NHL Notebook: Connor Hellebuyk, Ilya Sorokin and Linus Ullmark named Vezina finalists; NHLPA upset over Hockey Canada screening

Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
9 months ago
Finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top netminder were named on Thursday night, and there were no surprises.
One of the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck, New York Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin or the Boston Bruins’ Linus Ullmark will walk away with the trophy all doing more than enough to earn the title. Last year, it was New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin who took home the title.
Here’s what Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis wrote about the trio:
Hellebuyck is a three-time finalist of the award, losing out to Pekka Rinne in 2018 before winning it in 2020. Hellebuyck was a big reason why the Jets qualified for the playoffs, posting a 37-25-2 record with a .920 save percentage and four shutouts. Hellebuyck has one year left on his six-year deal worth $6.16 million.
Sorokin has never been a finalist, but had a 31-22-7 record with a .924 save percentage with the Islanders this season. He led the league with six shutouts to help the Islanders clinch the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Sorokin could become just the second goaltender in Islanders history to win the Vezina Trophy, with Billy Smith (1982) being the only other to do so.
Ullmark had the best season statistically, recording a 40-6-1 record through 49 games. Together with Jeremy Swayman, the pair won the Williams M. Jennings Trophy while allowing the fewest regular season goals. The Bruins had 65 wins and 135 points this year, the most in a single NHL season. Pete Peeters (1983), Tim Thomas (2009 and 2011) and Tuukka Rask (2014) have won the Vezina while with the Bruins.

NHLPA upset over Hockey Canada player screening

The NHL Player’s Association has reportedly taken issue with Hockey Canada in relation to screening measures the organization put in place ahead of the men’s World Hockey Championships.
In a memo obtained by The Athletic, the NHLPA raised concerns about the fact that players were subjected to criminal record checks, as well as a social media screening ahead of the tournament taking place in Latvia and Finland. No players opted-out.
“The screening process is extremely broad and includes the required disclosure of anything that could negatively impact Hockey Canada’s reputation,” the memo obtained by The Athletic said. “We asked Hockey Canada to clarify how players were to respond to this question, but they were unable to provide any useful guidance.”
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis added about the screening:
TSN’s Rick Westhead detailed the new screening measures ahead of the 2023 World Junior Championship, which includes questions about whether players have been previously disciplined, among other things.
The move comes in the wake of the scandal involving 2018 World Junior Championship team members that has been linked to sexual assault allegations. Hockey Canada has been under fire for handling the allegations, with the organization and the London, Ont. police reopening their investigations. A woman alleged she was assaulted by eight team members during a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in 2018.
Many of Hockey Canada’s biggest sponsors, including Tim Hortons and Canadian Tire, have either adjusted how they advertise with the company, or pulled funding altogether.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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