Friends, fans, writers, lend me your ears.
We are well past the three quarter-mark of the NHL season and it's time to talk about possible award winners. For the first time since the dynasty 80's era, Oiler fans have a chance to see one of our heroes take home the hardware. Not one but two Oilers have a real chance this year to have their names embedded in NHL history. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins can become the first Oiler ever, to win rookie of the year and the Calder Memorial Trophy. The other Oiler is of course Jordan Eberle who should garner some interest for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. While Nugent-Hopkins is almost a shoe in for the Calder, Eberle is more of a long-shot.
It's been an onerous journey for Eberle this season, one in which he should receive some deserved recognition. The Lady Byng is awarded to the player who displays sportsmanship along with a high level of hockey skill. In the past the award usually goes to a player who finishes high in the points standings and low in penalty minutes taken. Players Pavel Datsyuk and Martin St. Louis have been the lone recipients over the last six years. There are not many players more well known than Datsyuk and St. Louis.
When it comes to popularity, Jordan Eberle is relatively unknown out east. This was prevalent at this years All-star game. With both of the teams captains playing out east, neither one had seen Eberle play more than a few times. Jordan wasn't used in the skills competition despite having arguably the best hands in the league. It's only Eberle's second season in the league and many players out east have yet to play against him. Eberle needs more exposure to both the fans and the media out east.
The Lady Byng is determined by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA). The PHWA consists of 180 notable hockey journalists some of whom I follow on a regular basis. The problems is the PHWA consists mostly of eastern based writers who don't get the chance to watch teams that play in the west. It's not surprising that Joe Sakic is the last western based player that won the Byng back in 2001. I don't fault them, it's easier to vote for a player you see often as oppose to one you rarely see. Eberle's numbers warrant consideration with a 30 plus goal season and a mere 4 minor penalties. Oiler fans and hockey fans across the country need to inform all hockey journalists of Eberle's impressive season.
In the past there was little we could do about the lack of media attention form eastern sports journalists. Today we live in the Social Age, we now have the power to voice our opinion. A few weeks ago, Oiler fans showed their displeasure to TSN about delaying the Oiler/Blues game and Oiler fans used that social technology to change the decision. Why should we stop there?
No one this year has shown more perseverance and commitment to their team than Jordan Eberle. Let it be known that Jordan Eberle is deserving of the Lady Byng. Facebook your friends about Eberle. Tweet every hockey journalist you follow and get the name Eberle trending on twitter.