June 24, 2010
East Lansing, Mich. - Wednesday night's NHL Awards had a definitive Green & White tint as a pair of former Michigan State hockey players earned two of the league's top awards. Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres was named the recipient of the Vezina Trophy, given to the league's best netminder, while Duncan Keith (Chicago Blackhawks) was the recipient of the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman.
In addition, Miller was the recipient of the 12th Annual NHL Foundation Player Award. This award recognizes an NHL player who "applies the core values of hockey - commitment, perseverance and teamwork - to enrich the lives of people in his community". As a result, the NHL Foundation will make a $25,000 donation to Miller's Steadfast Foundation.
"I'm looking at all these names and the history on this trophy,' Miller told NHL.com. "To have my name on there is pretty amazing. My heroes are on here."
Both Miller and Keith were first-team NHL All-Stars, along with Mike Green (Washington), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver), Patrick Kane (Chicago), and Alex Ovechkin (Washington).
"To come out and be the guy who gets the award is kind of surreal a little bit," Keith commented to NHL.com moments after accepting his award. "To think of the other defensemen who have won it, and nominated, and the other Blackhawk players who have won it, Chris Chelios, Pierre Pilote to name a couple, to be in that group is kind of unbelievable."
The awards cap notable seasons for both former Spartans. Keith was a member of the gold-medal Canadian squad at the Olympics, and captured the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks earlier in the month. Miller was the Olympic MVP with his standout performances for Team USA at the Olympic Games, and helped the Sabres into the second round of the NHL playoffs after a two-year absence.
Miller's name appeared on 28 of 30 ballots, including 23 first-place votes (126 points). Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was second with 79 points, and Martin Brodeur of New Jersey was third with 32 points. For the Norris Trophy, Keith's 76 first-place votes was twice those received by Mike Green of Washington (34). LA blueliner Drew Doughty was third in the voting.