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Parise named finalist for 2009 Lady Byng

by Staff Writer / New Jersey Devils
Parise became one of the NHL's top young stars in 2008-09, and has been nominated for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Zach Parise led the Devils in scoring during the regular season, and could add a piece of hardware at this year's NHL Awards.

Parise was announced Friday as a finalist for the 2009 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy given out annually to the NHL player exhibiting the best sportsmanship. This year's other finalists are Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, who's seeking his fourth straight, and Tampa's Martin St. Louis.

Parise emerged as one of the NHL's top stars in his fourth season. He played in his 300th game, got his 100th goal and 200th point.

Parise's determination is evident in every shift and he is the primary reason for the great improvement in the Devils' offensive attack.

Some players are described as "strong on their skates" and Parise is a prime example. He is average-sized at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, but strong as a bull and well-balanced. That allows him to play effectively against players 20 or more pounds heavier.

I was surprised. It wasn't something I was expecting, but of course it’s an honor. There are some great players in this League that have won this award. It was a great feeling when I found out. - Zach Parise
The son of former NHL player J.P. Parise and a product of Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep and the University of North Dakota, Parise's hockey education is second-to-none.

Parise had a big campaign. He played every game and finished third in the League with 45 goals and fifth with 95 points, up 29 points from a year ago, his previous career-best. Parise finished eighth in the NHL and second on the Devils with a plus-30 rating.

Parise is adept at finding time and space to shoot as evidenced by his 364 shots, third-highest in the NHL. His eight game-winning goals were seventh-best in the NHL and a testament to his determination to make a difference. He had 14 power-play goals, eighth-highest in the League. He led all Devils forwards with an average of 18:45 minutes of ice time and had only 24 penalty minutes all season.

Officially, the Lady Byng rewards "the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

Past winners have included: Wayne Gretzky, Ron Francis, Joe Sakic, Joe Mullen, Mike Bossy, Jari Kurri, Marcel Dionne and Syl Apps Jr.

The 2009 NHL Awards will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on June 18 on VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.
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