NHL's Doughty, Green, Keith in Norris race
Playoff participants vying for top defensive honours
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn gave Los Angeles Kings blue-liner Drew Doughty some good news Friday morning — so good, in fact, that Doughty didn't believe him at first.
Schenn called to tell his good friend that he had been nominated for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top defenceman.
"I didn't know that they were announcing the finalists today, so he told me, and right away, I called my dad to look up on the NHL site and see if it was true," Doughty said after the Kings' morning skate.
The Kings play Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series against the Canucks in Vancouver Friday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).
Doughty, who is 20 years and four months old, could become the youngest winner since Bobby Orr captured his first of a record eight consecutive Norris trophies. Orr won his first in 1968, at the age of 20 and three months.
"It's pretty cool," said Doughty, a native of London, Ont. "Bobby Orr was obviously one of the best defencemen to ever play the game. To be close to what he did is kind of surprising, I guess, to me, but it's obviously very humbling, and it's a big honour as well."
The other Norris candidates are Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, who led NHL defencemen in scoring with 76 points, and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks, who finished second with 69 points.
Doughty, 20, is vying to become the second-youngest Norris Trophy winner in NHL history. Bobby Orr was 20 years three months of age when he won the first of his record eight Norris Trophy titles.
Doughty was ranked third among NHL blue-liners in scoring with 59 points, tied Shea Weber for second in goals by a defenceman with 16 goals and was first in game-winning goals (five).
"My first goal was just to play hard for the Kings and make them a playoff team and, obviously, get a shot at making the Olympic team," said Doughty. "As the season wore on, I kind of knew that I was being mentioned in that category, so I made it my goal to, hopefully, be a finalist."
Kings coach Terry Murray said Doughty has earned the nomination while developing his skills and getting good guidance from his minor hockey mentors.
"But a lot of it is skill, a lot of it is innate talent," said Murray. "Some guys step on the ice, and they're just able to play the game at a high level. That's also a part of it with Doughty."
Kings captain Dustin Brown raved about Doughty's grasp of the game.
"He's one of those guys that gets himself in tight situations and somehow finds a way out," said Brown. "He's fun to watch and play with."
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Doughty has demonstrated everything that it takes to be an impact player during his two-year tenure in the NHL. The Vancouver bench boss praised him for playing "extremely well" under pressure.
"You just have to look at what he did this year in the Olympics," said Vigneault. "He was definitely one of the best defencemen on the ice for Team Canada."
Green, the runner-up to Boston's Zdeno Chara for last year's Norris Trophy, led all defenceman in goals (19) and points (76), assists (57) and power-play goals (10). Green also anchored the NHL's top power play as Washington scored a league-high 79 goals with the man advantage.
Keith appeared in all 82 regular-season games for the third time in his five-year NHL career. Keith registered career highs in goals (14), assists (55) and points (69), finishing behind Green among NHL defencemen in assists and points.
The winner will be announced June 23.