Lidstrom captured yet another Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenceman Thursday night, becoming the first five-time career winner since Bourque, the great Boston Bruins blue-liner.
“It feels a bit unbelievable,” said Lidstrom. “Ray was a guy I looked up to coming into the league. He was a great player at both ends of the ice. … I really appreciated watching him play. To be tied with him is just an unbelievable feeling.”
Lidstrom, who replaced the retired Steve Yzerman as Detroit Red Wings captain this past season, beat out the stellar Anaheim Ducks duo of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger – both former winners – for this year’s award in voting by selected members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
“I don’t take it for granted,” said Lidstrom, who won with 1,217 points in voting, ahead of Niedermayer’s 1,024. Pronger was third with 608.
“I don’t know what else you say,” said Niedermayer. “He’s been recognized a number of times for good reason, because he’s a very, very good defenceman. Smart player, he’s got great skills, a good leader. He is everything that you need to be to be in his situation.”
“Right now it’s tough to say there’s anybody better.”
Lidstrom, who has won the award five of the past six seasons, tied for the league lead among defencemen with a plus-40 rating and ranked third among all players in ice time per game at 27:29. He had 62 points (13-49), fifth among NHL defencemen.
Niedermayer, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in Anaheim’s Cup triumph, won the award in 2004. He led all NHL defencemen in scoring this season with 69 points. Pronger missed 16 games but still ended up with 59 points.
Dan Boyle of the Tampa Bay Lightning was fourth in voting with 219 points, followed in fifth by Kimmo Timonen of the Nashville Predators at 144.