As defined, the The Mark Messier Leadership Award goes to: “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season.” With the second year without a captain, it’s easy to argue that “the leader” is yet to be identified, but that doesn’t mean that the team suffered from a lack of leadership based on the votes cast by the tUB team. Last year’s winner was Vinny, but now we have a new crop of contenders from which to pick. Who gets this year’s nod? Read on:
TheCoachUB: (1) Works hard, does all the right things on the ice, gives his heart and soul every single shift, yet is not exactly lacking in skill. He’s everything I want from a player on the ice. No player on the Jackets maximizes their gifts more than Dubinsky.
Gregin120: (1) I almost submitted my votes for the top three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award as 1) TBD, 2) TBD and 3) TBD. I mean, isn’t a little bit of an oxymoron to vote for a top leader on a team that didn’t have a captain? It’s weird, but maybe not an oxymoron. While the CBJ didn’t have a captain, they certainly had leaders. The problem is that even the organization determined that they didn’t really have a leader of leaders, somebody who stood high and above the other players enough to get the C. And that’s what makes this a very tough call. I’m going with Dub first because I believe his relentless style of play really rubbed off onto the team as a whole. Off the field, he even convinced my wife to “experience Myers Jewelers.”
AlisonL (1) Who is the go to guy on-ice when you have to shut down Sidney Crosby? Brandon Dubinsky. Who is the go to guy when you want a legitimate pulse on the room? Brandon Dubinsky. Who is the go to guy when you want a challenge to be better? Brandon Dubinsky. Who was 3rd in points in the regular season and 2nd in points in the post season? Brandon Dubinsky. Seems to fit the Messier bill alright.
CBJProspects (2) Heart on his sleeve and another leader in the room even if he occasionally snaps but when in control as Dubi goes so do the CBJ.
Gregin120: (2) Boone was more or less the leader of the “new guys” and like Dubi, exhibited a relentless style to his game that seemed to rub off on the likes of Johansen, Calvert, Murray and Prout. He is also the leader in the clubhouse for next guy to get the C.
AlisonL (2) Ever since we started to hear about Boone Jenner we heard about his leadership skill. When you have a bunch of young guys, and two guys brand new to the league and the team in general, you don’t necessarily expect to see it right away. Jenner thought otherwise. He came in with a defining style of play and also made it eminently clear to other teams that the rookie wasn’t going to be pushed around (he lead the team in drawn penalties and was 11th in the league in the regular season.) He’s also maintaining a lot of connections with younger guys and made an appearance at the Memorial Cup as well. Will Boone be named the next captain? I don’t know but if he isn’t, is that person just keeping the seat warm for the Jennerator?
TheCoachUB (3) A little strange for someone so young to be on this kind of list, but the way Jenner approaches everything is just what this award was made for. There is no off switch with him. Hell, the concept of ‘giving 110%’ doesn’t even make sense, as he only has one gear. That he’s able to play that way, get under opponents skin, and stay out of the penalty box (for the most part) shows incredible composure.
CBJProspects (1) I think JJ has been one of the lead voices in the room since he got here without having the C on his sweater. Johnson plays the most minutes and leads by example (even if it takes an Olympic snub to get him going more).
Gregin120: (3) He is the consummate professional on this team, a workhouse who rarely complains, rarely causes drama, and doesn’t back down from anybody.
TheCoachUB: (2) Foligno went through hell off the ice and it never impacted his play on it (at least in a negative way). He works his ass off on the ice, and is by all accounts a fantastic guy off of it.
CBJProspects: (3) Scorer, willing to step up for his teammates and always out in the community either appearing or on tv/radio.
AlisonL (3) We always hear about needing “character guys” but sometimes, part of that is being a ‘character’. Wisniewski came in, stayed healthy and finally brought home the kind of performance he’d been signed to bring. 2nd in points in the regular season, always willing to show swagger and personality and show that to the public as well. Wiz was out in the public – even through NHLPA videos and social media showing the team together, having fun, building culture and bringing intensity. You can’t argue that #21 had a part in defining to the hockey world what the Blue Jacket identity is all about.
Later this week we’ll name our final award winner, the winner of the Hart Trophy – the ultimate MVP. Who will it be? Stay tuned…