The 2012 NHL Awards Ceremony will be held tonight in the Encore Theater at Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Among all the awards that will be given out include the Hart Memorial Trophy for the most valuable player or the Jack Adams award for the best head coach, two will be of particular interest for Florida Panthers fans.
Both General Manager Dale Tallon and defenseman Brian Campbell are finalists for awards at the ceremony. Tallon is a finalist for the General Manager of the Year award and Campbell is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which is awarded to the player who shows the most sportsmanship while still playing at a high level.
Other finalists for the General Manager of the year award along with Tallon are Doug Armstrong of the Saint Louis Blues and David Poile of the Nashville Predators.
Other finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy besides Brian Campbell are Edmonton Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle and NY Islanders left winger Matt Moulson.
Campbell is looking to become the first Panthers player to win an award since Pavel Bure won the Maurice Richard Trophy in back-to-back seasons from 1999-2001 as the league’s top goal scorer.
This past season Campbell had 53 points, but his six penalty minutes in 82 games played are what really defined his season.
Campbell is happy that he’s up for an award, especially with being that his main position is helping stop the other team from scoring.
“It’s obviously a great honor, I don’t think too many defensemen get awarded,” said Campbell. “I don’t know why. It’s nice to change it up I guess. Buck the trend a little bit.”
Campbell takes pride in playing the game the right way within the confines of the rules. He noticed how playoff hockey was getting a little testy and was pleased to see it get cleaned up.
“The game can be played hard and played the right way,” the defensemen said. “Instead of guys getting hurt, it’s a good thing seeing guys playing hard and I think it’s starting to clear up a little bit in the playoffs as well.”
As for the man that made the trade to bring Campbell to the Panthers in a draft day trade to start the whole makeover, Tallon is also hoping to hear his name called. The NHL General Manager of the Year award is relatively new. It was first given out in 2010 to Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney. Voters for the award include the 30 GMs, five NHL executives, and five media members.
Tallon helped lead the Panthers to their first Division title in franchise history and first playoff appearance since 2000. The Panthers garnered 94 points this past season, which was a 22 point improvement from the year before.
Despite all he has done, Tallon is honored to just be nominated for the award.
“I feel honored to be selected by your peers,” said Tallon. “I have a lot of respect for those guys, it’s a tough job and they do it with class and dignity and they love the game, they have tremendous passion for the game.”
While honored to be a finalist, Tallon knows he couldn’t have done it without his staff and he credits them as well for the success the Panthers had this past season.
“It takes an army, but I’m proud of our efforts from our whole team,” the GM said. “It’s been a fun couple of years working with these people. They work hard, they’re passionate, [and] they all have opinions. We have some good arguments about players and that’s what makes it special.”
Hopefully at least one, if not both will take home awards, capping off what has been an already successful 2011-12 season in South Florida.