Dallas Stars: Pavel Datsyuk
Here's the release from the NHL:
Centers David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings are the three finalists for the 2011-12 Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game," the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 20, during the 2012 NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The 2012 NHL Awards will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.
Following are the finalists for the Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:
David Backes, St. Louis Blues
Backes had the highest average ice time per game among forwards (19:59) on the club that allowed the fewest goals in the NHL by a wide margin. The 6'3", 225-lb. center again was a punishing physical presence, doling out a team-leading 226 hits, joining Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown as the only players to record 200 hits or more in each of the past five seasons. Backes led the Blues in face-offs (1,353), blocked 72 shots and posted a +15 rating. The Blues captain is an NHL Trophy finalist for first time in his seven-year NHL career and is the first Blues player vying for the Selke Trophy since Michal Handzus finished second in 2000.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Bergeron led the NHL in plus-minus (+36), posting a +18 rating both at home and on the road, helping the Bruins rank second in the Eastern Conference in team defense (2.39 GAA). Appearing in a single-season career-high 81 games, he topped all Bruins forwards in shorthanded time on ice (1:48 per game) and was dominant in the face-off circle, posting a 59.2% winning percentage (973 of 1,641) to rank second in the League behind Chicago's Jonathan Toews (59.4%). Bergeron is an NHL Trophy finalist for the first time and could become the second Bruins player to capture Selke honors, joining Steve Kasper (1982).
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Datsyuk continued his mastery of separating opponents from the puck in 2011-12 by ranking third in the NHL in takeaways (97), and his stickhandling and passing skills helped the Red Wings' renowned puck possession game. Datsyuk posted a +21 rating and was the club's top face-off man, posting a 56.2% winning percentage (702 of 1,249) -- his eighth consecutive season posting a win rate above 53%. Datsyuk has been voted a Selke finalist for the fifth consecutive year, matching the streaks of Montreal's Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.
On not getting picked last in Thursday night’s All-Star Fantasy Draft
“I’m going to tell him (Zdeno Chara) that he owes me a car.” (Team 1200 Radio, Ottawa)
On whether being an All-Star gives him a sense of having arrived
“Definitely. You come here and you see who you are surrounded by. For young guys like us, we just have to take it in and have fun with it. It’s a pretty cool experience.” (TSN Radio)
On winning a gold medal at the the 2009 World Junior Championship, which was held in Ottawa
“It was unbelievable. Being down 3-0 against the U.S. and coming back, and then beating the Russians. It was one of the best, if not the best hockey moment of my life, winning that gold medal. It’s something I’ll never forget.” (Team 1200 Radio, Ottawa)
On the reasons behind his level of play this season
“I think it’s a little bit of everything. It’s my third year now. I’m confident out there now. I made the switch to center and I think I am really excelling at that position. I am playing with some good players and getting a good chance to play a lot of minutes. I’m having fun with it and it’s good so far.” (Team 1200 Radio, Ottawa)
If there’s a player he grew up watching that he is excited to playing with at All-Star weekend
“Definitely (Pavel) Datsyuk. He’s one of my favorite players to watch. He’s a magician out there. I am definitely looking forward to skating with him, too.” (Team 1200 Radio, Ottawa)
On Stars center Mike Ribeiro suiting up to play goalie once in a while
“He’s actually a lot better than you think. He skates with us in the summer and when we need a goalie he’s the first one to jump in there. He’s pretty good, but I might have to test him out there one training camp.” (NHL.com)
On whether he shoots high on Ribeiro
“Head hunting for sure.” (NHL.com)
Benn and San Jose’s Logan Couture were the last two players left in the draft and it was Chara’s decision as to which player would be picked next and which player would be the last one left.
“It’s never easy to leave one guy standing, to be the last one,” Chara said as he made his selection. “But Jamie really deserves to be picked because he had surgery a couple days ago and he still showed up. That’s a big credit to him. So I am picking Dallas Star Jamie Benn.”
Couture, as the last player to be picked in the draft, received a car.
“It was a little bit of a win-win there. Get picked or get a car,” said Benn. “I’m happy I got picked.”
Benn said the experience was fun and a little tense.
“Coming down to the wire it was a little nerve-wracking, but fun at the same time. We’re here for a good weekend and I am looking forward to it,” Benn said. “I don’t think [where you get picked] matters. I think just getting the chance to be at an All-Star game is a pretty good honor. For Zdeno to throw out a shout out there was really nice of him.”
