Auston Matthews of the Leafs among the finalists for the NHL Lady Byng Award

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly are the three finalists for the 2019-2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.The prize is awarded annually to the player who best combines sportsmanship, gentlemanly conduct and ability.

Matthews finished third in the NHL with a career high of 47 goals, one behind Maurice (Rocket) trophy co-winners Richard Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak, while surpassing the Maple Leafs with 80 career points in 70 games.

The 22-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, native also established a career low with eight penalty minutes, tied for the smallest of the top 100 NHL scorers. He did so by sharing second place in the Takeout League (78) and placing eighth among NHL attackers at all times on the ice (1,467 minutes 52 seconds).

“It’s not a fun place to watch the game from the penalty area,” said Matthews. “I prefer not to spend my time there. I’m not too physical or a player in the face. I try to use my body position and I use my stick and my little skills to win puck battles, win the puck back and play my game.

“There are a lot of ups and downs … try not to get too emotional. ”

Matthews’ exemplary conduct on the ice, however, came after an unfavorable start to the season when news broke in September that he was facing a charge of disorderly conduct and disruptive behavior resulting from an alleged incident in May in the exterior of his Scottsdale, Ariz condominium.

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Matthews apologized in November after the charges were dismissed following an agreement between the parties.

MacKinnon placed fifth in the NHL with 93 points (35 goals, 58 assists) in 69 games to lead the Avalanche in the playoffs for the third consecutive season. The 24-year-old from Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, recorded a minimum of 12 career penalty minutes, the second lowest in the top 25 scorers in the league. No other NHL striker spent an average of more time on the ice (9:13 p.m.) in 2019-20 while taking fewer penalties.

O’Reilly led the defending Stanley Cup Blues with 61 points (12 goals, 49 assists) in 71 games to propel the team to the highest point percentage in the Western Conference. The 29-year-old Clinton, Ont., Dominated the NHL in both head-to-head wins (880) and face-offs (1556), ranking 10th among qualifying players with a percentage of head-to-head wins opposite 56.6.

O’Reilly received five minor penalties, the sixth time in 11 NHL seasons, totaling 10 penalty minutes or less, while ranking seventh in the Takeout League (69) and 10th among NHL attackers at all times on the ice (1460: 45). ).

“It’s amazing to be nominated,” said O’Reilly. “It’s an honor and I can’t wait to find out who will be the winner. “

Ryan, Lindblom and Johns named Masterson finalists

Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan, Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom and Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns are finalists for the 2020 Bill Masterton Trophy.

The award is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of persistence, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.

Ryan entered the NHL / NHL Player Assistance Program on November 20 for help with alcohol dependence. After releasing his story to help others with addictions, an emotional Ryan returned to the ice on February 27 and scored three times in a 5-2 victory over Vancouver.

“My trip started in November, but the process to get there started long before,” said Ryan on Thursday during a videoconference. “It was not healthy, I was not doing the right things for myself and I was not dealing with many things that were not controlled by myself, my group around me for a long period of time.

“Once I started to identify these things, the sober part was the easy part. It’s about having conversations now and giving up some things that bothered me for a very, very long period of time that I put aside and tried to avoid alcohol with avoidance, with what whether it be. ”

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Ryan said he still has some tough days, but downtime is more distant.

“I feel like I am in a much better place than I have ever been in my life,” he said. “And it only comes with work. I did it and I feel good. ”

Johns missed all of last season and the first 47 games of it with painful headaches from post-concussion syndrome. He scored four games on his return on February 3 against the Rangers, with his parents at Madison Square Garden.

“My journey has been long. In the first five or six months, I did everything I could to get back on the ice as soon as possible, ”said Johns. “I have never in my wildest dreams [thought] it would take 22 months to get there. But I think about a year ago I started to lose a lot of hope because every doctor I went to see or every specialist I went to see told me one thing and then the other told me something else . A handful of them told me that they would probably never tell me to play hockey again.

“I relied a lot on my support system, probably too much at times. But it was probably the biggest thing that helped me get through. ”

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Lindblom was diagnosed in December with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that develops in the bones or in the tissues around the bones. He completed radiation therapy on July 2.

The rising star has scored 11 goals and 18 points in 30 games this season. Although he recently skated at the Flyers complex in Voorhees, New Jersey, he was left out of the game when the season resumed in the NHL.

“It’s unbelievable what he went through,” said Johns of Lindblom, who was not on call because he underwent procedures as part of his recovery. “Very different from our situations. It was a story that everyone in the NHL was following.

“It’s just amazing how good he is. “

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