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AMLinksLog: Norris nod for Letang? The PGH Calder kid. All #TribHKY coverage in one spot.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Kris Letang is my pick to win the Conn Smythe as Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.

That would be, perhaps, the ultimate feather in his cap.

Another one, though, could come Tuesday.

The NHL will announce its Norris Trophy finalists for best defensemen during the regular season, and Letang is a strong contender to snag his first nod.

Yep, he has never been a finalist.

Injuries have prevented him from finishing off what began as Norris-worthy campaigns the last two seasons.

Injuries probably will cost him the Norris this season, even though he finished tied for the scoring lead at his position despite missing a third of the 48 games.

There Norris is one of the NHL Awards voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, which had a record 178 members cast votes this year. There are 285 members of our organization, but not all are granted voting privileges.

The Pittsburgh chapter, of which I’m president, had six members vote, accounting for 3.4 percent.

The Trib’s Josh Yohe has been all over the emergency of Pittsburghers playing their way into NHL organizations for several years, so it should surprise nobody that he scored an exclusive local interview with Brandon Saad, a Pittsburgh native with the Blackhawks who is a Calder (top rookie) finalist:

“This means a lot to me,” Saad told the Tribune-Review on Monday. “It’s an honor to be mentioned in this. It really is excited to be a part of.”

Saad produced 10 goals and 27 points in 46 games with the Blackhawks. He started the season slowly but was terrific down the stretch. Saad produced 22 points during his final 25 games.

The rookie was also strong defensively, finishing with a plus-17 mark while also becoming a

He isn’t sure if skating on a line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa will hurt his chances of claiming the award.

“That’s a tough question,” Saad said. “Either way, that’s for people to decide. It’s out of my control. I really am happy to be nominated.”

A look at my Calder Trophy ballot:

1 Justin Schultz, Oilers

2 Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers

3 Brandon Saad, Blackhawks

4 Nail Yakupov, Oilers

5 Cory Goncaher, Senators

= There aren’t many defensemen like Brooks Orpik in the NHL, and the Penguins are missing him against the Islanders: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3970798-74/orpik-penguins-defenseman#axzz2SbevmG2O

= The #TribHKY Insider examines Dan Bylsma’s plan to play the regular season like it was a series of seven-game playoff series: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3970780-74/game-season-bylsma#axzz2SbevmG2O

= Columnist Dejan Kovacevic asks for the check, please, in Game 4: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/3970822-74/penguins-game-hit#axzz2SbevmG2O

= Tyler Kennedy knows what the Penguins coaches want from him: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3970786-74/kennedy-practice-penguins#axzz2SbevmG2O

= Meet this Travis Hamonic guy you’re probably starting to hate given his strong impact for the Islanders: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3970802-74/islanders-hamonic-penguins#axzz2SbevmG2O

= Matt Moulson is fine with his new line slot: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/3970785-74/goals-moulson-capuano#axzz2SbevmG2O

Cheers,

Rossi

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

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