Next in line of Rock the Red’s Capitals Awards Ceremony is the Norris Memorial Trophy, presented to the Caps most outstanding Defenseman during the regular season. The James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League’s defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-round ability in the position,” is the third oldest individual award (behind the Hart and Lady Byng). The winner is selected by vote by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association following the season, however today’s winner was determined by a poll of Rock the Red’s bloggers. The current holder of the trophy is Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings – his seventh win in the past 10 seasons. The finalists for the 2011-12 season are Shea Webber of the Nashville Predators (second nomination), Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators (first nomination), and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins (one-time winner, fourth nomination). The Caps have had only one member of the roster take home the Norris Trophy: Rod Langway, who won twice (1982-83, 1983-4).
The nominees are, in alphabetical order:
In his second full season in the NHL, Karl Alzner proved that he was everything we saw in his 2009-10 season- and then some. He once again played in every game while showcasing the talents that make him a blueliner’s blueliner – leading the team in plus/minus and shorthanded TOI, third on the team in blocked shots (139), and contributing on offense (albeit mildly) with a career high in assists and points (1 goal, 16 assists for 17 points) – all while facing stiffest 5-on-5 competition of Caps Dmen playing in 30+ games. King Karl even took time this year to drop the gloves with Tthe Lightning’s Steve Downie – his first fight in the NHL.
The 2nd round draft pick of the 2009 draft for the Caps, Orlov exceeded all expectations in the 60 games he played for the Caps this season. His mobility and physicality were very impressive for a rookie, and he looked more and more at ease with each passing game. While there were some rough edges needing to be smoothed out, Orlov continually worked to better his game and rarely looked frazzled on the ice. Most importantly, the rookie was able to be counted on with Mike Green’s absence due to injury, contributing 3 goals and 16 assists (2nd among rookie defensemen, and third on the club in scoring), and even saw some time on the power play. His defensive play and awareness showed up as a +1 rating, 99 hits (5th among rookie defensemen), 54 blocked shots, 23 takeaways (6th among rookie D) and only 18 penalty minutes.
The only member of the Capitals roster to attend the NHL’s All Star game, Wideman was heavily relied on to fill the void due to Mike Green’s absence. He played all 82 games of the regular season, leading all Dmen in TOI/G (23:54) and shifts/game (27.4) while also leading the Caps blue line crew with 113 hits. Wideman’s greatest contribution, however, was offensively. He tied for 10th in the league among defense for points (46), which lead the Caps D crew. He tied for second on the team (1st Dman) in Assists/Game (.43) and was 2nd on the team with 20 power play points.
Other awards from the 2011-12 Capitals Awards Ceremony: