The season is continuing for seven members of the Tampa Bay Lightning as they will be playing for their respective countries at the World Championships in Slovakia.
The World Championships are held every year during May in Europe but are always overshadowed here in the states by the Stanley Cup playoffs. The World Championship are a big deal to the European hockey community and in Canada where it ranks right up there with the Olympics in importance in international competition.
Anthony Cirelli and Matthieu Joseph will play for Canada, Ondrej Palat for the Czech Republic, Eric Cernak will play for the host country Slovakia, and Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev, and Andrei Vasilevskiy will play for Russia.
The championships will begin on May 10th and conclude on May 21st with the gold medal game.
In other Lightning news, three members of the Lightning have been nominated for postseason awards and one Lightning player has already won a postseason award.
Nikita Kucherov has been nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy given to the Most Valuable Player in the league. Kucherov already won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer with 128 points.
Kucherov set numerous milestones this season:
-His 128 points are the most in a single season in Lightning history.
-He broke the all-time scoring record for most points in a season by a Russian born hockey player with 128 which broke the record set by Alexander Mogilny of the Buffalo Sabres during the 1992-93 season.
-His 128 points in a season are the most since the 1995-96 season when Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins had 161 points and teammate Jaromir Jagr had 149 points
Kucherov is joined by Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh, and Conner McDavid of Edmonton as the other Hart Trophy Nominees.
Kucherov has also been nominated for the Ted Lindsey award along with Patrick Kane of Chicago, and Conner McDavid of Edmonton which is given to the outstanding player in the league.
Defensemen Victor Hedman the current Norris Trophy award winner has been nominated again along with Brent Burns of San Jose and Mark Giordano of Calgary.
Although Hedman was limited to 70 games this season due to injury, when healthy Hedman is one of the best defenseman in the league. He is also the quarterback of the power play where the Lightning converted at close to 30 percent when he was healthy. When Hedman was out of the lineup, that percentage dropped to 19 percent.
Hedman is trying to become the first defensemen to win the award since Nicklaus Lidstrom of Detroit won the award three consecutive years from 2005-2008.
Head coach Jon Cooper is a nominee for the Jack Adams award given to the coach of the year in the NHL. Cooper guided the Lightning to the best record in franchise history with 62 wins. Those 62 wins also tied the all time record for wins set by Detroit during the 1995-96 season.
The Lightning scored 325 goals this season which was the most goals by an NHL team in 23 years. This will be the second time that Cooper has been nominated for this award. Barry Trotz of the New York Islanders and Craig Berube of the St. Louis Blues are the other nominees.
The awards will be announced in Las Vegas on June 19th.