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Datsyuk, Bergeron, Toews are the Selke nominees

May 15, 2013, 10:29 AM EDT

Francis Bouillon #55 of the Montreal Canadiens dives for the puck in front of Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins in the third period during the game on March 27, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
(March 26, 2013 - Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

The NHL has announced that the battle for the Frank J. Selke Trophy has come down to Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews.

The award recognizes the NHL’s top defensive forward.

Datsyuk won the award three consecutive years between 2008-10, but his streak was broken in 2010–11 when he was limited to 56 games. To date only one player, Bob Gainey, has won the four times, but Datsyuk has put forward a strong case this year. Datsyuk averaged 20:10 minutes per game and finished with a plus-21 rating.

Although plus/minus doesn’t usually hold a lot of weight, keep in mind that only two other Red Wings players had plus/minus ratings in the positive double-digits and neither approached his total. If you want to dive into advanced stats, Datsyuk skated against 19th-toughest competition in the league among forwards that participated in at least 30 contests. None of forwards ahead of him on that list did any better than a plus-seven rating.

Datsyuk also tied fellow nominee Toews for the league-lead in takeaways with 56.

Bergeron won the Selke Trophy for the first time last year. He led the Bruins with a plus-24 rating and was second among Boston forwards with an averaged 2:12 shorthanded minutes per contest. Boston ranked fourth in the NHL with a 87.1 penalty-killing percentage.

He came up big on the draw when the Bruins were down a man, but faceoffs in general are his bread-and-butter. He led the league with a dominating 62.1 faceoff percentage.

Toews, from a statistical perspective was sort of a mesh between Bergeron and Datsyuk. Toews takeaway numbers were already touched on, but he also ranked second in the NHL with a 59.9 faceoff percentage. He also finished third in the NHL with a plus-28 rating, but what was more impressive was his plus-21 rating on the road. That’s the best any has done since 2009-10.

Toews is also the only player among the finalists to finish the season with a plus/minus ratio over 20 and at least 20 goals.

  1. ironyisadeadscene - May 15, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Looks like its Toews to lose although I hope Bergeron wins (Bruins fan)

    • chanceoffleury1 - May 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

      How is it Toews’ to lose when he’s never won it? Bergeron played bigger PK minutes, was better on faceoffs, and was +24 on a +22 team and Dats had just as many takeaways and was +21 on a +9 team. Also, people who have already won the award are more likely to win it an additional time as opposed to somebody new.

      I’m not saying Toews doesn’t deserve it, I’m just saying I don’t see how anybody can say any of the candidates are a lock for this award or have already won it. In the entire NHL I think Jonathan Toews probably exemplifies the best all around hockey player when dissecting his game top to bottom. He is a jack of all trades and doesn’t have a weakness. He is literally great at everything. But the Selke isn’t for the best forward that plays above average defense and can also score and pass, it’s for the best defensive forward. I think Bergeron plays the most defensive-minded game out of the three. It doesn’t mean he’s better than Toews or Datsyuk, it just means his defensive game is slightly stronger. I’m sure part of that is because he plays in a very much defense first system whereas Chicago is a more balanced system in terms of offense and defense. When you add in their offense I think Toews is definitely better, but offense shouldn’t matter since it is a defensive award. At the end of the day I think this one will be a complete toss up though. Any of the 3 have a good argument as to why they deserve it.

  2. jcmeyer10 - May 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    If I had a child playing hockey, I would want my kid to take after Bergy or Datsyuk. Go Bergy as a Bruins fan but do I love watching Datsyuk play the game too.

    • wingsdjy - May 15, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Honestly, all 3 players are stellar role models. Any hockey parent would be proud to have their kid end up like one of these guys.

      The homer in me wants to see Datsyuk win this, but I’m really okay with all 3 of these candidates.

  3. pastabelly - May 15, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Bergeron has to be a slight favorite to win this. He spends more time on the penalty kill than the other two and is still one of the most underappreciated players in the game.

    • cfos00 - May 15, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      Toews also gets big minutes on the PK, and is on a top 3 PK unit. Not taking anything from Bergeron, but Toews plays on all the special teams teams too.

  4. dropthepuckeh - May 15, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Keep calm and Bergeron

  5. 19to77 - May 15, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Seems like it’s Toews’ year, but all three have excellent cases so it’s hard to say for sure.

  6. tfaltin - May 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Each of these three are deserving. Really can’t go wrong, all upstanding players. If it’s about being a defensive forward, Bergeron is probably the choice given the PK and faceoff prowess. If, like the Norris, offensive production is heavily factored, it’ll probably be Toews.

    Personally I’m pulling for Datsyuk. I thought it was really cool how he was picked first in the all-star game, that was some great recognition by his peers about how he may be the best all around player in the world.

  7. chicagobtech - May 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Toews, Bergeron, then Datsyuk. Yes, that is a homer list. Mainly for that reason that any of the three have done what it takes to earn the award.

  8. jpelle82 - May 15, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    toews had a hart worthy season in my opinion because of his selke characteristics. after not being a finalist for the hart, he should win this one.

    • comeonnowguys - May 15, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      Perfectly put. Get out of my head. :)

  9. billyhauntswizards - May 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    mehh, wish my boy Stepan was a finalist. But oh well, this is Toews’ award.

  10. nunan - May 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Partial to Bergeron but can’t really make a case against any of these players. All three still in the playoffs right now, too…shows you how important players like this can be.

