Lidstrom Deserves Recognition As MVP
It's time to stoke hockey's hot stove and start talking about postseason honors.
There are plenty of NHL players worthy this season of Most Valuable Player consideration.
Nobody can argue with the candidacies of Vancouver's Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, or Colorado's Peter Forsberg.
While Vancouver's tandem is getting most of the attention, you can throw in a couple of others -- such as Westland's Mike Modano of Dallas and, just to be fair to the Eastern Conference, Joe Thornton of Boston.
Our question is: When will the selectors step out of the box and make some choices that aren't based solely on goals and assists but the less obvious -- but no less important contributions -- of Nicklas Lidstrom or Martin Brodeur, the New Jersey goalie?
If there has been a more dependable and more valuable player in the NHL over the past three seasons than Lidstrom, we don't know who he is. Lidstrom has been honored back-to-back with the Norris Trophy as the outstanding defenseman. That's as it should be. Now it's time to ratchet it up and give Lidstrom the respect his game demands.
In the past 30 years, only once has a defenseman won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player: Chris Pronger of St. Louis in 2000. Before Pronger, it goes all the way back to 1973, when Bobby Orr won his third straight.
Here's the connection: No defenseman has won the Norris Trophy in three straight seasons since Orr won it eight straight times beginning in 1968. No defenseman, that is, until Lidstrom, who is a lock to accomplish a hat trick this year with a third Norris.