Datsyuk a finalist for Selke Trophy

DETROIT – Pavel Datsyuk is once again a finalist for a postseason award.

Datsyuk was named a finalist for the 2012 Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

The other finalists are Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and St. Louis’ David Backes, as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

However, Datsyuk was not named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which he has won four times. Those finalists are Florida’s Brian Campbell, Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle and the New York Islanders’ Matt Moulson.

It’s the fifth consecutive year Datsyuk has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which matches the streaks of Montreal’s Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.

He has won the award three times.

Datsyuk, who had 19 goals and 67 assists, was third in the NHL in takeaways this season with 97, despite missing 12 games.

He also led the team in winning faceoffs and finished a plus-21.

The winner will be announced June 20 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Backes had the highest average ice time per game among forwards (19:59) on the club that allowed the fewest goals in the NHL by a wide margin. The 6’3″, 225-lb. center again was a punishing physical presence, doling out a team-leading 226 hits, joining Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown as the only players to record 200 hits or more in each of the past five seasons. Backes led the Blues in face-offs (1,353), blocked 72 shots and posted a +15 rating. The Blues captain is an NHL Trophy finalist for first time in his seven-year NHL career and is the first Blues player vying for the Selke Trophy since Michal Handzus finished second in 2000.

Bergeron led the NHL in plus-minus (+36), posting a +18 rating both at home and on the road, helping the Bruins rank second in the Eastern Conference in team defense (2.39 GAA). Appearing in a single-season career-high 81 games, he topped all Bruins forwards in shorthanded time on ice (1:48 per game) and was dominant in the face-off circle, posting a 59.2% winning percentage (973 of 1,641) to rank second in the League behind Chicago’s Jonathan Toews (59.4%). Bergeron is an NHL Trophy finalist for the first time and could become the second Bruins player to capture Selke honors, joining Steve Kasper (1982).

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