Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Richards a finalist for Selke Trophy

by Bob Herpen
The Phanatic Magazine

Philadelphia Flyers forward and captain Mike Richards is among the three finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's best defensive forward.

Richards led the NHL with seven shorthanded goals and finished the year with 30 goals overall and 80 points. He also had a plus-22 rating, tied for the NHL lead among forwards with 90 blocked shots and was third among front-line players with 83 takeaways.

The Kenora, Ontario native also set an NHL record for most career 3-on-5 short-handed goals, with his third on February 15, 2009 against the New York Rangers.

Also in the mix is Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk won the honor for the first time last year and is joined as a finalist this year by Philadelphia's Mike Richards and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler.

In addition to finishing fourth in the NHL in scoring with 97 points, Datsyuk was second in the league with 89 takeaways and third in plus-minus with a rating of plus-34. He also won 56 percent of his faceoffs to finish ninth in the NHL.

Kesler had a plus-eight rating with two shorthanded goals and finished with 26 goals and 59 points. He played on both a checking line as a center or on the wing of Vancouver's top line, ranking seventh among forwards with 70 blocked shots and tied for seventh with 74 takeaways while winning 54 percent of his faceoffs.

The winner will be announced during the NHL's season-ending awards ceremony on June 18 in Las Vegas.

Bobby Clarke (1983) and Dave Poulin (1987) are the two Flyers who have won the award previously.

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