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Finishing High Among Award Winners

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

On Wednesday night, the Panthers had two finalists for individual NHL awards for their work during the 2011-12 season.

While Dale Tallon failed to pick up the General Manager of the Year award, finishing second to St Louis GM Doug Armstrong, defenseman Brian Campbell did have more luck as he became the first Panthers award winner with regards to voting in franchise history.

As you know Campbell edged out Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle and NY Islanders foward Matt Moulson to become the third defenseman all-time to take home the Lady Byng trophy. The award is given to the player that adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.

In becoming the first defenseman since 1954 to take home that prestigious award, Campbell bucked the trend.

"It definitely is a great honor," said Campbell to following the Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. "There's a lot of people that I looked up to and there's elite, elite level players that could have had a chance and maybe at some point should have won the award, but I'm glad that we broke the trend as a defenseman and we'll see where it goes from here."

While Campbell was the big winner, other Panthers were showed some respect from the voters for strong seasons. Tallon's 88 points were 31 less than the award winner Armstrong. Head coach Kevin Dineen also almost made the trip to Vegas, finishing eight points short of topping third place finisher Paul MacLean of Ottawa (89 points). The top three finishers in each category are invited to the awards ceremony. Campbell did receive a vote in the Hart Trophy voting which ended up going to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.

And while it's unknown about the Masterton Trophy final tally in which Montreal's Max Pacioretty picked up the award, one has to think that Florida Tomas Fleischmann received support from the hockey writers association.

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