Team Awards Szn, Insiders!
Starting by sharing my discussion with Jesse Cohen on All The Kings Men about Team Awards, where we give our own selections and give reasoning as to why, as well as other players we considered for each award. Members of the media vote on four awards and Jesse and I gave our thoughts on two more as well, the awards voted on by the players.
As Voted by the Media
– Most Valuable Player – “Bill Libby Memorial Award” – Anze Kopitar
– Best Newcomer – “Mark Bavis Memorial Award” – Kevin Fiala
– Outstanding Defenseman – Drew Doughty
– Defensive Player – Anze Kopitar
Starting with the team awards, captain Anze Kopitar brought home two of the four awards as he was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player, as well as the team’s Best Defensive Player. Kopitar’s season is undeniable, as he once again led the Kings in scoring, as he’s done in every season but one since his rookie year. Kopitar will also pick up consideration for both the Selke Trophy and the Lady Byng Award. Can’t go wrong in pretty much every year with putting Kopitar in either of those two buckets in just about any season.
More to follow on Kopitar here in a few hours!
The other two awards were pretty much self explanatory, in my opinion. Kevin Fiala entered Game 82 as the team’s co-leader in scoring, despite missing the majority of the last few weeks due to injury. He’s the team’s Best Newcomer. Drew Doughty cracked the 50-point mark on the backend and is the team’s number-one defenseman on one of the NHL’s best suppression pairings. He’s the team’s Most Outstanding Defenseman.
As Voted by the Players
– “Ace Bailey Memorial Award” as Most Inspirational – Pheonix Copley
– Unsung Hero – Matt Roy
It’s nice that the players vote on these awards, because you get a true pulse on individuals who are appreciated in the locker room. Naturally, both selections here were not who Jesse or I had in our picks. Hard to argue with either, however, Pheonix Copley came in at a trying time on the season and provided a level of solid play that helped to straighten the season around. Coming in as largely a career AHL player, what he’s done in cementing his status as an NHL goaltender, while earning himself a contract extension in the process, has been inspirational indeed.
Regarding the Unsung Hero award, it’s actually pretty challenging to select someone as a team becomes better and better, because there starts to be a lot more singing, if you will, about players who perhaps previously went unsung. Trevor Moore and Blake Lizotte were the last two winners here and I think both have become loudly sung players. Roy perhaps falls into that group as well, as his style of play has become quite appreciated around the Kings community, but he’s still not a massive attention grabber in the grander picture. Roy had a career-high nine goals, but he plays a style of hockey that can be under appreciated by those outside of the room. Good on him to earn the praise for a strong season.
Community & Fan Awards
As Voted on by the LA Kings Booster Club
– Most Popular Player – Adrian Kempe
As Voted on by the Kings Care Foundation
– Jim Fox Community Service – Kevin Fiala
As Voted on by the LA Kings Hockey Development Department
– Daryl Evans Youth Hockey Service – Quinton Byfield
Three awards here, which are selected by groups outside the usual circle. Adrian Kempe takes home his first Most Popular Player Award, as selected by the LA Kings Booster Club, while Kevin Fiala and Quinton Byfield were both honored for their service to the community. Impressive to see newcomers take home those awards, but Fiala has been a regular with community events and initiatives, while Byfield has taken an interest in growing the game here in Southern California. Well-deserved for both players and a good sign that two guys who are expected to be here for the long haul are so invested in the community.
– King Clancy Memorial Trophy, LAK Nominee. Goes to our player who best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and has made a contribution in the community – Mikey Anderson
– Masterson Memorial Trophy, LAK Nominee. As selected by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PWHA) – Pheonix Copley
Mikey Anderson enters the conversation here, as LA’s nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded for both leadership and community contribution, as nominated by the Kings Care Foundation. Just one King – Dave Taylor – has won the award, back in the 1990-91 season. Copley’s nomination for the Masterton was covered HERE on LAKI the other day, a worthy selection by those involved.
More to come, Insiders! An extended-cut feature story on Anze Kopitar will be posted here in a few hours and expect to see the full, round-one schedule this evening, after the Colorado / Nashville game decides the Central Division. Plus a recap from AHL-Ontario, which plays its home finale this evening in the Inland Empire. Will be around the comments this morning and afternoon, hit me with your playoff questions!