The Lady Byng Trophy is awarded to the player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”-NHL.com
This award has traditionally come with a bit of mocking in the NHL circles, as the award you don’t really want to win, because you get percieved as “soft”.
However, looking at the list of past recipients that includes Gretzky, Yzerman, Francis, and Datsyuk proves that you can indeed be an ultra-competitive star player and still show sportsmanship and be a nice guy on the ice at the same time.
The nominees, as determined by the Professional Hockey Writers Association are:
Loui Eriksson, DALLAS – How about 8 , count ‘em 8, penalty minutes for an NHL forward. And one that plays in all situations and puts up 70-75 points a year. He is a worthy nominee from the Dallas Stars.
Nicklas Lidstrom, DETROIT – The last defenseman to win this award was Red Kelly in 1961. 50 years is log enough, and Lidstrom has been the epitome of class in his long and distinguished career. Never one to spend much time in the sin bin, Lidstrom was only whistled for 10 minor penalties this past season, as the Wings were one of the lesser penalized clubs in the league.
Martin St. Louis, TAMPA BAY - The defending champ in this category after winning last season. St. Louis spent 12 minutes in the penalty box, while playing the game at its highest level and being a small player in a big man’s game. Very impressive that he can play with a target on his back and avoid taking retaliation penalties.
Nicklas Lidstrom has played over 1400 games, and has less than 500 career penalty minutes. He has played the game at the highest level as probably the best defenseman of his generation. As competitve as he is/was, you never hear any other players say anything negative about him. SenShot gives Lidstrom the award based on 2 first place votes and 1 third place vote.
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