Chara had the first overall pick in the draft and selected Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, meaning Benn will be teammates with one of the players he was looking forward to seeing at the All-Star festivities this weekend.
“Maybe Datsyuk, he’s pretty cool. He’s a player I like to watch,” Benn said when asked earlier this week about the players he was looking forward to skating with in Ottawa. “(Claude) Giroux, (Steven) Stamkos, all the top players in this league are pretty exciting to watch and to get a chance to skate with them is pretty cool.”
Giroux and Stamkos will skate for Team Alfredsson, which is captained by Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson’s first pick and the second overall pick of the draft was his Ottawa teammate, defenseman Erik Karlsson.
The All-Star Skills competition is Saturday and the NHL All-Star Game is Sunday. The selections in Thursday’s draft are below.
Centers Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Frank Selke Trophy, which is awarded "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game," the National Hockey League announced today.
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted ballots for the Selke 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 Selke Trophy, in alphabetical order:
Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
A master at getting and keeping the puck, Datsyuk ranked 11th in the League in takeaways with 71 despite being limited to 56 games due to injury. Datsyuk tied for second on the Red Wings in plus-minus with a +11 rating and was the club's top face-off man, posting a 54.6% winning percentage (429 of 785) -- his seventh consecutive season posting a win rate above 53%. Datsyuk could become the first player to win the Selke Trophy for four consecutive seasons since Bob Gainey of the Montreal Canadiens won it the first four seasons it was presented, from 1978 through 1981.
Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
Kesler helped the Canucks record the lowest team goals-against average in the NHL (2.20) for the first time in franchise history. He ranked fourth among NHL forwards in blocked shots (80), appeared in all 82 games and averaged a career-high 20:29 in ice time to lead all Vancouver forwards. The speedy center ranked sixth among NHL centers in face-offs taken (1,496), winning a team-best and career-high 57.4% of them (859), dished out 124 hits; recorded a team-high 65 takeaways and posted a +24 rating. Kesler is a Selke Trophy finalist for the third consecutive year, finishing second in 2010 and third in 2009.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Toews led all Chicago forwards in plus-minus and ranked second on the club overall with a career-high +25 rating. He took 1,653 face-offs, second in the NHL behind Carolina's Eric Staal (1,751), and won a League-leading 937 of them (56.7%). He recorded 95 takeaways, also second in the NHL behind San Jose's Joe Thornton (114), delivered 74 hits and blocked 28 shots. The Blackhawks captain, who turns 23 on Friday, is a first-time Selke finalist and a second-time NHL trophy finalist -- he finished third in Calder Trophy voting for the League's top rookie in 2008.
The Stars started the period strong, getting a couple of early chances, and then finished the period by burying two chances to take the lead in the game.
Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow set up Mike Ribeiro, who put the puck into a wide-open net with 3:18 left in the period.
The Stars made it a 2-0 game when Loui Eriksson scored on a short-handed breakaway with 25 seconds left in the period.
Kari Lehtonen made eight saves in the period, including a nice one on Darren Helm when the game was still scoreless.
Both Adam Burish and Krys Barch returned the lineup after missing eight games with injury.
Brian Sutherby was the lone healthy scratch for Dallas.
The Red Wings went on their third power play of the game early in the second and appeared to score to make it a 2-1 game, but the goal was waved off because Tomas Holmstrom interfered with Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Red Wings had some good chances on the rest of the power play, but Lehtonen made some sharp saves to keep Detroit off the board.
The Stars extended the lead at the 8:54 mark. After a nice play by Jason Williams at the Dallas blue line to start the Stars on the rush, Krys Barch scored off a slow developing play from the slot with Jamie Benn driving the net.
There was a major scrum a short time later after Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made a save on Mike Ribeiro and Detroit defenseman Ruslan Salei pushed Ribeiro into Howard.
The Stars had to kill two more Detroit power plays, and Lehtonen came up with several more sharp saves.
The Stars goalie made a total of 14 saves in the period and had 22 through the first two periods.
Lehtonen came up with another big save with just more than four minutes to go, stopping Henrik Zetterberg's breakaway bid to keep it a 3-0 game.
The Red Wings ended Lehtonen’s bid for a shutout with 3:31 left in the game by cashing in on their sixth power play of the game. After taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk, Holmstrom roofed a backhand shot while driving the net to cut Dallas' lead to 3-1.
