A Draft Candidate For Lady Byng

Posted: April 19, 1995

MIAMI — Among the Flyers, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is not the most coveted award. After all, their heritage reaches back to the Broad Street Bullies, and the Lady Byng is given annually to the NHL player the Professional Hockey Writers' Association decides has "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability."

In fact, no Flyer has won the Lady Byng, which was first awarded in 1926 and last season went to Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings.

This season, however, the Flyers have a legitimate candidate. Right winger Mikael Renberg went into last night's game with 23 goals and 26 assists but just 14 penalty minutes.

Only four regular skaters on the club had fewer penalty minutes, and none had Renberg's offensive statistics.

Renberg, one of the team's most unselfish players, does not generally speak at length about his personal goals or accomplishments. And when he was asked yesterday about the possibility of his winning the Lady Byng, Renberg had to endure the taunts of teammates.

You don't want to win that trophy, one told Renberg. That's for sissies, was the implication.

Flyers coach Terry Murray said Renberg has so few penalty minutes because he was obviously taught as a youngster in Sweden to play smart defensively and avoid bad penalties.

The importance of doing that was illustrated on Sunday, when the Pittsburgh Penguins committed two bad penalties in the final two minutes of the game against the Flyers and lost, 4-3, in overtime.

"He initiates the stuff," Murray said of Renberg. "He's the guy who is driving to the net, working hard in the corners, using his speed and size and strength to protect the puck. Whenever you're in that kind of a mode, you're not going to be retaliating. Also, he has the discipline."

Renberg said he doesn't know why he has so few penalty minutes. He said he plays as hard as he can. But he tries to use his head and keep his emotions under control.

"I try to avoid penalties," Renberg sad. "I want to be on the ice. I want to play."

ZETTLER RETURNS. Defenseman Rob Zettler played in place of the injured Dimitri Yushkevich last night against Florida, and the veteran said he was happy to be back in the lineup. However, Zetter said, his goal is to regain his starting position.

Zettler has not played in the last three games.

"It's unfortunate we had an injury to a key player, and Dimitri is one of our key players," Zettler said. "But I have to take advantage of my opportunities."

Yushkevich is sidelined for at least a few days with a sprained left knee.

JUHLIN FRUSTRATED. Rookie winger Patrik Juhlin has not scored a goal since March 12, the longest stretch of his hockey career, even back in Sweden.

"It's the first time in my life I'm having this much trouble getting points," Juhlin said. "I'm a little frustrated."

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