Senators shine in first half of NHL awards

They didn’t feature the recently familiar glitz and glamor of Las Vegas thanks to the calendar crunch created by the league’s player lockout, but the NHL’s 2013 individual award ceremonies – at least, Part 1 of them – did not fail to provide ample opportunity for debate and discussion.

Presented for the past five seasons in Vegas, the league’s awards – eight of which were announced Friday, with the Hart, Norris, Vezina, Calder and Ted Lindsay to be announced Saturday night at 7 p.m. Eastern on NBC and CBC – were revealed live on The NHL Network late Friday afternoon. And two Ottawa Senators employees were among the big winners.

As was widely expected, Sens coach Paul MacLean took home his first Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s best coach, while captain Daniel Alfredsson was named the winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

“It’s a very proud day for myself and my family and especially for the Ottawa Senators organization and what we’ve gone through,” said MacLean, who was a finalist for the award last season after his rookie campaign as an NHL bench boss. “We’re pretty pleased here today.”

MacLean, who led the Senators to a playoff spot this season despite having catastrophic injuries to key stars at goal, defense and forward, deflected most of the credit to Ottawa’s veterans.

“A ton of the credit goes to Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Phillips, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Neil,” MacLean told the NHL Network in accepting the award, which he bested Chicago’s Joel Quenneville and Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau to win. “They were the four veteran guys that were still in the lineup and they did an incredible job of leadership, showing the young players what it was supposed to be every night.”

The 40-year-old Alfredsson was selected by Messier as the seventh recipient of the award that bears his name and honors “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.” Alfredsson beat out finalists Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Dustin Brown of the L.A. Kings. However, Toews did walk away with some hardware of his own – his first Frank J. Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward.

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“It means the world,” Toews said of the honor. “When you’re mentioned in the same sentence…with guys like (past winners and 2013 Selke finalists) Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron…to be compared to those guys is absolutely amazing. So it’s a special award to win.”

In other categories announced Friday, Tampa Bay Lightning star winger Martin St-Louis won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy – the third of his career – as the game’s most gentlemanly player, edging out wingers Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks and Matt Moulson of the Islanders. Penguins GM Ray Shero was presented with the fourth annual GM of the Year Award, beating fellow first-time nominees Bob Murray (Anaheim) and Marc Bergevin (Montreal).

Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, who played the entire season despite announcing in November he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, received the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg won the NHL Foundation Player Award (given to the NHLer “who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community”. And Selke finalist Bergeron was given the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community”.

The NHL has already announced it will resume its practice of holding the awards in Las Vegas next summer.

Adam Proteau is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.