Monday, April 23, 2012

Eberle Up For NHL Hardware

One of the oldest adages in hockey is you can't score from the penalty box.

During the 2011-12 season, three players took that mantra particularly to heart. Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell, Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle and New York Islanders left wing Matt Moulson had outstanding seasons offensively while managing to stay far away from the penalty box. For that reason, those players have been named the finalists for this year's Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

The award is given each year "to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability." The winner is selected by a vote of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and will be announced at the 2012 NHL Awards Show, June 20 at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas.

Campbell played all 82 games and finished second among defensemen with 49 assists and 53 points. And he did so while going to the penalty box just three times. He didn't go to the penalty box in the final 25 games of the regular season, and was whistled for one penalty after the All-Star break -- a slashing call Feb. 17 against Washington.

If Campbell were to win the Lady Byng, he would be just the third defenseman ever, and first since Red Kelly following the 1953-54 season.

Eberle, in his second NHL season, cut his penalty minutes from 22 to 10 this past season, and that extra time on the ice allowed him to post career highs in goals (34), assists (42), points (76) and power-play goals (10).

He went 31 games between trips to the penalty box to end the season, taking a slashing penalty Jan. 31, and then not going back to the box until the season finale, April 7, for interference.

Of the 30 players who scored at least 30 goals, Eberle was one of just two players to finish with 10 penalty minutes or fewer. The other was Moulson, who was whistled for just three minor penalties.

Moulson was whistled for a double-minor for roughing against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 29, and then went the final 47 games without a trip to the penalty box. All that time on the ice allowed him to post career-bests of 36 goals -- 10th in the League -- 33 assists and 69 points.

With six penalty minutes, he became the first player since Paul Kariya in 1996-97 to score at least 30 goals and have single-digit penalty minutes.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jordan is in tough company and he might not win it but he will before his career is done.