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Principe's Blog: Jordan Eberle-dy Bing Trophy

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
With 75 points and just 8 PIM's it seems Jordan Eberle is a sure candidate for the Lady Byng Trophy (Photo by Andy Devlin / EOHC).

Player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. That in 21 words explains the essence behind the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. A trophy named in honor of Lady Byng because Marie Evelyn Moreton(Lady Byng) was the one who donated it to the NHL. She was the wife of Viscount Byng of Vimy who was a war hero and eventually became the Governor General of Canada from 1921-1926. His wife was an avid hockey fan who in 1925 awarded the Lady Byng Trophy to Frank Nighbor from Ottawa. She actually chose the winner. From 1927-1935 Frank Boucher won it 7 times in 8 seasons so the orginal trophy was given to him. Lady Byng donated a second trophy for the 1935-36 season and they added Memorial to the title.

That's your history lesson on a trophy that could have Jordan Eberle's name on it for the 2011-12 season. If so Eberle will have to break the two season winning streak of Martin St.Louis. Before him Pavel Datsyuk won it four straight years. Eberle is attempting to become the third Oiler to win it. Wayne Gretzky, who won it a total of 5 times, won the trophy in 1979-80. He had 51 goals, 86 assists and 137 points and 21 penalty minutes. While Wayne would go on to win the Lady Byng four more times(three with LA and one with NYR) it was his right hand man Jari Kurri in 1984-85 that put together 135 points with 71 goals and 64 assists. He also had 30 penalty minutes and with it came the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

After Monday night's game Jordan Eberle sat 12th in league scoring with 75 points and a measly 8 penalty minutes to go with it. Of the top 30 scorers in the league only one other, Matt Moulson with NYI, had spent less time in the penalty box than Eberle. Moulson with 6 PIM's and 67 points. Here are some other names and numbers that would be in the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy conversation.

Claude Giroux 89 pts. 29 PIM's
Phil Kessel 78 pts. 20 PIM's
John Tavares 78 pts. 26 PIM's
Marian Hossa 77 pts. 18 PIM's
Ray Whitney 75 pts. 26 PIM's
Patrick Elias 74 pts. 16 PIM's
Anze Kopitar 73 pts. 18 PIM's
Martin St.Louis 71 pts. 16 PIM's
Jason Pominville 70 pts. 12 PIM's
Loui Eriksson 70 pts. 10 PIM's

Along with points and penalty minutes I go back to the definition that states sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. Despite the fact he's only 21 don't those characteristics aptly describe Eberle? I'm not saying we should be calling him Jordan the Patron Saint of Hockey but I honestly can't remember seeing him take a cheap shot at anyone and that it went uncalled. He does little to no complaining when it comes to the officials. He also, most certainly, falls under the 'high standard of playing ability' portion of the definition. It's an award that will be voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Each writer will list his top five. 10 choice one, 7 pts for choice two, 5 pts for choice three, 2 points for choice four and finally 1 point for choice number five. After that the three finalists will be determined and the winner will be honoured at the NHL awards in June.

Since 1925 when it was first presented the Lady Byng 'Memorial' Trophy has been awarded 86 times to 51 players. Jordan Eberle has made a strong case for him to be number 52.

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