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Blueliners ignored by Lady Byng voters

Well, the Professional Hockey Writers Association has done it again!

They have completely overlooked the obvious - namely that it is more difficult to avoid penalties playing defense than it is at the forward position.

With rearguards responsible for being the second last line of defense, the temptation to commit a foul to avoid a play on goal is greater than on a center or winger.

Yet, even though Brian Campbell and Pavel Datsyuk had the identical number of minutes in the sin bin, Datsyuk was given the nod for the Lady Byng Trophy. Where is the logic in that kind of voting?

This takes nothing away from Datsyuk. But, surely it takes little common sense to recognize that it requires a greater measure of gentlemanly conduct to avoid violation of the rules as a defenseman - yet this obvious fact is ignored year after year by those responsible for naming the recipients of this award.

Nicklas Lidstrom was snubbed for several seasons in a row in this way ('99, '00, and '01). In a lesser fashion, Tomas Kaberle was overlooked in 2002.

It has been 47 years since the above reasoning has been utilized. Red Kelly was so honoured in 1961. Since then the PHWA have had their heads in the sand.

They should take note of the 1948-49 decision. Harry Watson (winger) and Bill Quackenbush (blueliner) had zero PIM that season. The voters made the only realistic choice in awarding the trophy the Quackenbush.

It's time for those who hold the privilege to don their thinking caps again.

Glen R. Goodhand, Lindsay, Ont.



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