Mark Messier Leadership Award Finalists: Alfredsson vs. Brown vs. Toews

The NHL announced the finalists for the 2012-13 Mark Messier NHL
Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, because only our greatest NHL awards have title sponsors.

Daniel Alfredsson of the Ottawa Senators, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the award, which is presented 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 today.

According to the NHL:

“Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel and NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.”

We’re rather enamored with the idea that Mark Messier has a lemonade stand-like booth outside of NHL regular-season games with a handwritten “ASK ME ABOUT MY LEADERSHIP AWARD” sign above it. Typical conversation goes like this:

MESS: “So who is your pick for the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season?”

FAN: “I think Ryan Callahan might be one the Rangers' greatest captains and leaders.”

MESS: [Laughs dismissively] Yeah, I supposed he's OK ... if you like guys that have never guaranteed a victory in the Eastern Conference Finals and on his way to breaking a 54-year curse to bring the Stanley Cup to New York. Also, not bald enough, sorry. NEXT!”

Who wins this Mess?

Why Daniel Alfredsson Deserves The Mess

Via the NHL:

Alfredsson, the NHL’s longest-serving active captain, leads the Senators in numerous categories, including games played, goals, assists and points. He has taken a leadership role off of the ice as well, working with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health and the Sens Foundation. Alfredsson has supported the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa for the past 10 seasons, purchasing tickets and suites for club members to attend Senators games and serving as title sponsor of Ringside for Youth, the club’s primary fundraising event during the season. Since 2008, he also has been the spokesperson and champion for the Royal’s “You Know Who I Am” campaign, leading the way to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. In addition, Alfredsson has supported the Royal’s “Do It for Daron” campaign to assist in raising the profile of youth mental health issues.

Alfie’s off-ice credentials for this award are really inspiring, but so is the way he helped keep the team on track during a season of injury adversity. He’s bridged the gap between the vets and the young players for the last two seasons. A captain worthy of the ‘C’.

Why Dustin Brown Deserves The Mess

The NHL says:

Brown has spent his entire nine-year NHL career with the Kings, serving as their captain for the past five seasons. He was selected as the Kings’ Most Popular Player this season and is known for his physical playing style, which consistently places him among the League leaders in hits. Capitalizing on his aggressive style of play to help others, Brown makes a $50 donation for each hit he delivers to his opponents – a contribution he has made since the 2008-09 season. Those benefiting from this charitable initiative include the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and KABOOM!, a relationship that has raised $60,000 and culminated with a special playground built in Carson, Calif., in September 2010.

If Brown played in Minnesota, he’d be flat broke based on the number of phantom hits he’d be credited for making. But we digress – Brown deserves a ton of credit for his leadership by example and in the room during the push for the Cup last postseason. Also, he embarrasses the Canucks, much like Messier did.

Why Jonathan Toews Deserves The Mess

The NHL says...

Toews was named captain of the Blackhawks in 2008 when he was just 20-years-old, making him the third-youngest captain in NHL history at the time. While his leadership on the ice is undisputed, his role off the ice with various children’s charitable causes makes him an undeniable role model to fans. In his spare time, Toews volunteers to grant wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and visits with patients at the local children’s hospital and Chicago’s Misericordia. Last fall, he returned home to join the Winnipeg Patrolmen Hockey Club and other NHL players for the “Goals for Dreams Hockey Challenge,” which helped raise $80,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Dream Factory, a charity that grants dreams for critically and chronically ill children.

Odd they didn’t include his greatest charity case, Patrick Kane …

Without question, a player that personifies everything one wants out of a captain in the NHL, even when he’s whining about the officiating.

Who Should Win The Mess?

Alfredsson. For all the adulation Paul MacLean receives for keeping the Senators in line during adversity, shouldn’t the captain get a pat on the back as well?

Who Will Win The Mess?

Toews, because he inexplicably hasn’t won it yet despite being the best captain in the NHL.