NHL hands out 7 postseason awards
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews got another victory on Friday. The trophy he wants the most is still up for grabs.
Toews won the Frank J. Selke award, given to the NHL’s best defensive forward. He emerged from a trio of finalists that included fellow centers Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings.
Toews helped the Blackhawks advance past Datsyuk and the Red Wings in the second round of the playoffs. He is currently competing against Bergeron and the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Blackhawks lead the series 1-0, with Game 2 scheduled for Saturday night in Chicago.
”To be able to go head to head with guys like that in the playoffs, and to know them from the past, you understand how much they mean to their teams and how much they contribute offensively and defensively,” Toews said. ”To be talked about in the same sentence and compared to those guys is absolutely amazing. So it’s a special award to win.”
The 25-year-old Toews was third in the NHL with a plus-28 rating in 47 games in the regular season, helping Chicago post the most points in the NHL. He also was a finalist for the Selke after the 2010-11 season.
Bergeron, who won the Selke Trophy last year, earned a different honor this season. He was awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions to the community.
Also Friday, Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators won the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL’s coach of the year. The top executive honor went to Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero. The Lady Byng trophy for the NHL’s most sportsmanlike player was given to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis for the third time in four seasons.
”I don’t think you start the season thinking you’re going to win the Lady Byng, but all in all, you just try to push the envelope without getting caught, I guess,” St. Louis said. ”You play hard and stay out of the box, but at the same time by no means you’re going through the season trying to accomplish that.”
MacLean, a finalist for the second straight year, led Ottawa to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference while overcoming the prolonged absences of several key players. Chicago’s Joel Quenneville and Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks also were up for the award.
”It was a very proud day for myself, my family and the Ottawa Senators organization and what we’ve gone through. We’re pretty pleased here today,” MacLean said.
One of MacLean’s players, forward Daniel Alfredsson, was the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award, and Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg was honored with the NHL Foundation Player Award for community service.
Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding won the NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The award is presented to ”the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last fall and missed 33 games as he underwent treatment. On April 22, he was activated from the injured list and returned to the Wild lineup.
”I feel better than ever,” Harding said. ”I just won an NHL award. It’s something that I never thought I’d do in my life ever, and it happened with MS.
”I played five playoff games. I didn’t know if I’d ever play a playoff game, and that came with MS. I want people to believe that goals are possible. Just because you get a label of a disease doesn’t mean you’re not going to complete your goals. That’s what I hope people take out of this.”
Harding faced the condition head on, and never considered giving up his hockey career.
”There were some ups and downs,” he said Friday. ”Some days it would have been easy to throw in the towel. . But I’ve been playing hockey since I was 4. I’m not going to let something come in the way.
”For everybody that would be in my situation, I think you’d find a way to make it work.”