It’s always an honor to be selected as a finalist or as the winner by the writers in the sport that an athlete plays. When the players select you as a finalist or as a winner the meaning is more than just being an honor – it’s your peers who feel that you deserve the award and that’s what makes it more special than coming from the writers.
Today, Steven Stamkos’ peers through the NHLPA was selected as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, an award voted on by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association for the Most Outstanding Player in the NHL.
The award was first handed out at the conclusion of the 1971-72 NHL season. It honors Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay, an All-Star forward known for his skill, tenacity, leadership, and for his role in establishing the original Players’ Association.
Stamkos, in his third full year as a pro has developed into one of the rising stars in the NHL. Last year, in his sophomore season Stamkos shared the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with Sidney Crosby as the leading goal-scorer (51) in the NHL.
His 45 goals this past season led the Lightning and was second in the league to this year’s Rocket Richard winner Corey Perry (50). Additionally, his 91 points were fifth in the league and second on the team behind Martin St. Louis (99), the 2003-04 Lester B. Pearson Award winner and his 17 power-play goals were one off the mark of the league leader Daniel Sedin (18).
Stamkos began his NHL career at the start of the 2008-09 season under very adverse circumstances – but one that eventually led to his rise in the NHL. Playing for Barry Melrose who had been hired as the Lightning’s new coach wasn’t the way former Lightning owner and Hollywood producer had scripted Stamkos’ opening.
Stamkos had a very rough beginning to his rookie campaign that saw Barry Melrose, fired 16 games into the season as the Lightning’s coach. The firing turned out to benefit Stamkos as interim coach Rick Tocchet supported him, letting him know that he had faith in him, slowly increasing his ice-time and more importantly giving him plenty of off-ice workouts which included video, weight-training and even sitting in the press box to take notes.
Responding to Tocchet’s tutoring and nurturing, Stamkos turned a dismal rookie season into one that has since propelled him into one of the league’s most proficient player’s and goal scorers.
With this year’s group of all new finalists it ensures that there will be a new recipient for the first time in three years as Alex Ovechkin had won the “Most Outstanding Player” award the last three consecutive seasons (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10).
The Ted Lindsay Award will be presented at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 22, 2011.
The Finalists (as provided by the NHPA press release):
Corey Perry, of Peterborough, Ontario, played in all 82 games in the 2010-11 season for the Anaheim Ducks. Corey’s selection as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award is his first since entering the NHL in the 2005-06 season. En route to capturing the Maurice Richard Trophy for most goals (50) and finishing third in points (98), Corey was especially dominant in the Ducks’ run to the playoffs. With this nomination, Corey is looking to become the first member of the Ducks to receive the “Most Outstanding Player” award as voted on by the players, and is seeking to add this to his impressive list of accomplishments that includes the Memorial Cup (2004-05 – London), Stanley Cup (2006-07 – Anaheim) and Olympic gold medal (2010 – Canada).
Daniel Sedin, of Ornskoldvik, Sweden, appeared in all 82 games in the 2010-11 season for the Vancouver Canucks. Daniel’s first selection as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award follows his brother Henrik’s nomination last season. Daniel had an exceptional 2010-11 campaign by all standards, securing the Art Ross Trophy for most points in the regular season (104), tying for fourth in goals (41), and placing third in both assists (63) and game-winning goals (10), while helping lead Vancouver to capturing their first Presidents’ Trophy. With this nomination, Daniel is seeking to become just the second Canucks player to receive the “Most Outstanding Player” award as voted on by the players (Markus Naslund – 2002-03 Lester B. Pearson Award).
Steven Stamkos, of Markham, Ontario, appeared in all 82 games in the 2010-11 season for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven’s selection as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award is his first, and comes one season after he earned a share of the Maurice Richard Trophy for most goals (51). The 21-year-old helped the Lightning return to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, while finishing second in goals (45), placing fifth in points (91) and contributing the second most power play goals in the NHL (17), behind Daniel Sedin’s 18. With this nomination, Steven is looking to join teammate Martin St. Louis (2003-04 Lester B. Pearson Award) as only the second member of the Lightning to receive the “Most Outstanding Player” award as voted on by the players.
The NHLPA also launched the 2010-11 Ted Lindsay Award Contest today on www.nhlpa.com. Fans are encouraged to select the Ted Lindsay Award recipient, just like the players do. A random draw will take place following the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas NV, to determine the Grand Prize winner, as well as the second and third-place finishers.
For more info: National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA), Steven Stamkos, Ted Lindsay Trophy
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