Shortly after Mike Green scored twice in the Capitals’ regular-season finale to become the NHL goal scoring leader among defensemen, Adam Oates was blunt when asked to assess Green’s play.
“Mike, to me, should be a Norris Trophy candidate every year,” said the Capitals’ head coach.
Green may have been a candidate for this year’s Norris Trophy but he is not officially a finalist for the award that goes annually to NHL’s top defenseman.
Instead, the NHL announced Tuesday that this year’s finalists are Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins, PK Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild.
Green was a finalist for the Norris Trophy in 2008-09 and 2009-10, but this year’s class features three first-time nominees.
Letang and Subban shared the overall scoring lead for defensemen with 38 points each, while Letang’s 33 assists and Subban’s 26 power play points were also tops among blueliners.
Weber impressed in his first season in Minnesota, leading the NHL in ice time with an average of 27 minutes 16 seconds per game. The 28-year-old was also third in scoring among defensemen with 33 points in 48 games.
The winner of the Norris Trophy will be announced at the NHL Awards Show at season’s end.
ROLSTON STAYING IN BUFFALO
The Buffalo Sabres announced Tuesday that Ron Rolston has been named the club’s fulltime head coach after serving as the club’s interim bench boss for the final 31 games last season.
Rolston replaced Lindy Ruff as Sabres head coach on Feb. 20 and led Buffalo to a 15-11-5 record.
"Seeing Ron's interaction with the team, both as a teacher and a motivator,” said Sabres general manager Darcy Regier, “as we moved through the season, for me personally, it became more and more evident that he was a very good fit not only for the present, but for the future.”
U.S. FALLS TO RUSSIA AT WORLDS
Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist and Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves as Russia beat the U.S. 5-3 Tuesday at the World Hockey Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Paul Stastny scored twice in the U.S. defeat while his Colorado Avalanche teammate Matt Hunwick also found the back of the net for the Americans who drop to 2-1 in the preliminary round.
The defending champion Russians improve to 3-0 and sit alone atop Group H. The U.S. faces Finland on Wednesday [1 p.m., NBC Sports Network].