Last year's Calder Memorial Trophy winner, Pat Kane, will be presenting the rookie award Thursday night at the Pearl Theater show (Versus, live, 7 p.m. ET and CBC, tape delay, 8:30 p.m. ET) in the Palms Casino Resort. One of the Calder nominees is Kane's teammate Kris Versteeg.
"Kris does a lot of things on the ice," said Ed Olczyk, the former Blackhawk who now works as a TV commentator for the team and also gigs with NBC and Versus. "He kills penalties, plays when the teams are 4-on-4. He is still learning how to play the game, but there were times this season when he was the dominant (offensive) player on the ice. That's saying a lot for the a team like the Blackhawks."
Chicago legend Stan Mikita, here to present the Art Ross and Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophies for the players to lead the NHL in regular-season points and goals, says Versteeg is a "tough, hard-nosed kid who doesn't mind going in the corners." That's high praise from Mikita, who is one of the sport's all-time great two-way centers.
"What's impressive about Kris is his game when you consider his size," said Mikita. "I saw him this afternoon and he can't be any bigger than 5-10 and 165 pounds."
Olczyk is here to present the King Clancy Memorial Trophy to "the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community." Speaking of community, Eddie O says he can't walk down a Chicago street these days without hellos and cheers from Blackhawks fans.
"The 'Hawks are relevant again," said Olczyk. "There is a belief and hope in these players. That has been missing for a long time. The team is back on the city's radar."
And up for significant screen time in Vegas, too.
Author: Bob Condor | NHL.com Editor-in-Chief