Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell put it best during the long-and-winding Stanley Cup run when he was pondering the race for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
“They’re thinking about the other big trophy,” he said of his teammates.
But Kings goalie Jonathan Quick would get to hold two big trophies — the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe, becoming the third American-born winner of the trophy awarded to the player judged most valuable to his team during the playoffs.
Will it be a hat trick of major trophies for Quick?
Quick is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the top goaltender, and the winner will be announced Wednesday night at the NHL Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.
It is voted on by NHL general managers and is based on regular-season performance. The other nominees are Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Lundqvist, also nominated for the Hart Trophy (most valuable player, regular season), is considered the Vezina front-runner.
Quick had 10 shutouts to Lundqvist’s eight. Lundqvist’s goals-against average was 1.97 to Quick’s 1.95.
“Winning the Vezina has been a goal for a long time, so it would mean a lot,” Lundqvist said to reporters in Las Vegas. “Just being here, it’s a good feeling.”
The other finalists for the Hart Trophy are Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Malkin is a two-time runner-up. Stamkos finished 11th in the voting in 2011. Last year’s surprise winner was the Ducks’ Corey Perry, who edged Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.
Finalists for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman) are Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Shea Weber of the Predators. Karlsson, who led all defensemen with 78 points in the regular season, received an early present of sorts on Tuesday, signing a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $45.5 million.
Rookie of the year (Calder Trophy) finalists are Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils, Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers.
Kings captain Dustin Brown also will be in Las Vegas as a finalist for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award. The other finalists are Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes and Ryan Callahan of the Rangers.
And now for a Teemu Selanne update … sort of.
The 41-year-old Selanne, who led the Ducks in scoring last season with 66 points, usually takes his time regarding his playing future. Typically, there is a report, or two, emerging from his native Finland about his hockey plans.
This time, it was the biggest sports magazine in Finland, Veikkaaja, indicating that Selanne would extend his career in Anaheim, barring an injury, and would let the Ducks know in late July or August.
The Ducks said that Selanne has not informed the team of a decision. Bob Murray, team vice president and general manager, was traveling to Pittsburgh for the upcoming entry draft and was not available for comment.
But he said Monday on the NHL Network that he had spoken to Selanne last week.
“We do this every year, don’t we?” Murray said in the interview. “He’s got a very positive attitude right now. We’ll wait and see. I think he is kind of waiting to see what we do over the next few weeks and how we’re shaping up and he’ll make a decision.”