Another highlight has been added to Jason Pominville
’s sensational season, as the 25-year-old Sabres winger was today named as one of three finalists for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Joining Pominville in the final three are perennial Lady Byng favorites Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit) and Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay). Datsyuk is going for his third straight award, while St. Louis has been a finalist in three of the past four seasons.
Pominville is looking to become the second Sabres to win the award, presented annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Gilbert Perreault captured the Lady Byng in the 1972-73 season.
"I think if there’s a guy that plays the game hard and plays it in all areas of the ice and is a classy guy off the ice, as well as the way he plays on the ice, it’s very well deserved," said head coach Lindy Ruff. "I think that the recognition he is getting is probably late in coming.
"But he's now getting recognition for the type of player he is.”
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Lady Byng Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters announced as finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday, June 12 during the 2008 NHL Awards Television Special, which will be broadcast live throughout Canada on CBC and the United States on VERSUS from the historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
Pominville played in all 82 games for the second straight year, and finished second on the team in scoring by posting career-highs in assists (53) and points (80) along with a team-leading plus-16 rating. His final total of 20 penalty minutes was the lowest of his career, as he picked up minor penalties in just eight of 82 games.
Pominville, Datsyuk (20) and St. Louis (26) had the three lowest PIM totals of all players ranked among the Top 20 in league scoring.
Named as Buffalo’s captain for the final two months of the season, Pominville was the team’s most consistent point producer as he collected points in 55 of 82 games. This includes a career-high consecutive game point streak of 10 games from Feb. 17-Mar.5, along with two other streaks of seven and eight games.
Pominville placed near the top of the NHL scoring charts after the All-Star break, notching 42 points over his final 34 contests; only Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (49), Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (47) and Sabres linemate Derek Roy
(44) tallied more. During these 34 games, Pominville was assessed a total of just five minor penalties.
A native of Repentigny, Que., Pominville has elected to use his dual citizenship status to play for the United States in the 2008 World Hockey Championships that begin on May 2 in Halifax, N.S.