NEW YORK – Washington Capitals goaltender Vitek Vanecek and MedStar Washington Hospital Center emergency room RN Mary “Dani” Dell’Isola have been named the NHL’s “Rookies of the Month” for January.
Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League’s weekly and monthly “Stars.”
Dell’Isola began her nursing career as a new graduate in February 2020, right at the onset of the pandemic. Along with caring for patients and honing her nursing skills, Dell’Isola quickly learned how to remain safe during an unprecedented healthcare crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic almost immediately changed her outlook and perspective, providing greater awareness about the importance of frontline workers overall and nurses in particular. Dell’Isola, who regularly attends Capitals games, says that she is looking forward to the day when she can return to Capital One Arena. In the meantime, she is proud that her nursing career has helped those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vanecek went 5-0-2 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in seven January appearances to edge New Jersey Devils defenseman Ty Smith (2-6-8 in 9 GP), Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (2-6-8 in 10 GP), Vancouver Canucks left wing Nils Hoglander (3-3-6 in 11 GP) and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen (3-1-2, 1.97 GAA, .937 SV%) for “Rookie of the Month” honors.
Vanecek, who was selected by Washington in the second round (39th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, became the 11th goaltender in League history to begin his career with a point streak of at least seven games – and the first to accomplish the feat since Mike Condon in 2015 16 (6-0-2 w/ MTL). The 25-year-old Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic, native – who was thrust into duty following the absences of Ilya Samsonov and Henrik Lundqvist – is the first Capitals goaltender to be named a “Rookie of the Month” since fellow Czech Michal Neuvirth in October 2010.