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Assistants bounced in house cleaning

The Sports Xchange
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--Forward Matt Moulson was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which will be presented on June 20 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.

Also nominated was Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell and Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle.

Voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, the award is given "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The three finalists amassed just 22 penalty minutes between them during the 2011-12 regular season, with Moulson and Campbell drawing just three minor penalties apiece.

Moulson, 28, surpassed the 30-goal mark for the third consecutive season, scoring 36 goals and assisting on 33 more for the Islanders. His six penalty minutes are down from 24 during the 2010-11 season.

Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis, who won the two previous trophies, was not among this year's finalists. He was assessed 16 penalty minutes in 77 minutes in 2011-12.

--G Rick DiPietro endured yet another injury-plagued year, undergoing what turned out to be season-ending sports hernia surgery in January. The former All-Star has appeared in just 47 games in the past four seasons due to an assortment of injuries, but already is skating -- and with nine years remaining on his 15-year contract -- DiPietro once again has said he expects to be 100 percent healthy for training camp.

"I talked to Snowy (GM Garth Snow) about maybe putting me in some bubble wrap throughout the summer to make sure nothing happens," DiPietro told the New York Times. "I wish the season could start right now. I've had every joint and ligament surgically repaired. There's not much left to do, so, hopefully, this is the last one, and that's it."

--C John Tavares still believes he has room for improvement after his first All-Star campaign, becoming the first Isles player since Ziggy Palffy in 1997-98 to record at least 80 points (31-50-81).

"I feel every year I'm getting more and more comfortable," said Tavares, who has led the Isles in scoring in each of his first three NHL seasons. "I realize the things I have to keep working on and keep getting better at and keep working on the things that I've been successful with."

QUOTE TO NOTE
"Our goal was to make the playoffs and obviously that didn't happen. We'll come back next season with that goal and figure out what's going to get us there." -- Matt Moulson, after the Islanders' season-ending 7-3 loss April 7 in Columbus.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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