Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hammer gets his due


If ever there was an unsung hero who didn't fit the mold, it's Roman Hamrlik, who was named yesterday as winner of the Jacques Beauchamp trophy, awarded annually to the Canadiens player deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the team without winning any particular honor.
As a former number one overall draft choice making 5.5 million dollars a year, Hamrlik represents a radical departure from past Beauchamp trophy recipients, like bottom six grinders Maxim Lapierre and Steve Begin and undrafted free agents Josh Gorges and Francis Bouillon. It was long-term injuries to fellow defencemen Gorges, Andrei Markov and Jaroslav Spacek that thrust Hamrlik into a much more prominent role than he's played in the past, and he's responded by providing yeoman's service in every aspect of the game and as a leader by example.
Short of the Canadiens training and medical staff, no one contributed more with less fanfare during this injury-plagued season, and despite not fitting the traditional profile of the improbable sentimental favorite, Hamrlik was a no-brainer for an award that in its own way is at least as gratifying as the heavier duty hardware they hand out to the glamour boys.

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