Lady Byng finalists: Datsyuk, St. Louis, B. Richards

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datstrophies.jpgIt was recently announced on NHL Live that Pavel Datsyuk, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards are the finalists for the Lady Byng trophy. Datsyuk has the opportunity to be the first player to ever win it five times in a row and would also be among the most frequent winners of the award (Frank Boucher is the all-time winner with 7, Wayne Gretzky has five.)

The frequently mocked (largely but not solely because it has “lady” in its title) trophy is given to a honor a player who personifies “skillful and gentlemanly play.” What that usually comes down to is a guy who combines high point totals, a general “nice guy” air and minimal penalty minutes.
Pavel Datsyuk has won it four years in a row. He had 70 points and 18 PIM this season.
Martin St. Louis had 92 points and 12 PIM. He’s also often considered among the league’s nicest fellows. More points and less PIM? If sports writers didn’t enter these votes as quickly and thoughtlessly as someone fills out a teacher’s evaluation, I’d wonder if St. Louis might finally “dethrone” Datsyuk.
Brad Richards had 91 points and 14 PIM. Richards had a great bounce-back year but also gets paid huge gobs of money. Somehow I feel like that hurts him in any evaluation.
So, what do you think, sports fans? Who’s the most “Lady” like?

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever

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Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…