TORONTO – Bobby Orr and Doug Harvey may soon have company.
Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings captured his sixth career Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman, moving him only two behind Orr’s eight and one behind Harvey’s seven.
“I don’t feel like I belong with those guys,” said Lidstrom.
Others may disagree. He is now alone in third place all-time in Norris Trophies, breaking a tie with Ray Bourque (5).
“It means a lot,” said Lidstrom. “I was very proud last year when I tied Ray Bourque. I admired him. He played strong at both ends of the ice and that’s something I try to do. I’m really proud to most past him.”
The 38-year-old led all NHL defencemen in scoring during the regular season with 70 points (10-60) in 76 games and led all blue-liners with a plus-40 rating. Since he began his NHL career in 1991-92, Lidstrom has the highest plus-minus of any NHLer at plus-378.
Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins and Dion Phaneuf of the Calgary Flames were the other finalists. Chara, nominated for the second time in his career, ranked third in the NHL in ice time at 26:50 per game and set career highs with goals (17), assists (34) and points (51) in a season. Phaneuf, nominated for the first but probably not the last time, led Flames blue-liners with 60 points (17-43) and led the team in ice time at 26:25 per game.
But the winner was never in doubt. Lidstrom has won six of the past seven Norris Trophies with Scott Niedermayer breaking the streak in 2004. Lidstrom has also been nominated nine times in the last 10 years. The award is voted on by selected members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
It’s been a month full of joy for Lidstrom, who captured his fourth Stanley Cup ring June 4 as the Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. In doing so, he also became the first European captain to ever hold the Cup above his head. What a month.
“We had a lot of celebrations over the weekend so it’s slowly sinking in,” Lidstrom said Thursday. “Especially fun has been the fact I’ve been around the Cup for a few days. That makes it really special.”