Popular captain Dustin Brown nominated for the Mark Messier Leadership Award

This is a well-earned nomination for a player beloved by all.

Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown has been nominated for the Mark Messier Leadership Award along with Jonathan Toews and Daniel Alfredsson. The award is presented to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season." Messier selects the finalists and the winner himself.

Here's what the league had to say about why Brown deserved to be a finalist:

Brown has spent his entire nine-year NHL career with the Kings, serving as their captain for the past five seasons. He was selected as the Kings’ Most Popular Player this season and is known for his physical playing style, which consistently places him among the League leaders in hits. Capitalizing on his aggressive style of play to help others, Brown makes a $50 donation for each hit he delivers to his opponents – a contribution he has made since the 2008-09 season. Those benefiting from this charitable initiative include the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and KABOOM!, a relationship that has raised $60,000 and culminated with a special playground built in Carson, Calif., in September 2010.

Brown's long history of charity work also earned him the NHL Foundation Award in 2011.

Given how many rabid meltdowns Dustin Brown has caused among rival fan bases lately--where horrified exaggeration is the norm--this nomination is sure to bring us even more amusement. I’ve seen greater respect shown to saintly players like Raffi Torres this year.

So while the nomination is well deserved, it comes with an extra side of delight for yours truly. I can't wait for the magic to happen. Can you?

Congratulations, Dustin!