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AHL alumni up for NHL awards tonight

awards07_200.jpgSeveral American Hockey League graduates are up for major honors when the National Hockey League holds its annual awards ceremony in Toronto tonight.

Among them are New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, both up for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s outstanding goaltender and the Hart Trophy as most valuable player.

Two-time AHL All-Star Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary) is also nominated for the Vezina, while Luongo is also in the running for the Lester B. Pearson Award, given to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players’ Association.

Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis, also a former AHL All-Star, is up for the Lady Byng Award, which goes to the NHL’s most gentlemanly player. Jay Pandolfo of New Jersey and Samuel Pahlsson of Anaheim are finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward.

Pittsburgh’s Michel Therrien and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault, both nominated for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s outstanding coach, are not only former AHL head coaches, they also both won a Calder Cup as players in the AHL. Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff, the third finalist for the Adams, spent the 1991-92 season in the AHL as a forward for the Rochester Americans.

All voting is conducted at the conclusion of the regular season. Two other trophies, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey) and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (leadership and humanitarian contribution to his community), also will be presented at the awards ceremony.