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Monday, April 25, 2011
Norris Trophy finalists

By Mark Stepneski

The Norris Trophy finalists were announced today and Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and Shea Weber are up for his year's honor as the NHL's top defenseman. Here's the release from the league:
Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators are the three finalists for the 2010-11 James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Following are the finalists for the Norris Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

Chara is a Norris Trophy finalist for the third time in the past four seasons and for the fourth time overall; he finished second in 2004, third in 2008 and captured the award in 2009. The Bruins captain led the NHL in plus-minus in 2010-11 with a +33 rating, matching his career high set in 2003-04. He recorded 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists), marking the seventh consecutive season he has surpassed the 40-point plateau. Chara also ranked second among NHL defensemen in shots (264), tied for third in power-play goals (eight) and was sixth in average ice time per game (25:26).

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

Lidstrom is a Norris Trophy finalist for the 11th time in the past 13 seasons. He has captured the award six times, placed second three times and third once. Lidstrom enjoyed one of his most productive seasons, ranking second among NHL defensemen in scoring with 62 points (16 goals, 46 assists) in 82 games, highlighted by a career-best 11-game point streak. He tied for fourth place among League defensemen in goals, was third in assists and tied for sixth in power-play goals (six). The Red Wings captain, who turns 41 on Thursday, led the Central Division champions in ice time, averaging 23:28 per contest.

Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

Weber, drafted by Nashville in second round of the 2003 Entry Draft, is a Norris Trophy finalist for the first time. Only two NHL skaters saw more ice time in 2010-11 than Weber, who appeared in all 82 games and averaged 25:19 per contest. The Predators captain set single-season career highs in several categories, including games, average ice time, assists (32) and shots (254). Topping all Nashville defensemen in scoring with 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists), his offensive contribution proved crucial to Nashville in securing a sixth playoff berth in seven seasons; the Predators posted a 13-2-1 record when he scored a goal.