  11. shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    PK and faceoff stats are overrated. It’s only a few minutes out of a 60 minute game and typically 2-2.5 minutes out of the 18-22 a player will play. Sure, take it into account, but don’t let something that silly decide this award. That type of thinking is why Kesler was given this award when he didn’t deserve it.

    If I’m voting, how does Pavel Datsyuk lose this? In the same way you could’ve given Hasek the Vezina yearly or Lidstrom the Norris yearly, this guy is better than Toews and Bergeron. Bergeron is good but can’t do what Datsyuk can. Datsyuk has the physical tools-he’s the best thief in the game, backchecks harder, never takes a shift off (something I’ve seen Toews do more than I’d like a Selke winner to) and it’s not just the physical tools-he has the intelligence and instinct. He knows where to be, he reads plays and disrupts better than anyone. Toews doesn’t have that instinct like Bergeron and Datsyuk, but he has the physical tools Bergeron doesn’t. Thing is, Datsyuk has both.

    But you can almost sense the voting collective likes to switch it up and favor a new horse because they get bored with the old one. At the end of the day it’s a popularity contest, with too many people voting who don’t really watch every game from every nominee. We all follow each other and no one wants to talk about it.

    With something like this, which is not quantifiable, the more we talk about stats the more you know the wrong guy will win. Who will win? Toews. Who SHOULD win? Datsyuk. Stats lie. Stats mislead. Your eyes and brain do not. Trust them.

    • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      I forgot to add, the standard is higher for defensive forwards now. You can’t just win this award (or at least, SHOULDN’T) just by jumping on the PK and looking good in a group, or by cheating on faceoffs all season (lookin’ at you Toews). You can’t just skate into your own end, you now actually need to be good while you’re there.

      IE; I see people citing Crosby’s willingness to skate into his own end as being defensive. Sure, that’s well and good, but he’s lost in there. You need to actually do something and that’s where Datsyuk wins this award.

      • hawksandsawx - May 15, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Every player in the NHL cheats on faceoffs, stop complaining Alain Vigneault. Also, Bergeron should win this award going away. Drives the play forward, dominates Corsi, has enough offensive production. There’s not a lot of argument to be made against him, and no subjective, intangible ideas like Bergeron not having “tools” pandering I keep seeing from you

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Lol@pandering. Uh oh, someone’s in the argument zone!

        And no, not everyone cheats Belichik. It’s just your guy.

    • itsallniceonice - May 15, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      How are faceoffs overrated? You can’t get much more defensive than consistently not letting the other team have the puck in your own zone multiple times a night.

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Because mathematically there’s virtually no difference between the percentages of each nominee. What really separates 55-60%?An extra faceoff win every few games?

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Whoops, sorry, every 1 game. One measly extra faceoff win per game. 1 shift. 1 possession. Pretty overrated. I’m more concerned with how they play in the big picture. You could put Datsyuk on D and likely wouldn’t have any worries. YOu couldn’t do that with the other two.

        Datsyuk also faced the most intense competition and came out looking the best. Because neither Toews nor Bergeron can make the worlds best forwards look bad defensively.

      • bruininnh1984 - May 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

        apparently not winning a faceoff when you’re killing a penalty isn’t that big of a deal

    • stratomaticfan - May 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Faceoffs ARE huge. In the defensive zone, it gives your chance to clear the zone and move up ice. On the PK, it gives you ability to eat clock and keep other team from immediate scoring opportunity. In the offensive zone, it gives you the ability to quick strike. On the PP, it gives you more time to get more (or better) shots on net while having the man advantage.

      In a one goal game, a late faceoff can be the difference between winning and losing.

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        Yeah, and it’s something they ALL do well. You’re missing the point-it’s that they all do it well enough, and don’t leave enough of a gap, for it to mean anything when comparing players. One extra win per game separates Toews from Datsyuk. One. That’s it. If you’re a voter and one faceoff per game factors in for more than a split seconds thought, you’re doing it wrong.

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        Oh and it’s not hard to win one extra faceoff when all you do is cheat on them. It’s not something that’ll keep me up at night, but if we’re talking about it let’s be real. Toews cheats. This will get thumbs down votes from homers but it’s just real talk.

      • homelanddefense - May 15, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        for the record, Datsyuk is about 7% behind Toews and Bergeron in faceoff %. And Im still not sure what “physical tools” Bergeron is missing.

      • shoobiedoobin - May 15, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        ^Did I not explain this already? Sometimes you can tell people just go into a topic ready and willing to ignore anything that doesn’t support their BS.

  12. earpaniac - May 15, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Stats can’t lie. How your brain interprets them is the lie.

  13. ironmike778 - May 15, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Bergeron all day.

  14. timmmah10 - May 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Not worth the argument. Chicago is the belle of the ball this year, so Toews will get it. But it should be Datsyuk’s.

  15. theblakfox - May 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    How could anyone think that one of these candidates is the clear winner? They are all fantastic and deserving. 3 awesome candidates that anyone would want on their team.

    Go Bergy

  16. dchambers144 - May 15, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Granted I am a Pens fan so my view is jaded. For Pascal Dupuis not to be at least nominated is wrong. Tops in plus minus, great penalty killer, great two way player but not high profile. Nothing against the guys nominated, they are all great two way forwards, but I dare you to watch Dupuis over time and not think he deserved a nomination.

  17. tdrusher225 - May 15, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    My three favorite players, I love and admire the way these guys play so much. As a Bruins fan, I hope Bergeron takes it, but I’ll be happy no matter who wins.

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