Red Kelly

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Hockey luminaries attend Red Kelly’s funeral in Toronto

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TORONTO — Family, friends and many of hockey’s most luminous names bid farewell to Red Kelly at the NHL great’s funeral Friday.

The eight-time Stanley Cup champion played 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, winning four Stanley Cups with each team. He died at 91 on May 2, exactly 52 years after helping the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup in 1967.

Honorary pallbearers at the funeral included Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Bob Baun, Dick Duff, Ron Ellis, Dave Keon, Eddie Shack and Jim Gregory.

”He was a hero to us all,” said McDonald, who played for Kelly when he coached Toronto in the 1970s. ”We all looked up to him … how he lived his life. He showed us the way. … Red never swore. It was, ‘Wholly smollerinos … son of a sea cookin’ bottle washer.’ That’s the kind of gentleman he was, through in through.”

Also at the funeral were Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan, general manager Kyle Dubas, Detroit GM Steve Yzerman, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and former Toronto captain Wendel Clark.

”As much as he loved the game and he gave great service to the game and to this country … family was always first,” Bettman said. ”That’s something I always respected about him. Great, great man.”

Leonard Patrick Kelly started his hockey career as a defenseman but switched to center after his trade to Toronto. He served in the Canadian Parliament and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

”It was the ability to be the person he was that was so important,” former Toronto teammate Baun said. ”Red never did change, always such a great guy, very thoughtful and caring. He was as honest as the day is long.”

Kelly’s No. 4 is retired in Toronto and Detroit, and his statue is part of Legends Row outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, where memorabilia and a book of condolence were on display Friday.

Kelly is survived by Andra, his wife of 60 years, four children and eight grandchildren.

Hockey Hall of Famer Red Kelly dies at age 91

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TORONTO (AP) — Red Kelly, the defenseman-turned-center whose Hall of Fame career included eight Stanley Cups while playing for Detroit and Toronto, has died. He was 91.

Kelly’s family said in a statement that he died Thursday in Toronto.

Kelly spent nearly 13 seasons with Detroit, helping the Red Wings win four championships from 1950-55. In 1954, he was the first winner of the James Norris Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s top defenseman.

After being traded to Toronto during the 1959-60 season, Kelly became a forward and scored at least 20 goals in each of his first three full seasons with the Maple Leafs. Toronto won the Stanley Cup four times from 1962-67.

While with Toronto, Kelly was also a member of Parliament. He was elected as the Liberal MP for York-West in 1962 and again in ’63.

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Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Martin St. Louis named Lady Byng finalists – Who wins?

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All right get your lame jokes out of the way now. Today the NHL announced the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy for the player to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” Often derided for being the trophy that goes to the guy who’s the softest player in the league, I’d dare you to say that to any of the three guys who will be vying for the award this year.

Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom, Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, and Dallas’ Loui Eriksson are this year’s finalist for the award. We’d grown accustomed to seeing Pavel Datsyuk be the lead nominee for the award (he’s won it four times) but after his famous fight with Anaheim’s Corey Perry earlier in the season, that all but eliminated him from the competition this year.

Between these three players, the competition is interesting. Lidstrom has never been a finalist for the award in the past and a defenseman has only ever won the award four times. Incidentally it was only two players that pulled that feat and they were Detroit Red Wings when they did it. Bill Quackenbush in 1949 and Red Kelly did so three times in in 1951, 1953, and 1954. Considering it hasn’t been won by a defenseman since ’54 and the 40 year-old Lidstrom has long been one of the most cordial players on and off the ice, it feels like it’ll be a career achievement sort of award for Lidstrom this year.

Of course Martin St. Louis won it last year and having that sort of credibility to your name often makes the vote turn out to be a bit easier. St. Louis is a tenacious but clean player on the ice and is a prime example of what it means to be a superstar and MVP-like player while not pushing the edge of their game to questionable levels.

The same can be said of Loui Eriksson of Dallas who stands out as a true gentleman of hockey while having some rather dubious teammates. Eriksson’s work as a scoring threat and defensively tough player while keeping his nose clean in rough and tumble Dallas speaks volumes for him. After all, it can’t be easy to keep cool with the likes of Steve Ott, Krys Barch, and Mike Ribeiro running around driving opponents insane. I guess someone has to play “good cop” after all.

So it’s not the most exciting award to be given out, but it’s an oldie and a classic having been given out since the 1924-1925 season. Who do you like for the award? Do you give it to the classic veteran, the incumbent, or the new guy? Let us know in our poll.