Ryan Getzlaf, Andrew Ladd and Jonathan Toews named finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award

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LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 24: (L-R) Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and former NHL player Mark Messier stand onstage to present the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award to Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings during the 2014 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on June 24, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Cuba Gooding Jr.; Mark Messier; Dustin Brown
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Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2014-15 Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by a tire company to “the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice, during the regular season,” the National Hockey League announced Monday.

And in case you forgot … “Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.”

Oddly, the release for this award went into my Spam email folder, probably because the interwebs thought it was an advertisement for Bridgestone, which it is. 

Anyhoo, Mess clearly has something against Toews who inexplicably has never won the award, in spite of possibly being a better captain than Messier himself. Well, Toews never took the Stanley Cup to a strip club, so maybe not. He also hasn't dated Madonna ... yet.  

Missing from this list? Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, who is Messier-esque per his coach Barry Trotz. On a side note, when Trotz compared Ovechkin Messier/God in New York, wasn’t that great? I thought so. Just because Rangers fans don’t get the water Messier walked on was actually ice. And that gliding/walking ability was caused by these things he wore called skates. Now if he could turn the ice into wine … he’d have a refreshing alcoholic beverage! 

Photo via http://www.gretzkyestateswines.com
Photo via http://www.gretzkyestateswines.com

Jokes aside, Messier was a great leader and this is a fun award to poke because it’s sponsored by a tire company and selected by Messier and nobody else. It’s still not as bad as the general manager of the year selected by the general managers, a group of the most humble men you will ever meet.

To the finalists please ...

Why Ryan Getzlaf Deserves The Messier Award

From the NHL:

Anaheim’s captain since 2010-11, Getzlaf led the Ducks with 25-45—70 during the regular season to power the club to its second consecutive Western Conference title. Off the ice, he continued his philanthropic endeavors throughout Orange County, highlighted by the annual Getzlaf Golf Shootout. This year’s event generated more than $300,000 for CureDuchenne, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds research for those suffering from the progressive muscle-wasting disease. Getzlaf also continued his efforts to grow hockey in Southern California, partnering with teammate Corey Perry to support – both in money and time – the Anaheim Ducks Learn to Play Program, which offers free classes for first-time hockey players ages 4-12.

It’s the hair, or lack thereof per Ovi. Moving on.

Why Andrew Ladd Deserves The Messier Award

From the NHL:

Ladd, the franchise’s captain for the past five seasons, established career highs with 38 assists and 62 points to propel the Jets to their best campaign in club history. Also known for his leadership role off the ice, Ladd partners with Special Olympics in a variety of fundraisers and activities. Those include tickets to games, meet-and-greets and floor hockey tutorials. This year, Ladd increased his participation with organization – which provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities – by serving as the presenter of medals at the Special Olympics Manitoba Games, donating his time in live-auction prizes and attending the Stars ‘FORE’ Special O Golf Tournament as a celebrity host.

To be honest, Ladd’s a really underrated captain. He’s stewarded the Thrashers/Jets organization through some tough times. That locker room is as tight as can be and Ladd deserves major credit. Between the Evander Kane stuff, and Dustin Byfuglien committing a few different acts internally and externally, the Jets stayed the course and made the playoffs. A lot of that is coach Paul Maurice. A lot is also Ladd.

Why Jonathan Toews Deserves The Messier Award

From the NHL:

Chicago’s captain since he was just 20-years-old, Toews led the club with 28-38—66 in the regular season to guide the Blackhawks to their seventh consecutive playoff berth. He also built upon his work in the community, where he actively participates in various team endeavors, including Make-A-Wish visits and the Four Feathers Golf Invitational. Independently, Toews served as the honorary chairperson for the Israel Idonije Fundraiser, which helps underserved communities by providing programs focused on social and emotional life skills; supported The Winnipeg Foundation in creating its Nourishing Potential campaign; and continued his role with Misericordia, a Chicago group that offers care for those with mild to profound developmental disabilities.

He is the best captain in hockey. He has been the best captain in hockey since his first Stanley Cup in 2009-10. He is arguably the best player in hockey. He has never won this award. Mess, for the love of all things holy, just give it to him.

Who Wins The Messier Award 

Ladd

Because Mess will continue to screw over Toews. And our bald man theory on Getzlaf last year didn’t work. 

Our Top Choice

Toews

Because he’s the best captain in the NHL since Messier retired and the fact that Mess hasn’t picked him is ridiculous. 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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