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Three More Trophies Up for Grabs

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
LAS VEGAS -- Boston Bruins Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas have returned to the Nevada desert and the site of their greatest off-ice hockey accomplishments - the NHL Awards held at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Las Vegas.

Chara and Thomas in 2009
Thomas is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (outstanding goaltender) and Chara is up for the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (superior leader in hockey) and the Norris Trophy (outstanding defenseman).

"Every trophy has, obviously, a place in my heart," said Chara, who won the Norris in 2009. "And it’s hard to describe...or really explain where they rank.

"I mean they’re all so hard to get and achieve, but we’ll see what’s going to happen tomorrow night."

Chara faces tough competition for the Messier Trophy from Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes) and Niklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings). For the Norris, Chara will be compared to Lidstrom and Shea Weber (Nashville Predators).

Thomas echoed his captain.

"You know, I’ve been fortunate enough to win the Conn Smythe and the Stanley Cup this year already," said Thomas. "The Veznia is another one of those trophies that is a huge honor to win

"It would be icing but we’ll see, you know, two other goalies could have it."

Thomas, who also won the Vezina in 2009 is joined by finalists Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks) and Pekka Rinne (Nashville Predators).

Both Bruins see the NHL Awards as an extension of their already exciting run to Lord Stanley's Cup and a reflection of the Bruins play overall.

Chara also seemed moved by his inclusion on Mark Messier's list. Messier himself chose the finalists and will select the ultimate recipient.

"To be nominated for a trophy from a player, a person, obviously a father, like Mark Messier, it’s a huge honor," said Chara.

"I have to tell you that, being a leader it’s always about the team," explained Chara. "It’s never about yourself and I’m just trying to be the best I can for my teammates."

For Thomas, the Vezina would be a validation -- the fulfillment of the original goal he set after hip surgery last summer following a season spent mostly as B's goaltender Tuukka Rask's backup.

"It would mean a lot," said Thomas, who admitted, "I didn’t start thinking about the Stanley Cup until later.

"My first goal that I set for myself was to win the Veznia because it was something that I had done before.

"So it would be nice if I were to win."
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