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Rinne, Laviolette to Represent Preds at NHL Awards

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

For the sixth time in the last seven years, the Nashville Predators are set to be represented at the NHL Awards, with two nominees up for League honors.

Head Coach Peter Laviolette and goaltender Pekka Rinne will be in attendance at the event Wednesday in Las Vegas, with Laviolette in the running for the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year, while Rinne will contend for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s top goaltender.

The 2015 recognition is the second Jack Adams nomination of Laviolette’s career, the first coming in 2006 when the bench boss guided the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship. Laviolette finished as the runner-up that year in the closest vote in the history of the award.

In his first season as the Predators head coach, Laviolette guided Nashville to a 47-25-10 record and 104 points, nine more wins and 16 more points than the team finished with one season ago.

“I can tell you that after a year gone by now and having the opportunity to work with everybody, what a terrific choice [to come to Nashville],” Laviolette said in April during his season-ending press conference. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, because for me, it was a terrific year and a great opportunity to work with great people and great players.”

Rinne’s Vezina nomination is the third of his career, with the first coming in 2011 and then 2012. After missing significant time due to a hip infection in 2013-14, Rinne finished the 2014-15 campaign with 41 wins, a mark tied for second in the NHL.

The Finnish netminder was also Nashville’s nominee for the 2015 Masterton Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“Rinne is synonymous with us being successful,” Predators General Manager David Poile told “The last two years, with Rinne not being at 100 percent, we didn’t make the playoffs either time. This year, he comes back, he’s the ‘old Pekka’ if you will, and now our team not only [made] the playoffs, but [was] one of the best teams in the NHL.”

The Predators have had two NHL Award winners in team history, with former Preds forward Steve Sullivan receiving the Masterton Trophy in 2009 and forward Mike Fisher earning the NHL Foundation Award in 2012.

Nashville has also had it’s share of nominees recently; Poile was nominated for NHL General Manager of the Year honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012, while former Head Coach Barry Trotz was nominated for the Jack Adams Award in 2010 and 2011. Along with Rinne’s Vezina nominations in 2011, 2012 and 2015, Captain Shea Weber has been nominated for the Norris Trophy, given to the League’s top defenseman, three times, in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Along with Laviolette, Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames and Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers are nominees for the 2015 Jack Adams Award. Rinne goes up against Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild for the Vezina.

Preds fans are invited to attend a watch party of the 2015 NHL Awards at Tavern ‘96 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, June 24. The Las Vegas event can also be seen on NBCSN (in the United States) or Sportsnet (in Canada) beginning at 6 p.m. (CT). Catch a live stream of the NHL Awards here, via NBC Sports Live Extra.

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