The Red Wings kept up the pressure, but with Howard out of the Detroit net, Jamie Langenbrunner sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1:43 remaining.
- The three wins in a row is an accomplishment. They were unable to do that once last season and hadn’t done it since January of 2009. It’s early, but it’s some early season moment and six of out of six points are big.
- The Stars made the most of their opportunities in the game, scoring four goals on just 15 shots. They scored on their first shot of the game, which came on their first power play of the game to take a 1-0 lead 41 seconds into the game. They scored 44 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0.
- Kari Lehtonen was excellent in goal. Again. He stopped 25 of 26 shots and looked very comfortable and very much in control doing it.
- The Stars’ special teams were big in this game. The power play gave them the early lead and the penalty kill, which struggled in the first two games, was very good. It came up with two big stops late in the first period when it was still a 1-0 game and ended up 4-5 on the night. The only goal it gave up came late when it was already a 4-0 game. Lehtonen was a big part of hit, making some nice stops but it was a pretty good effort overall among the penalty killers as a whole.
- Overall, I thought the Stars did a nice job of defending the Red Wings. Not a lot of great opportunities and what Detroit did get, Lehtonen cleaned up.
- Goal of the night went to James Neal, who won a puck battle with Brad Stuart in the slot and then beat Chris Osgood with a backhand shot to make it a 4-0 game. “James was strong on the goal he scored,” said coach Marc Crawford. “He stayed on it and kept banging away. Maybe that’s a part of his increased strength, better conditioning this year to be able to stay in those fights.”
- The Neal-Richards-Eriksson line has been impressive so far. Those three players have combined for 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in the first three games. Add in that Brenden Morrow has chipped in four – all assisted by Mike Ribeiro – and the Stars are rolling out two lines that are producing every game.
- I really didn’t notice Mike Modano much. He played 15:14, so he was out there quite a bit but he really didn’t do a lot. But neither did a lot of the Red Wings. I thought Nick Lidstrom had a rough game. So did Stuart. Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom both were minus-3.
- Bottom line, the Stars were the better team on this night. It’s the best game they’ve played of the three in my opinion, even though they got outshot again. They were outshot 26-15 Thursday and have been outshot 103-65 through three games, but have six points. Lehtonen’s doing a good job of keeping pucks out of the net and the Stars are doing a good job of taking advantage of their chances.
Richards, who won the award in 2004 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and was runner-up in 2006, led the Stars with 91 points, including a team-high 67 assists. He added 24 goals, third-most behind James Neal and Loui Eriksson, who both played on the same line with Richards for most of the season. Richards’ 91 points were two shy of Mike Modano’s record of 93 points (1993-94) since the franchise moved to Dallas. The 67 assists were the third-most by any player in franchise history.
Richards, 29, came to the Stars in a trade deadline deal during the 2007-08 season. He missed 25 of the final 26 games during the 2008-09 season because of a broken right wrist (Feb. 16) and a broken bone in his left hand (March 21). But this past season, Richards played 80 games (missing just two games with a groin injury) and was a consistent performer.
For Richards to win the award, he’ll have to beat out Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, who is also a finalist and has won the award the last four seasons. Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning is also a finalist.
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Michael Petrella, from the Red Wings blog WingingitinMotown.com, was kind enough to answer a few Stars questions in preparation for tonight's game. Here goes:
Q: Give us a status report on the Red Wings' start to the season. What are some highlights and lowlights of the season so far?
A: Well, it's no secret that the Wings started out slow, going 0-2 in Sweden (games that were viewed by many as "home games"), ultimately going 3-4-2 in their first nine games. That's the worst start in twenty years in Detroit, so -- as I'm sure you could guess -- lots of fans were slamming their fists against the panic button. But, things have begun to turn around. They're 7-1-1 in their last nine and are showing quite a bit more offense than most thought they would (after losing Samuelsson, Hudler, and Hossa in July). Last week, the Wings were 3-0-0, and outscored their opponents 19-6.
Q: Henrik Zetterberg is certainly playing at a high level. What makes him so effective? Is this the best he's played in his career?
A: Henrik Zetterberg is a special player. Not only is he incredibly talented offensively, he's one of the more responsible two-way forwards in the game. His defense might be overshadowed by teammate Pavel Datsyuk, who is the resident Selke winner of the bunch, but it is clear to everyone who watches Wings games that he's respected enough to play in all scenarios.
