|Parise earned team MVP for the second straight year. |
Winning teams are put together with many different components, from scorers to defensive specialists to role players.
The Devils handed out their player awards on Wednesday, in recognition of the contributors that have Jersey’s Team contending for their ninth Atlantic Division title.Zach Parise
, who this year became the first player in franchise history to record four consecutive 30-goal seasons, was named Most Valuable Player for a second straight season. He leads the Devils with 35 goals and 39 assists. Andy Greene
, who excelled as the Devils’ top defenseman in the absence of Paul Martin, was named Unsung Hero. Mike Mottau received Players’ Player honors.
Alumni Association Director Bruce Driver was named this year's recipient of the Dr. John J. McMullen Service to New Jersey Hockey Award.
Devils legend and Hall of Famer Scott Stevens announced Parise as MVP. Stevens won the award in 1993-94.
“This year’s MVP goes to a player that seems to always find a way to get it done with his hard work and his desire, game in, game out,” Stevens said. “He’s very consistent and plays the game with a lot of passion.”
Greene stepped into a big role on the Devils’ defensive core this season, eating up major minutes and quarterbacking the power play while Martin recovered from injury.
“This is a guy that has been a real hard worker,” said assistant coach Tommy Albelin. “Last year he was very much in and out of the lineup all the time. He’s done a tremendous job to his game, spending lots of his summers here, working out, skating, power skating, lifting weights and doing all of the right things to become the player he is today. He’s been really contributing this year.”
Albelin won the Unsung Hero in 1995 and joked Wednesday that some past recipients wound up being traded. He was shipped to Calgary in 1996 as part of a five-player deal for Phil Housley.
“Guess this will be my last speech since I guess I’m getting traded next year,” Greene deadpanned. He has tallied six goals and 28 assists in 73 games this year to crush his previous career high of 10 points set in 2007-08. He made 49 appearances last year, collecting two goals and seven assists.
Mottau, in his third full campaign with New Jersey, is on pace to set career highs in assists and points. He has two goals and 14 helpers in 74 appearances this season, surpassing his points total of a year ago. His award was announced by assistant coach Mario Tremblay.
“There’s a lot of good teammates in the this room, and I’m humbled to get the vote from each guy,” Mottau said.
Driver, winner of the McMullen Award, played in 12 seasons with the Devils, and was a member of their 1995 Stanley Cup championship. He is currently in his 12th year as director of the team’s alumni association, making 150 personal appearances in the community each season.
The defenseman had career totals of 96 goals and 390 assists for 486 points and 670 penalty minutes in 922 games with New Jersey and NY Rangers.
He has served as head coach of Morristown-Beard School’s girls’ ice hockey team since 2000-01, and has spent the last 10 seasons volunteering as the head coach for both the Montclair (NJ) hockey club’s house and travel teams.
Driver co-authored, along with Clare Wharton, The Baffled Parent’s Guide to Coaching Youth Hockey
"I feel very honored and humbled to be receiving the Dr. John J. McMullen Service to New Jersey Hockey Award today," Driver said. "To read the list of all the past winners is like reading a who's who of hockey circles in New Jersey. I'm honored to be in their company."
Sponsored by the Devils and named after the club's late founder, the Dr. John J. McMullen Service to New Jersey Hockey Award is presented annually to an individual who has served the sport of ice hockey throughout the State of New Jersey. It is awarded annually by McMullen's son, Peter, who serves as the team's Executive Vice President of Operations.
Past recipients include Devils' President, CEO and General Manager Lou Lamoriello and Chairman and Managing Partner Jeff Vanderbeek and wife, Debbie.