Prior to Thursday’s 2-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the Flyers paused as they do for the final home game of every season to honor the best players in several categories.
The “Gene Hart Memorial Award” is a relatively new honor, first given out in 2007 and granted to the player judged to have the best rapport with fans. It is the lone honor chosen by the fans, as the team’s fan Board of Directors gets to choose. Wayne Simmonds is certainly deserving, for his efforts in the community and overall genial personality.
Yanick Dupre Class Guy Award, given to the player judged to have the best rapport with the media was given to wise veteran Jaromir Jagr. Jagr returned from a three-year Russian sojourn and as a 40-year-old who has been through 18 NHL campaigns, was probably a unanimous choice.
The “Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Award” rewards the player judged to have shown the most improvement from one season to the next, so the natural and rightful choice there was Scott Hartnell, who racked up career highs in goals (37), and points (67) while tying a career best in assists (30) during his 11th pro season.
An obvious choice for the club’s top defenseman, the “Barry Ashbee Trophy” was won by Kimmo Timonen for the third time in his five-year Philadelphia tenure. He joined Flyers and NHL Hall of Fame member Mark Howe (4) as the only rearguards to win the honor at least three times.
Claude Giroux was a clear-cut selection for the “Bobby Clarke Trophy” as the club’s most valuable player. A 28-goal, 93-point season while recovering from a concussion in-season will do that for a player, won’t it? It’s his second straight Clarke honor.
Giroux also won the Toyota Cup after racking up the most total points through being named on of the Three Stars most often this year.