NEW YORK – Pavel Datsyuk is in the running for a fourth straight Lady Byng Trophy.
The Detroit Red Wings centre is among the finalists for the NHL’s most gentlemanly player award along with Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Zach Parise of the New Jersey Devils, the league announced Friday.
Winners of the Lady Byng and other trophies will be announced at the NHL awards show June 18 in Las Vegas.
Datsyuk has won the Lady Byng the last three years. One more and he’ll tie the record of four in a row set by Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers from 1928 to 1931.
Boucher won the trophy seven times in an eight-year span ending in 1935, and was runner-up to Joe Primeau of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the year he missed out in 1932.
The trophy, first awarded in 1925, goes to the player who shows “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
Past winners include all-time scoring leader Wayne Gretzky, who won it five times between 1980 and 1999, and goal-scoring star Mike Bossy, who took it three times in the 1980s.
Datsyuk led the Red Wings in assists (65) and points (97) and was plus-34, third best in the NHL, while recording just 22 penalty minutes in 81 games.
Last season, the versatile Datsyuk won both the Lady Byng and the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward and will likely be in the running to take them both again. Selke finalists are to be announced on Tuesday. The 30-year-old also draws votes for the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, but is a long shot to win.
St. Louis, the league MVP and scoring leader in 2004, finished this season with 80 points (30 goals, 50 assists) in 82 games and had just 14 minutes in penalties. The 33-year-old Laval, Que., native has been runner-up for the Lady Byng the last two years.
“It’s a trophy that some great players have their name on,” said St. Louis, a former Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner. “I’ve been a finalist before and I’d love to win it. It’s always an honour to be considered for any trophies.”
Parise enjoyed a breakout season, finishing second in the league with 45 goals. The 24-year-old from Minneapolis finished with 95 points, was plus-30 and had just 24 penalty minutes.
Earlier this week, the NHL announced that Zdeno Chara, Mike Green and Nicklas Lidstrom were finalists for the Norris Trophy as top defenceman and Steve Mason, Bobby Ryan and Kris Versteeg were finalists for the Calder Trophy as best rookie.
Next week, finalists will be announced for the Vezina (goaltender), Selke (defensive forward), Hart (MVP), Masterton (perseverance) and Jack Adams (coach of the year) trophies.