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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ex-Spartans take home NHL awards

Compiled by MiCHO Staff

Two former Michigan State stars earned NHL hardware last night in Las Vegas as Ryan Miller (1999-2002) was named the Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top goaltender and Duncan Keith (2001-2003) won the Norris Trophy for the best defenseman.

Miller, the 2001 Hobey Baker winner and an East Lansing native, also won the NHL Foundation Player Award.

Official NHL press releases below:

Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres has captured his first Vezina Trophy, awarded to the "goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position," as selected by NHL general managers.

Prior to 1981-82, the Vezina was awarded to the goaltender(s) whose team allowed the fewest goals during the regular season, the current criterion for the William Jennings Trophy.

Miller was named on 28 of 30 ballots, including 23 first-place selections, and collected 126 points. Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov finished a strong second, receiving votes on 27 of 30 ballots and totaling 79 points.

Miller led the Sabres to the Northeast Division title for the second time in the past four seasons. He set a franchise record and ranked fourth among NHL goaltenders with 41 wins, placed second in the league in goals-against average (2.22) and save percentage (.929) and tied a career high with five shutouts.

Miller continued to excel following his MVP performance for Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, going 9-2-1 in his first 12 decisions after collecting the silver medal in Vancouver.


Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks has won the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the defenseman demonstrating "the greatest all-around ability in the position," as selected by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

Keith received 76 of 133 first-place votes and 1,096 points to edge Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, who garnered 34 first-place votes and 831 points to earn a second-place finish in Norris Trophy voting for the second consecutive season.

Playing all 82 games for the third time in his five-year NHL career, Keith logged a total of 2,180:34 in ice time, the most among all NHL players. Having steadily increased his production each year, he took his offense to another level this season, registering career highs in goals (14), assists (55) and points (69). Keith ranked second to Green among NHL defensemen in assists and points. He posted a plus-21 rating and is plus-84 over the past three seasons.

Keith is the fourth Blackhawks defenseman to capture the Norris Trophy since it was first presented in 1954, joining Pierre Pilote (1963 through 1965), Doug Wilson (1982) and Chris Chelios (1993 and 1996). He is the fifth defenseman in the expansion era to win the Norris and the Stanley Cup in the same season, following Bobby Orr (Boston, 1970 and 1972), Larry Robinson (Montreal, 1977), Paul Coffey (Edmonton, 1985) and Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit, 2002 and 2008).


The National Hockey League Foundation today announced that Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller is the recipient of the 12th Annual NHL Foundation Player Award. The award recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to Miller’s Steadfast Foundation.

“We are very proud to award Ryan with the 2010 NHL Foundation Player Award,” said Kenneth Martin, Jr., NHL Vice President Community Affairs. “His commitment to numerous children’s charities and his personal dedication to the Steadfast Foundation in helping to find a cure for cancer exemplifies the commitment all our NHL players have in giving to their communities.”

Miller established the Steadfast Foundation to benefit those afflicted and affected by the consequences of cancer, especially childhood forms of the disease. The organization, which has raised more than $500,000 since it was created in 2006, was inspired by Miller’s cousin, Matt Schoals, who battled leukemia and eventually succumbed to the disease in 2007. The primary benefactor of the Steadfast Foundation is Carly’s Club, a support group for children and families who are fighting cancer. Miller-organized support programs for Carly’s Club include the Saves for Cancer program in 2008, which raised $30,000 based on Miller’s on-ice play, an agreement with Perry’s Ice Cream that has provided $20,000 to date based on sales of a new Miller-inspired flavor, Breakaway Berrier and a partnership with Buffalo Place to present the Downtown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, at which members of the community can purchase Saves for Cancer holiday ornaments.

Miller also hosts an annual Catwalk for Charity, during which he and his teammates model clothing from Miller’s The Refinery store in East Lansing. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $400,000. In addition, he donates suite tickets for all Sabres home games and HSBC Arena special events to Carly’s Club and is an active supporter of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, the Buffalo Sabres Adopt-a-Family program and the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.

As one of the Sabres’ most popular players, Miller is often called upon to assist with the Buffalo Sabres Foundation in its numerous community events and activities. He regularly spends time after games with fans that are sick, disabled or in need. Miller also participates in experiences that generate significant funds for the Buffalo Sabres Foundation despite the constant demands on his time.

NHL clubs submitted nominations for the NHL Foundation Player Award and the finalists were selected by a judging panel. Other finalists for this year’s honor were Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown and Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green.

Past recipients of the NHL Foundation Player Award include Rick Nash (2009), Vincent Lecavalier and Trevor Linden (2008), Joe Sakic (2007), Marty Turco (Michigan alum, 2006), Jarome Iginla (2004), Darren McCarty (2003), Ron Francis (2002), Olaf Kolzig (2001), Adam Graves (2000), Rob Ray (1999) and Kelly Chase (1998).

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