For the fourth time in his career, Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara has been named a finalist for the Norris Trophy. The award is given out annually to the league’s best defenseman.
In 2009, Chara won the award becoming the third different Bruins defenseman to win the award. Bobby Orr (8) and Ray Bourque (5) are the only two other Bruins to win the award.
Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (a six-time winner) and Predators blue-liner Shea Weber are the other nominees.
When asked about the nomination, Bruins head coach Claude Julien had a lot of praise for his top defenseman.
“Well I think obviously he’s a well-deserving player. There are a lot of reasons, I think everyone who knows him here knows he plays lots of minutes, he also always plays against other team’s top lines,” said Julien. “He’s utilized as a shutdown D against the top players on other teams. The stats at the end of the year, I think he’s a plus-thirty something, plus-thirty-three, and I think that speaks for itself”
Along with his league-leading plus-33, the six-foot-nine monster also added 14 goals and 30 assists this season. But it’s not No. 33′s offensive numbers that earned him this nomination.
Chara is known league wide as a shutdown defensemen, and one of the best at it. Like Julien said, Chara is almost always out there trying to shut down the other team’s best.
“So if you’re talking about Norris and talking about a defenseman that brings a lot, he’s certainly one of them,” added Julien. “And I don’t think there are many players in this league who will raise their hand and say they really enjoy playing against him.” said Julien.
When asked about it, Chara was very honored by the nomination.
“It’s obviously a big honor and I’m very humbled and very thankful,” Chara said. “It’s, especially after you consider how many guys had such a great season, a breakout season, I’m just very thankful that people who did vote recognized the definition of the Norris Trophy award. And obviously a big thank you goes to all the people who helped me to get there, especially my teammates, all the organization, and obviously my family and fans.”
The NHL award winners are announced in June.