As our SenShot awards week continues, we move to honor those horses that log 25 minutes per game, are stellar at both ends of the ice and in many cases are the heart and soul of their teams. The defenseman is the focus today, and the James Norris Trophy. The Norris is awarded to the “defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position.”- NHL.com
Once again the Professional Hockey Writers Association has narrowed a large field of deserving athletes down to three finalists.
Zdeno Chara (BOSTON) - The Stanley Cup Captain had a great season with the Bruins, that was not without controversy. He led all blueliners in +/- with at +33 rating. He logged over 25 minutes per game and was a force at both ends of the ice. He racked up 44 points while playing a punishing physical style. His hit on Max Pacioretty caused an uproar and was the one blemish on an otherwise perfect season for Big Z. Chara won the Norris Trophy two seasons ago.
Nicklas Lidstrom (DETROIT) - Always classy, the 41 year old Lidstrom practically owned the Norris Trophy in the 2000′s, winning six times in 7 seasons between 2001 and 2008. The fact that he was nominated this season attests to the fact that he could play three or four more years. He was second in scoring among defensemen with 62 points, but recorded is first +/- rating below even with a -2.
Shea Weber (NASHVILLE) – Weber entered the spotlight with his performance at the 2010 Olympics, and it has been on him ever since. He is the force that drives the Predators, and his 25+ minutes per game are always hard-fought and even if you beat him you know you have been in a battle. Weber put up 48 points while playing all 82 games this season, leading the Predators to the second round for the first time in franchise history.
Shea Weber takes the SenShot vote in unanimous fashion. While Lidstrom and Chara had championship caliber teams around them, Weber was not as fortunate. His performance in carrying the Predators to the post-season was a special one, and this award signals a changing of the guard for young defensemen around the league.
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