Sunday Pens Points: Caps Add Kuznetsov, Maatta Pushing for Calder

Harry How

Caps sign Kuznetsov just on time to face the Pens. Olli Maatta making a push for the Calder votes. Lidstrom and Modano are in the rafters.

In an otherwise eventful week we didn't really pay much attention to news around the league, so here we go.

When Evgeny Kuznetsov's Traktor Chelyabinsk didn't make the KHL playoffs, he told reporters that now is the time he'll finally join the Washington Capitals, who drafted him in the Cretaceous time period. Caps fans weren't exactly holding their breath, and would you blame them? Except the Caps are about to play back-to-back games against the Penguins, so of course in a span of 2 days Kuznetsov apparated to Washington, signed an entry-level deal, and is planning to suit up against the Penguins Monday night. Figures.

Lee Stempniak has had a crazy ten days - started off with his wife giving birth to twin girls 6 weeks prematurely, flying to be with them for two weeks, then going back to play his last game for the Flames before a mad dash to San Jose to join the Pens. Let's hope he finds success and all the best wishes to his family.

In the February Calder Poll from Hockey's Future, Nathan MacKinnon was named top rookie in the NHL for the month, followed by Olli Maatta. Besides his many accomplishments, Olli also made my daughter and niece forget all about Beau Bennett (far from the sight, far from the heart with the fickle gender).

The great Nick Lidstrom had his #5 retired by the Red Wings on Thursday night to the sound of many sniffs and sobs in a house full of Pens fans. He was the Bobby Orr of my time, and there will never be another one like him. The Wings made the playoffs in each of his 20 seasons. He also won all 7 of his Norris trophies after he turned 30 (unlike Orr, who won all 8 of his before 30).

Another great number was retired this week. Mike Modano's #9 went up to the rafters in Dallas. The Stars did a phenomenal job with the ceremony. Members of the 1999 Stanley Cup team were there, all the fans were given #9 towels, and the players warmed up in various jerseys Modano wore throughout his illustrious career. Truly a great final chapter for one of the greatest players and the highest scorer in the history of American hockey.

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