Detroit Red Wing legend Nicklas Lidstrom beat out the Bruins Zdeno Chara to win his seventh James Norris Memorial Trophy for outstanding all-around NHL defenseman.
It was Chara’s third time as a finalist for the award in the past four seasons. The Bruins captain won the award in 2009.
Chara finished third in the voting, 48 points behind Lidstrom. The Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber, a first time finalist, came in second in the voting by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Chara, who led the NHL with a plus/minus rating of plus-33, scored 14 goals to go along with 30 assists during the 2010-11 season.
It was the seventh win for the 41-year-old Lidstrom, who was a finalist for the 11th time in the last 13 seasons. He compiled 62 points last season, good for second among NHL defensemen.
Lidstrom, who will return to Detroit for a 20th season in the fall, tied Doug Harvey as a seven-time winner, one behind Bruins legend Bobby Orr, the all-time record holder with eight Norris wins.
Chara isn’t leaving Las Vegas empty handed as he was later awarded the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.
The award goes to the individual considered the best player on the ice as well as a contributing member to society via community activities and charitable causes.
“It is an honor, and I am overwhelmed to be receiving this award, especially from someone like Mark [Messier],” Chara said upon receiving the honor. “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to achieve something extraordinary. For us as athletes and hockey players, the ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup.
“I have been really privileged and lucky to be on the team that won the Stanley Cup. And I want to thank all of the guys for their help and letting me do my role. Obviously I want to thank our ownership, Mr. Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs, our President Cam Neely, our General Manager Peter Chiarelli, head coach Claude Julien, and all of the members of the coaching staff, our medical staff, and our training staff.”
Chara also gave special thanks to team psychologists Max Offenberger and Frank Lodato for their work over the last five years which he said has been instrumental in helping him become the leader that he is.
Chara and Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas also came out on the awards stage briefly with the Stanley Cup and Chara congratulated the Vancouver Canucks for making it to the finals. He also thanked his family, the Boston fans, ownership, management, and the Bruins coaching staff for their contributions to the championship.
Prior to the awards ceremony at the Pearl Theater at the Palms in Vegas, Chara was asked on NHL Network if champagne from the legendary $100K Midas bottle was drunk out of the Stanley Cup. “Well it was,” Chara said. “But it wasn’t purchased by us, it was basically given to us as a gift.”
Chara also reflected back on the night the Bruins clinched the Cup in Vancouver.
“My favorite memory was, for sure, got back in the locker room after hoisting the Cup, the joy and happiness from all the players, families,” Chara said. “It’s just indescribable, makes me so happy.”
More on the awards: Tim Thomas wins Vezina Trophy competition for best goaltender