won trophies in 2018. The NHL will begin announcing awards finalists Wednesday.
Forward Mark Stone will learn Wednesday whether he is a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the best defensive forward. Stone, who joined the Knights via trade in February, has a strong case after leading the NHL in takeaways with 122.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury finds out Saturday whether he is a Vezina Trophy (best goaltender) finalist for the first time. He finished second in shutouts (eight) and made his fourth All-Star appearance, but his save percentage (.913) was tied for 24th-best among goaltenders with 10 starts or more.
That casts some doubt as to whether he’ll make it up to the Mandalay Bay Events Center stage in June.
”I think we saw last year the fans here in Vegas were just so excited for hockey, for the NHL,” Mayer said. “We’re opening up the show to a bigger venue. More people, bigger set, bigger stage. We’re really looking forward to this year’s show.”
Engelland stays fresh
Engelland’s workload has increased during the playoffs, but so far the 37-year-old feels fine.
The defenseman averaged 21:13 of ice time through the first three games of his team’s first-round playoff series with the Sharks, up from 19:53 in the regular season. That’s mostly because of the Knights’ numerous penalties as Engelland, one of the team’s main penalty killers, played 18:01 shorthanded through three games.
“If you’re killing, you’re not really skating a whole lot,” Engelland said. “Our forwards have been doing a good job getting down-ice pressure and giving us a chance to get a little breather. You’re not chasing around too much. It’s not as taxing as you would expect.”
The NHL announced Tuesday Game 5 between the Knights and Sharks is set for 7 p.m. Thursday.
NHL award finalist announcements
*Wednesday: Selke Trophy (best defensive forward)
*Thursday: Lady Byng Trophy (most gentlemanly player)
*Friday: Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey)
*Saturday: Vezina Trophy (best goaltender)
*Sunday: Norris Trophy (best defenseman)
*Monday: Mark Messier Leadership Award
*Tuesday: King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Humanitarian Award)
*April 24: Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award
*April 25: Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted on by the players)
*April 26: Jack Adams Award (best coach)
*April 27: Calder Trophy (best rookie)
*April 28: Hart Trophy (MVP)