Zdeno Chara might have lost out on this season's Norris Trophy, but he didn't come away from Wednesday's NHL Awards Show empty-handed. Chara earned the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is awarded annually to the player who exemplifies great leadership qualitites to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season.
The award is a testament to Chara's work ethic and contagious passion. The 6-foot-9 defenseman played in 81 regular-season games for the Bruins this season, compiling 14 goals, 30 assists and a plus-33.
The Bruins captain has been a staple on the Bruins' top defensive unit since arriving in Boston and being named captain in 2006. He, of course, helped lead the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
Tim Thomas, who was awarded his second Vezina Trophy on Wednesday as the league's top goaltender, thanked his teammates upon winning award. He said that goalie is a team-dependent position, and he would likely tell you that Zdeno Chara is one guy who makes his job a lot easier.
With a large frame, great defensive ability and a big-time shot, Chara has earned the respect of teammates and opponents. His contributions off the ice further validify his status as a leader.
The Mark Messier award has been given out since 2006-07. Previous winners include Chris Chelios, Mats Sundin, Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby.
Suggestions for the award's nominess come from fans, clubs and NHL personel, although the ultimate decision on the nominess and the winner is made by Mark Messier himself. Messier is a six-time Stanley Cup champion and one of only three players to have captained three teams.
Chara beat out Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Shane Doan and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (who won this year's Norris Trophy).
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