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Staal, Harrison win awards, including new Vasicek honor

UPDATED, 12:38 p.m.: Eric Staal named winner of team's Steve Chiasson Award for first time.

Two members of the Carolina Hurricanes were honored in voting by the Carolina chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association on Thursday. Eric Staal was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the third time, while Jay Harrison won the newly renamed Josef Vasicek Award for cooperation with the local media.

The latter award, previously known as the Good Guy Award, has been renamed by the Carolina chapter in honor of Vasicek, the former Hurricanes forward who died in a plane crash in Russia in September. Vasicek, 30, never won the award in his six seasons with the Hurricanes, but his cheerful spirit and eagerness to cooperate with the media epitomized what the honor represents.

KHL confirms Vasicek among dead in plane crash

Josef Vasicek, who played for the Hurricanes from 2000-2007, is feared to be among the dead after the plane carrying his Russian team crashed today.

UPDATE: The KHL, on its web site, is reporting Vasicek was among those killed in the crash.

"Joe was an awesome guy, always in good spirits, always smiling," Canes captain Eric Staal said of his former teammate. "It's just a tragedy."

Only two of the 45 to 47 people on board survived the crash, according to varying reports. A Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team official told a Russian newspaper that the team's entire playing roster was on the plane. Other reports said the survivors were a player, Alexander Galimov, and a crew member.

“We have no team any more,” Vladimir N. Malkov, a team spokesman, told the New York Times. “All our starting players, and all the service people, they all burned in the crash.”

Vasicek, who signed with Lotomotiv Yaroslavl in 2008, is listed on the team's roster, as is head coach Brad McCrimmon, who played three seasons for the Hartford Whalers.

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