Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mike Richards fails to win the Selke Trophy

By all accounts, the Flyers had a disappointing season this year. After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in the previous season, the Flyers were supposed to take the next step in the 08/09 season and at least get to the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Penguins stood in their way, again, and sent the Flyers packing in the first round.

While they were disappointing as a team, the Flyers had several players who put together solid individual efforts. Simon Gagne had an excellent bounce-back year as he netted 34 goals and proved he was fully recovered from his concussions. Jeff Carter also excelled, finishing second in the league in goals with 46. However, the best effort by any Flyer came from Mike Richards, who had 80 points, a plus/minus of 22 and led all forwards on the team in minutes played. Richards did everything for the Flyers from killing penalties to quarterbacking the powerplay, proving he was an excellent player on both ends of the ice. He was all over the ice, netting a league-leading 7 shorthanded goals and getting into his fair share of scraps. He was simply the best all-around player on the ice for the Flyers, and as we learned after the season, he did it all while fighting through a shoulder injury.

The NHL agreed that Richards was an excellent all-around player, making him a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, given to the forward who "best excels in the defensive aspects of the game". Unfortunately, Richards did not take home the award, instead Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings was deemed the best defensive forward.

Congratulations to Mike Richards for being a finalist for the award. I am sure that Richards would have been happy to win, although he certainly wouldn't have been satisfied with just a Selke Trophy. He wants the Stanley Cup, and he will do whatever it takes to bring it home next season, even if it means hurting both his shoulders.

UPDATE: Richards lost the vote 945-942 to Datsyuk, the closest Selke vote ever. I demand a recount!

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