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Chara, Keith, Weber named Norris finalists

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 28 2014 11:53:00 AM CDT
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Shaun Best / Reuters

The Boston Bruins' Zdeno Chara, Chicago Blackhawks' Duncan Keith and Nashville Predators' Shea Weber were named finalists for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL's top defenseman.

Chara led a Boston defense that paced the Eastern Conference and ranked second in the NHL with 177 goals against. He averaged a team-high 24:39 per game, nearly 3 minutes more than the next-closest player, and also placed in the top 10 among NHL defensemen with 17 goals, 10 power-play goals, three game-winning goals and a plus-25 rating.

Keith led all defensemen with 55 assists and ranked second among blueliners with 61 points to power a Chicago offense that paced the NHL with 267 goals. He recorded his 40th helper of the season in his 46th game, becoming the fastest defenseman in franchise history to reach the milestone, and posted a career-long, eight-game assist/point streak from Nov. 19 to Dec. 3. Keith played a team-high average of 24:38 per game, topping the Blackhawks in ice time for the ninth time in as many seasons.

Weber ranked first among defensemen with 23 goals and set a franchise record for points by a blueliner with 56, leading the Predators in scoring for the second consecutive season. He also led all defensemen with 12 power-play goals, ranked fourth in the NHL with an average of 26:54 of ice time per game and set a career high with 11.8 percent shooting. In the final 42 games of the season, Weber had 14 goals and 20 assists, three game-winning goals and a plus-11 rating.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted ballots for the Norris Trophy at the end of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists.

The winner will be announced June 24 during the NHL Awards from Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. The awards will be broadcast by NBCSN in the U.S. and CBC in Canada.