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Ryan Kesler named Selke Trophy finalist

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler along with centres Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings, and Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers are the three finalists for the 2008-09 Frank Selke Trophy, 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 Frank Selke Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Thursday, June 18, during the 2009 NHL Awards.

Following are the finalists for the Frank Selke Trophy:

Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks
Kesler has been voted an NHL Awards finalist for the first time after helping the Canucks post the fourth-best defensive record in the Western Conference and seventh in the NHL overall with 220 goals-against. The speedy centre led the Canucks in takeaways (74), ranked first among Vancouver forwards in shorthanded ice time per game (3:19) and was second to Henrik Sedin in average ice time for all situations (19:27). He also notched a pair of shorthanded goals, posted a +8 rating and won a team-best and career-high 54% of his face-offs (527 of 976).

Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
Datsyuk, a Selke finalist for the second consecutive season, also is a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy (skill and sportsmanship). He became just the second player in NHL history to capture both awards last season, following Pittsburgh's Ron Francis in 1995, and could become the first player to sweep them in consecutive years. Datsyuk ranked second among NHL players in takeaways with 89, placed third in plus-minus with a +34 rating and won 56% of his face-offs (636 of 1,135).

Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers
Richards, an NHL Awards finalist for the first time, led Flyers forwards in average ice time per game (21:44) and ranked second among all Philadelphia players in plus-minus (+22). He led the NHL with seven shorthanded goals (tying a franchise record) and nine shorthanded points. His 3-on-5 goal at NY Rangers on Feb. 15 made him the first player in NHL history to score three career goals with his team two men down. Richards went on to score shorthanded goals in three consecutive games (Feb. 15-21), the first NHL player in more than a decade to do so (Colorado's Joe Sakic, Oct. 15-24, 1998).

The trophy was presented in 1977 by the National Hockey League Board of Governors in honour of Frank J. Selke, one of the great architects of Montreal and Toronto championship teams.
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