The last of the NHL award finalists were announced on Monday when the final three for the Mark Messier Leadership Award, new to the stable of NHL hardward, were revealed. They are not surprisingly all three captains of their team; Dustin Brown from the Kings, Jonathan Toews from the Blackhawks and Daniel Alfredsson from the Senators.
Officially, the honor is given to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." Presumably it's trying to award the player who was most like Messier.
This award is different than other ones in that there isn't really any voting that takes place, it's a decision that's made by Messier himself. He will take suggestions/opinions from league executives but in the end he makes the call. Unorthdox to be sure.
Alfredsson has long been the face of the franchise in Ottawa and he has done all that you would expect from somebody in that position and more. While continuing to be a key player for the Senators, he has been incredibly active in the community with multiple organizations including the Boys & Girls Club. You won't find many people who have an ill word to say about Alfie.
Brown isn't as popular of a player around the league as Alfie is, but he's a pretty popular guy in LA. In fact, the Kings named him their most popular. On the ice he plays a very physical game but he turns that into charity off the ice, donating $50 for every hit he records (there's a good reason for some home cooking in the hits department, eh?) to a few different organizations. Of course, he is also the reigning Stanley Cup captain as well.
Then there is Toews, Captain Serious in Chicago. We all know how good of a player he is -- one of the best in the entire league -- and that he leads the Blackhawks well as their captain despite his young age. He fits the on-ice requirements well. He also is very active with the Make-a-Wish Foundation as well as a few children's hospitals both in Chicago and his home of Winnipeg.
Last year, Messier was on hand to announce the winner himself during the Stanley Cup Final in LA, Shane Doan of the Coyotes.