"Personally, I hate to watch the game," Read said last week. "When you take a penalty, that's 2 minutes you're not able to get on the ice. I try to limit taking penalties as much as I can. And you want the help the team out, it's hard playing a lot of penalty-kill games.
"I try to limit as many opportunities as I can, by not getting lazy and putting my stick up in the waist or slashing, little things like that."
The Lady Byng Trophy, the NHL's third-oldest award, behind the Stanley Cup and Hart Memorial Trophy for league MVP, is awarded to the player who exhibits gentlemanly conduct and outstanding sportsmanship with a high standard of playing ability.
It's the trophy no player wants to win, with the thinking that you must play like a lady to earn it. It is also one of the most unfamiliar major awards in pro sports - Read himself acknowledged he didn't know the qualifications for the Lady Byng.
Not surprisingly, the Lady Byng - named after the wife of Viscount Byng, the governor general of Canada from 1921-26 - is one of the few awards no Flyer has ever won. The Flyers, known for blood and brawn, never have finished better than 23rd in penalty minutes per game since the lockout. They lead the league in penalty minutes per game this season.
Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell are two of the NHL's five members in the 20-goal, 100-penalty-minutes club this season. Brayden Schenn has played 25 fewer games than Read, but has nearly triple the time spent in the sin bin. Sean Couturier has only one more penalty than Read, but he isn't a candidate for the Byng based on point production.
In today's post-lockout league, though, there's something to be said about someone who can score and play hard minutes while staying out of the box. And that disciplined play is at a premium in the playoffs, where one power-play goal against can swing an entire series.
The amazing thing for Read is that staying away from the whistle is a relatively new phenomenon for him. In his last year of junior hockey, he racked up 110 penalty minutes in only 58 games with Des Moines in the USHL in 2006-07.
The transition to college hockey at Bemidji State - with added responsibilities from coach Tom Serratore - changed him as a player. He played major minutes for the Beavers all 4 years.
"You know that if you take the penalty, you won't be able to help the team kill that penalty," Read said. "Being in college and being on the penalty kill made me more aware."
Interestingly, Read's penalty minutes have risen over the second half of the season, when calls are traditionally harder to come by. Read has five minor calls in the last 32 games, compared with only one in his first 44 NHL games.
"It's that time of the year where the refs let us play for the two points at the end of the night," Read said. "I think it's better hockey that way because it's a rough style of hockey, it gets guys into the game, and it's a better sell [for fans]. At the beginning of the season, everything is called, every little stick infraction. I like playoff-style hockey."
The front-runner for the Lady Byng is the Islanders' Matt Moulson, who has 67 points and six penalty minutes. He is neck-and-neck with Edmonton's Jordan Eberle, who has 75 points and eight penalty minutes. Florida defenseman Brian Campbell, the NHL's leader in minutes played, is a great candidate with 51 points and six penalty minutes, but only two defensemen have won the award in the 86 times it's been handed out.
Tampa Bay's Marty St. Louis and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk have combined to win the Lady Byng every season since the NHL lockout. The only thing separating Read from being a finalist is points.
"That will come soon enough, I hope," Read said. "I just focus on trying to play as clean as I can and as hard as I can. Every shift, I try to do the little things right so you're not putting yourself or your team in a [bad] position."
Contact Frank Seravalli at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DNFlyers. Read his blog, Frequent Flyers, at www.philly.com/frequentflyers.