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NHL names Spurgeon finalist for Lady Byng trophy

The Wild captain is one of three up for the award, which goes to the player who exhibits "the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct."

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Wild Captain Jared Spurgeon has long had a reputation for excellence without being chippy, and that was underlined Wednesday when the NHL announced he is one of three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy. 

Spurgeon, an undersized defenseman, was nominated by hockey writers for leading Wild defenders in productivity (10 goals, 30 assists) while drawing just five minor penalties in 65 games. It is the seventh time in Spurgeon's 12 NHL seasons that he has been assessed 10 penalty minutes or fewer. 

He is seeking to become the Wild's first Lady Byng winner. 

While Spurgeon has clearly established a reputation for clean play, he did acquire a blemish during the recent playoff series with St. Louis when clearly frustrated, he delivered a hard cross check to the back of Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich in the final minutes of Game 1. The action cost the captain a $5,000 fine. 

The other Lady Byng finalists are Winnipeg Jets forward Kyle Connor and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, both of whom also drew 10 penalty minutes or less. Slavin is the reigning Lady Byng winner, and would be the first to win the award in consecutive seasons since Martin St. Louis did it in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. 

A bit of history... the trophy's namesake Lady Byng was the wife of Canada’s Governor General when she awarded the first sportsmanship trophy following the 1924-25 season. After Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers won the award seven times in eight seasons, he was given the trophy to keep and Lady Byng donated another trophy in 1936. 

After Lady Byng’s death in 1949, the NHL presented a new trophy, changing the name to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

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