Perusing some hockey sites, we noted that ESPN.com ranks the Norris Trophy candidates as follows:
1. Kris Letang
2. Keith Yandle
3. Nicklas Lidstrom
4. Zdeno Chara
5. Lubomir Visnovsky
We take no small notice that these five defensemen are ranked: fifth, first, second, 26th, and third in scoring among defensemen, respectively. They are also a combined plus-37.
Yet last year, a certain offensive defenseman finished first in goals, assists, and points among defensemen and finished with a plus-39 on his own.
Mike Brophy at Sportsnet.ca has Dustin Byfuglien and Shea Weber in the mix (Chara and Visnovsky out). It bears noting that Byfuglien leads all defensemen in goals (18) and is sixth in points (while posting a minus-5), and Weber is a top-ten point getter (although to be fair might be the best two-way defenseman in the NHL not named "Lidstrom").
Nicklas Lidstrom is hockey royalty and is having a superb seaaons; he should win this award going away for 2010-2011. As for the rest, none of the years they are having hold a candle to the year Mike Green had last season. It is the difference between a year (two, actually) when offense among defensemen (and specifically, it seemed, Green) was the bubonic plague* and a year when offense seems to go a long way to influence the rankings of the candidates.
Sorry, Mike. You picked the wrong year to decide to play defense.
* Yes, Green was a Norris Trophy finalist, but you'd wonder why when reading commentary suggesting that his inclusion was all but an insult to defensemen everywhere.