(Reuters) - While the biggest piece of silverware is not yet ready to be awarded, the NHL used a break in the Stanley Cup to hand out some hardware on Friday.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, who clash in Game Two of the best-of-seven series on Saturday, faced off against each other at the awards table.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews narrowly beat out Boston’s Patrice Bergeron for the Frank Selke Trophy honors, that goes to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
Toew‘s, whose trophy case already contains a Conn Smythe trophy as a Stanley Cup most valuable player, won in a photo finish collecting 1,260 points to edge Bergeron with 1,250.
Bergeron, however, did not leave empty handed, taking home the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice.
Ottawa Senators’ Paul MacLean, who guided his team to a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs despite working with a roster decimated by injuries, picked up the Jack Adams Trophy as coach of the year, beating out Blackhawks Joel Quenneville.
”When it started (injuries), it was like, Who’s next?“ said MacLean. ”But once we got kind of through it, we were thinking, We got to find a way to win.
”That’s what good teams do, is find a way to win. So we were challenged early in the season to find ways to win.
“The quality of our young players that we were able to bring up accepted that. I think that was a big reason for us having the success we had.”
Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding, who missed much of the season battling multiple sclerosis before returning for the playoffs, was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the player for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
”I don’t know if I ever really wanted to quit,“ said Harding. ”I found out about the diagnosis and obviously it hit me hard.
”But right away I knew I had to do something to kind of get back at it and find out what would work for me.
“During the year I had that tough stretch but I don’t think it ever crossed my mind that I was going to give up or anything like that.”
Other winners included Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis who took home the Lady Byng Trophy as the league’s most gentlemanly player beating out yet another member of the Blackhawks Patrick Kane.
The league’s most prestigious individual honors, including the Hart Trophy, which goes to the league MVP will be handed out on Saturday before Game Two.
Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby and Washington Capitals Alexander Ovechkin, both former-winners of the award, and New York Islanders John Tavares are the three Hart finalists.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden