In one of the most mind-numbing votes in NHL Awards history since Ovi was put on an end-of-season All-Star Team twice, the Professional Hockey Writers Association has voted Auston Matthews and Ryan O’Reilly as two of the three finalists for the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
The Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” The emphasis on gentlemanly conduct is mine.
Matthews was charged with a crime before the season, which really should have disqualified him, while O’Reilly was once arrested for drunk driving into a Tim Horton’s.
Matthews, who finished the season with a career-high 47 goals and a career-low eight penalty minutes, was charged with disorderly conduct last July after he tried to break into a female security guard’s vehicle. As he walked away, an intoxicated Matthews dropped his pants and mooned the security guard as she tried to confront him.
The Lady Byng goes to a player who who has "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct."
Reminder that Auston Matthews harassed a female security guard in September and when confronted pulled down this pants and mooned her. https://t.co/jmkc7Waure
— Hemal Jhaveri (@hemjhaveri) July 16, 2020
Matthews offered an especially weak statement during training camp to explain his behavior, refusing to answer any questions about the matter.
“Yeah so, thanks, guys, for coming. Obviously, not something that I don’t think any of us really wish we were talking about today,” Matthews said. “Unfortunately, it’s the situation we’re in, I regret any of my actions that would ever put a distraction on the team or distress any individual. I take a lot of pride in, you know, preparing myself for the season and representing the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as I can. Unfortunately, due to the situation, I’m afraid I can’t really make any other comments. That’s all I have and thank you for coming out.”
This is one of the PHWA’s finalists.
Another is O’Reilly, who won the Stanley Cup last season with the St. Louis Blues. The forward had 61 points and took only five minors in 71 games this season but was arrested for drunk driving and leaving the scene at a Tim Horton’s in 2015.
OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] announced Monday that O’Reilly, 24, from Bluewater, Ont., had been charged with driving a motor vehicle while ability impaired (alcohol) and care or control over 80 mgs.
He was also charged under the Highway Traffic Act with failing to remain at the scene.
According to Middlesex County OPP, a green Chevrolet pickup struck a commercial building on Richmond St. last Thursday morning (July 9) just after 4:00am. An employee of the Lucan Tim Hortons confirmed to AM980 that there had been a motor vehicle incident, but was unaware of the driver’s identity.
After the collision, police say a suspect drove the vehicle southbound on Saintsbury Line, before abandoning it and traveling by foot with another, unnamed, male occupant.
But a reminder, this happened five years ago. I can understand how this would slip some voters’ minds, but geez.
The final finalist was Nathan MacKinnon, who had 93 points in 69 games and registered a career-low 12 PIMs.
Frank Seravalli, the President of the PHWA, did not address the social media uproar about the voting in his only tweet about the trophy.
2020 Lady Byng Trophy finalists, voted by @ThePHWA: Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Auston Matthews (TOR) and Ryan O'Reilly (STL).
I like to vote for d-men – it's harder to defend & not take penalties. Last D to win: Brian Campbell (2012) and then Red Kelly (1954) before switching to C.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 16, 2020
Look, I believe everyone makes mistakes and they deserve second chances. Redemption is possible and I hope that Matthews and O’Reilly learned from their incidents. All I’m saying is maybe let’s not put players up for awards that celebrate gentlemanly-ness when they have a police record.
It makes my favorite sport look like a joke.
A reminder that RMNB is not a part of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
More from the NHL:
NEW YORK (July 16, 2020) – Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability,” the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Lady Byng Trophy after the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be revealed during the Conference Finals, with the exact date, format and time to be determined.
Following are the finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche
MacKinnon ranked fifth in the NHL with 35-58—93 in 69 games, 43 points more than his next-closest teammate, to lead the Avalanche into the playoffs for the third consecutive season. He also placed among the top 10 in the League in power-play points (4th; 31), assists (6th; 58), power-play goals (t-6th; 12), goals (9th; 35) and power-play assists (t-10th; 19), while topping the NHL in shots on goal (318). MacKinnon did so while registering a career-low 12 penalty minutes, the second-fewest among the League’s top 25 scorers; no other NHL forward averaged more time on ice (21:13) in 2019-20 while taking fewer penalties. The 24-year-old Halifax, N.S., native – who earlier this week was named a 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award finalist – is a Lady Byng Trophy finalist for the first time. He is seeking to become the third player in Avalanche/Nordiques history to win the award, following O’Reilly in 2013-14 and Joe Sakic in 2000-01.
Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews finished third in the NHL with a career-high 47 goals, one behind Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy co-winners Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak, while also topping the Maple Leafs with a career-best 80 points in 70 games (47-33—80). Matthews – who added personal highs and ranked among the top 10 in the League in shots on goal (4th; 290) and power-play goals (t-6th; 12) – also established a career-low with eight penalty minutes, tied for the fewest among the NHL’s top 100 scorers. He did so while sharing second place in the League in takeaways (78) and ranking eighth among NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,467:52), also both personal bests. The 22-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native – who captured the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2016-17 – is vying to become the eighth different player to win the Lady Byng Trophy with the Maple Leafs and just the second to do so in the expansion era (since 1967-68), following Alexander Mogilny in 2002-03.
Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues
O’Reilly led the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blues with 12-49—61 in 71 games to power the team to the highest points percentage in the Western Conference (.662; 42-19-10). He topped the NHL in both face-off wins (880) and face-offs taken (1,556), ranking 10th among qualifying players with a 56.6 face-off winning percentage. O’Reilly received five minor penalties (10 PIM), the sixth time in his 11 NHL seasons he has totaled 10 or fewer penalty minutes, while ranking seventh in the League in takeaways (69) and 10th among NHL forwards in total time on ice (1,460:45). The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., native – who previously won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2013-14 (w/ COL) – is a finalist for the award for the third straight season, following second-place finishes in both 2018-19 (w/ STL) and 2017-18 (w/ BUF). He is looking to become the fourth player to capture the trophy with the Blues, joining Phil Goyette (1969-70), Brett Hull (1989-90) and Pavol Demitra (1999-2000).
Headline photo: NHL
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