He's smart, he's fast, he has an unbelievably accurate shot and he always seems to make the right play: whether its taking the shot or dishing to create a better scoring play, and I think that's what makes him so effective. It's fair to say that last week was the best week of Z's career, culminating in the NHL First Star selection. 4 goals and 5 assists in three games works for me.
Q: How has the top line played? Give us a scouting report on them.
A: The thing about the Red Wings is that it can be tricky to define a "top line." In theory, the top line is Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom. Obviously, Zetterberg and Dan Cleary sometimes get some ice time on what could also be considered the top line, as did Johan Franzen before his injury. But the current trio of Bertuzzi/Datsyuk/Holmstrom is a heck of a line. We all know what Pavel Datsyuk brings to the table, and Tomas Holmstrom is the best in the business at parking his rump in the crease and tipping shots. Todd Bertuzzi is a bit of a wildcard because, while he's creating a lot of chances and seemingly gaining confidence every game, he's still not putting pucks in the net as much as I'm sure Mike Babcock would like. He's buzzing though, lots of posts and opportunities.
Q: Looks like the power play has been solid, but the penalty kill has struggled. Why?
A: For the last few seasons, the penalty kill has been a little touchy. It's hard to put your finger on why that is, because the personnel is there: Zetterberg and Datsyuk are bona fide Selke candidates year in and year out, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby are historic penalty killers, young guys like Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves do a fantastic job, and no one can underestimate the defensive corps of Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, and Stuart. I think that, like many of the question marks in Detroit, the struggles start with the goaltending. For the second year in a row, Chris Osgood is under-performing. New backup Jimmy Howard had a strong week last week, but it remains to be seen if he can be a NHL goaltender on a daily basis.
Also, when Todd McLellan left to be the Sharks new head coach before last season, the special teams in Detroit seemed to take a dip. A lot of fans are quick to blame assistant coach Brad McCrimmon for the defensive lapses and drop in PK, which is an interesting way to look at it.
Q: Give us a few players to watch in tonight's game.
A: Henrik Zetterberg obviously has the hot hand, but Niklas Kronwall is someone who has been putting pucks in the net from the point at a pretty good clip this season. He's got five goals already, which is three more than Brian Rafalski, who is second in defenseman goals on the team.
Jimmy Howard will be making his fourth straight start with Chris Osgood out with the flu. He had two back-to-back one goal games last week, followed by a weaker four goal showing on Saturday. Which Jimmy Howard shows up will be an important thing to watch as the Wings and Stars tussle.
For all the non-Red Wings fans out there, I urge them to watch Darren Helm. No. 43 has been a mainstay on the Red Wings roster for the last two playoff seasons, but this is his first opportunity to play a regular shift in Detroit, and he's special. He's arguably the fastest skater in the league, he hits everything that moves, and although he's not a big guy, he's not the least bit afraid of heading into the corners and doing the dirty work. He's quickly becoming a hometown favorite at the Joe.
Q: With Chris Osgood still dealing with the flu, can you tell us about goalie Jimmy Howard?
A: He will be making his fourth start in a row and seventh of the season. He started out a little slow, but seems to be gaining confidence as the days and weeks go by. He's a fairly large guy, and definitely looks bigger in the net than Chris Osgood does. His biggest issue seems to be controlling his rebounds, which the defense is aware of, as well. The guys who play in front of Howard are doing a much better job of clearing or controlling the rebounds than they were at the beginning of the season.
Q: Any other injuries we should know about?
A: Well, Andreas Lilja is still out (since last March) with post-concussion issues stemming from a fight with Shea Weber of the Predators. Johan Franzen is recovering from a torn ACL and will be out until February at the earliest. Valtteri Filppula, another incredibly talented two-way forward, has just started skating again after breaking his wrist. He'll probably be out until the Holidays. Jason Williams, the third forward on this list, has a long recovery ahead of him after breaking his leg two weeks ago. The injury bug usually bites in February in Hockeytown, but it looks like he got an early start this year.
Q: What else should Stars fans know about the Red Wings?
A: After facing their worst start in quite some time, the Wings seem to be getting it together. They've got a bit of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on, and many of us find ourselves wondering which version of the Red Wings will show up -- not only game to game, but period to period. They've been very inconsistent, but the talent is there. It'd be unwise to look past the lineup they ice -- even with the injuries -- but they're also prone to beating themselves this year.