If in fact the eyes have it, then Mark Messier has IT all. Intimidation, skill, leadership, heart. These are just a few of the words used to describe the Moose. In honour of Messier's most pointed to quality, that of leadership, they have decided to create the Mark Messier (leadership) Award.
"The NHL is fortunate to have so many players that embody all the attributes of great leadership," Messier said in a statement. "This award provides an opportunity for me to acknowledge the players who lead by example and bring out the best in others, both within their sport as well as in the community."
I have some mixed feelings about this award. While I think its especially cool that Messier himself has some say in the award, is it really neccessary to hand it out 5 times in a season? The best leaders lead all year, not just for a month or two. And what happens if (when?) Messier gains a management position with a team (Rangers) in the NHL? Will he still have a say in who the award goes to? Won't that be a conflict of interest?
And while I have no problem naming an award after Messier, I still feel there are a couple of the best players of all time who still have not had a 'memorial' (in quotes because I don't think we should wait until they're dead, memorial could refer to memorializing their careers) trophy created.
Either way, congratulations to Brendan Shanahan for being named the first recipient of the Messier Award.
Obviously, I would like to reprimand the NHL for not giving JM Liles even a 1 game suspension for what was an obvious knee. The NHL is claiming that since Smyth isn't hurt (who knows for sure yet, although its being initially diagnosed as a charliehorse), its no harm, no foul. This is exactly the sort of idiotic logic that I've been decrying. If players do not see like-punishment for like-actions, the actions will never altered. Basically what the NHL is saying is that really its ok to knee the living shit out of your opponent, so long as you do it at the end of the game and it looks like the victim will probably be back next game.
I would bet that if that play was earlier on in the game, Smytty would have still missed the remainder as a precaution, and Liles would have been suspended simply because Smyth missed more of the game.
This is typical NHL. Raffi Torres lays down a clean hit on Jason Williams who has his head down WITH the puck, and everyone scrambles to try and stop that play from happening again (hint, skate with your head up). But Liles knees a player who doesnt even have the puck and the NHL says no big deal.
You can expect payback as long as next game is out of reach for one team.