Friday, December 02, 2005

Lady Byng Leader

With the new obstruction crackdown, it is reasonable to have wondered how the Lady Byng race for most gentlemanly player (player who best combines gentlemanly conduct and hockey skills) would be impacted. Would players who had in the past been candidates drop out of the race if they drew more penalties in the new rule interpretation?

One man has jumped out to the front as the clear Lady Byng leader. That man is Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators. Going into tonight's play, Spezza led the NHL in scoring with 41 points and he only has two penalty minutes. In fact there is no position player in the NHL with more ice time then Spezza who has two or less penalty minutes (Spezza has played 459.5 minutes PJ Axelsson of Boston is second with 454 minutes and only two PIMs - Axelsson has four more games played).

The dominant Ottawa Senators have several players I have picked as leaders for awards. Dominik Hasek is my Vezina pick and I had picked Wade Redden as the Norris leader but with his injury I no longer stand by that pick. I suppose Spezza would win the Art Ross trophy as NHL scoring leader as well.

Jason Spezza is having a real breakthrough season.

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