Friday, December 01, 2006

Lady Byng Leader

The Lady Byng Trophy is often an overlooked award. It goes to the player who best combines playing ability and gentlemanly play. Although the winner is rarely the best player in the NHL, it is won by a talented player who had a good season. So far this season there is a player who is looking like the favorite for this award.

Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks is the clear leader. He leads his team with 27 points (which is no small feat given that teammate Joe Thornton is the reigning NHL MVP). Marleau has only 4 penalty minutes so far this year. His offensive output is far bigger than it looks since he plays in the West Conference (which is a much lower scoring conference). In fact, Marleau is the third highest scorer in the West Conference (despite being 22nd in the league). The West Conference is playing a more defensive game than the east, but they have approximately equal records in games against one another, so it is clearly not an inferior game.

Patrick Marleau is the third highest scorer in his conference and playing a sportsmanlike game where he stays out of the penalty box. That is why he is the frontrunner for the Lady Byng right now.

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