LAS VEGAS – Zdeno Chara has earned an honour worthy of his stature.
The towering defenceman won his first Norris Trophy on Thursday by edging six-time winner Nicklas Lidstrom and Mike Green. The voting was conducted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Chara had been nominated two previous times but lost both times to Lidstrom, who has owned of the trophy for six of the past eight seasons.
The Boston Bruins captain is the cornerstone of a team that had the NHL’s lowest goals-against average. He led the team with 26:04 in ice time and put up 50 points.
However, his impact when far deeper than that.
“When you see him every day and watch him play every night, and you see what he brings to your team, for me it’s more than just stats,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “It’s what he’s done for this hockey club. The fact that we finished where we finished, he deserves a lot of credit for that, and not just for his play but also for his leadership role.”
Lidstrom has been a finalist for this award 10 of the past 11 seasons and was again among the best blue-liners in the league. He ranked third among defenceman with 59 points (16-43) and was a plus-31 – making it the 17th straight year he was a plus player.
Green was a first time nominee after leading all defencemen in scoring with 73 points (31-42). He was the first blue-liner to score 30 goals in a season since Washington’s Kevin Hatcher in 1992-93.