BOSTON–Before stepping on the ice for a virtual must-win Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was named as one of three finalists for the NHL Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone. Messier made the announcement, adding Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings to his short, esteemed list.
The award recognizes players who are "superior leaders" on the ice, with teammates and in their communities. Messier, who makes the final call on the three nominees, looks to team and League officials for suggested nominees plus a list compiled by fans voting on NHL.com during the regular season.
"Zdeno is the true leader of the Boston Bruins," said Messier. "More importantly is his charity off the ice."
Messier said he was impressed with Doan's leadership, especially "if you look at the situation the last two years in Phoenix and the team made the playoffs both times." The former Cup winner with Edmonton and the New York Rangers added that he has "been looking at Nick for a long time…he filled big shoes when Stevie Yzerman left [the Wings] and nobody talked about lack of leadership despite Stevie Y leaving."
The winner be announced June 22 during the 2011 NHL Awards at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas that will be broadcast on Versus in U.S. and CBC in Canada. For more info on tickets to see Chara, Doan, Lidstrom and a full cast of NHL stars at the 2001 NHL Awards, check out http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/17004678D12B4220.
Messier also announced the 2011 winner of the Bridgestone Mark Messier Youth Leadership Award is Alex DePalma, who founded the Brick Stars Challenger Ice Hockey program for special needs children.