Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews again a finalist for the Selke
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For the fourth time in five seasons, Jonathan Toews has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's best defensive forward. Toews took the hardware home in 2013 and finished third last season.
"I don't expect it. It's an honor," he said. "Like I've said before, the guys who were nominated again are guys with (good) history not only throughout the regular season but in the playoffs."
The captain's competition this year will come from Boston's Patrice Bergeron and Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar. Bergeron won in 2012 and 2014 and finished second in 2013, while Kopitar finished second last year.
Toews had 38 assists this season and dished out another one before the Hawks played Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series with Nashville on Thursday.
"I owe a lot of that success like to Hoss (Marian Hossa) and (Brandon) Saader, and playing with guys like Johnny O(duya) and Hammer (Niklas Hjlamarsson) making sure things are tidy on the defensive end.
"It's an honor to be nominated with those guys. It's a special thing, for sure."
Toews would seem to have a good chance at winning as he was plus-30 this season. Bergeron was plus-2, while Kopitar checked in at minus-2. Coach Joel Quenneville spoke to Toews' consistency as to why his winger always is in the running for the Selke.
"(He) plays against the other team's best line, top guys, top defensive pair shift in, shift out," Quenneville said. "At the end of the year, he's always your top plus-minus (player). … It's tough to do that when you're constantly facing the best year in, year out.
"Now that's statistically. You watch him play? He should be the guy."
The winner will be announced June 24 in Las Vegas during the NHL Awards Show.
Coach Joel Quenneville sympathized with everybody who had to endure the 4½-hour marathon that was Game 4 Tuesday night at the United Center, a game that ended when Brent Seabrook's goal in triple OT allowed fans to begin exiting shortly after 1:15 a.m.
Quenneville wondered, though, if he should question the NHL's logic of starting games at 8:45 p.m.
"I'm not sure if I can answer that," Quenneville said with a laugh. "You should ask the fans who had to get up the next morning for work in Chicago.
"Basically the teams in our division are getting these 8:30 starts. I think it's probably not easy on anybody, including you guys. It is what it is. I think as players they like 7, 7:30s and let's go."
Kane proving able:
Patrick Kane, who missed seven weeks with a broken collarbone before this series, had a goal and 3 assists through the first four games. His play was a bit uneven in the first period of Game 1 and he was OK at best in Game 2.
But he picked things up at the United Center, creating numerous chances during Games 3 and 4 and eventually assisted on Brent Seabrook's winning goal in Game 4's third overtime.
Quenneville was asked if Kane has met the coach's expectations.
"I would say above average," Quenneville said. "I thought going into it he would be fine. … The first game he got through it in relatively good shape. It was a feeling-out process for himself, knowing what he was able to do. But conditioning- and performance-wise he's been real good. I'm very happy with him."