by PuckStopsHere on 11/29/08 at 05:37 AM ET
One of the final trophies that I am yet to pick an early leader for is the Lady Byng Trophy. This trophy is for the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. There are a few candidates for this award. Perennial Byng Trophy winner Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings has 23 points and 4 PIMs, Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils has 25 points and 2 PIMs, San Jose’s Patrick Marleau has 26 points and 4 PIMs and his teammate Devin Setoguchi has 27 points and 2 PIMs. All are solid Byng candidates, but I do not select any of them.
I think the current leader is Brian Campbell of the Chicago Blackhawks. It is harder to play well and play a sportsmanlike game without significant penalty minutes on defence than it is at forward. In fact, only Bill Quackenbush and Red Kelly have ever won the Lady Byng while playing defence.
Brian Campbell has 16 points in 21 games for Chicago. This places him seventh in scoring among defencemen. Campbell has zero penalty minutes so far this season.
Campbell has played a lot of ice time in Chicago. He is seventh in playing time per game in the NHL with almost 26 minutes played per game. He has been an important part of the resurgent Chicago Blackhawks, who would be a playoff team for the first time since 2002 if the season ended now.
Chicago signed Campbell as a free agent this summer. He split last season between Buffalo and San Jose and scored 62 points establishing himself as one of the better offensive defencemen in the game. He has made the transition to Chicago successfully and continues his good play. That play combined with his sportsmanship in a tough position to be sportsmanlike make him the leader for the Lady Byng Trophy at this point in the season.
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