Better With Popcorn

A look at potential winners of the Flyers team awards

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Flyers will play their final home game of the 2011-12 regular season at Wells Fargo Center when they take on the Buffalo Sabres.

Prior to the game, the Flyers organization will host a pre-game ceremony that will present the team’s annual awards.

The team will be presenting six awards tomorrow night:

The Bobby Clarke Trophy, which will be presented to the team’s Most Valuable Player.

The Barry Ashbee Trophy for best defenseman

The Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy to most improved player

The Yannick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award

The Gene Hart Memorial Trophy for the player who demonstrates the most heart throughout the season

The Toyota Cup for the player who earns the most points associated with being selected as a “Star of the Game,” which of course Claude Giroux officially clinched a long time ago.

Here are some possible candidates for the trophies:

The Bobby Clarke Trophy: Claude Giroux

This award without a doubt will go to Giroux.

Winner of the honor last season, Giroux earned the award early this season by strapping a revamped Flyers team on his back and carrying them into the conversation as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite.

Not only was he by-and-far the Flyers MVP, he may also earn a nomination as a finalist for the league MVP.

Registering career highs in each statistical category, Giroux has compiled 28 goals, 64 assists and 92 total points in 76 games played. 

He is currently second in the league in assists and third in total points.

The Barry Ashbee Trophy: Braydon Coburn

This of course is probably the hardest trophy to award.

It’s no secret that this unit was largely the Flyers weak point all season.

Be that as it may, this award will probably go to Braydon Coburn.

After signing a four-year, $18 million extension back in November, a lot was expected of Coburn this season. This was compounded when captain Chris Pronger went down due to injury.

Coburn has largely answered the bell.

Utilizing his large frame, Coburn has discovered a new found respect for the physical game registering 159 hits this season, the second most only to Nicklas Grossmann’s 164.

Coburn has the second highest ice-time average of any other defender on the team (22:03) and leads the club with 32 take-aways.

He is a mainstay of the penalty kill, logging an average of 3:18 of PK time per game.

Coburn has registered four goals, 19 assists and 23 points in 79 games this season.

Despite the chaos on the backend, Coburn has largely been a consistent piece.

The Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy: Scott Hartnell

This trophy is supposed to go to the member of the team who is most improved from last season.

Obviously, guys like Max Talbot and Wayne Simmonds have gone above-and-beyond what they did last season.

But, assuming that this means a member of last season’s Flyers team, this award goes to Scott Hartnell.

Hartnell is having the greatest season of his career.

He has played in all 80 games and has recorded (or tied) career highs in all three offensive categories, registering 37 goals, 30 assists and 67 points in addition to being named to his first ever All-Star team.

It was documented earlier this season that after a discussion with Giroux and Jaromir Jagr, that he rededicated himself to training so that he could improve his strength and stamina in order to handle the minutes that come along with playing on the first line.

There is no denying that he has been more than capable to handle those minutes.

The Yannick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award: Wayne Simmonds

This award is presented by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice.

Wayne Simmonds would make a great candidate for this award.

Registering a career high in goals (28) as well as total points (49), in addition to being one of the hardest working members of the team, Simmonds has displayed that he can play.

Starting the season off on a bad-foot when a fan threw a banana at him during a shootout attempt in a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings, Simmonds has done nothing but impress fans and media members alike with his work ethic and class.

Regularly staying long after his media availability expires, Simmonds has endeared himself as a friend to the media.

This will be a chance to reward him for his character.

The Gene Hart Memorial Trophy: Wayne Simmonds

This award also could go to Simmonds.

Voted on by the Flyers official fan club, it is basically the fan’s equivalent to the Dupre award.

Considering his on-ice contributions as well as his willingness to fight all takers and play through pain (he scored a goal off his face), there are few players that demonstrate more heart than Simmonds.

Players like Hartnell and Talbot could also receive consideration for this award.

Make sure to let us know who you think will be walking away with honors tomorrow night.


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