By Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial
LAS VEGAS -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith won the 2014 Norris Trophy in somewhat of a surprising landslide.
"Obviously, it is a pretty surreal feeling," Keith said less than an hour after winning the award for the second time in his career. "Like I said in the speech, there are so many good defensemen in the League and I'm proud to represent all the defensemen."
For some, Keith's success is a product of his team, loaded with game-breakers at every position. For others, this Norris Trophy is a reflection of a skill set that places him among the elite at his position.
In reality, it is a combination of both.
Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has coached against Keith enough times to know he is nearly impossible to game plan against. Babcock has also coached him with Team Canada at the Winter Olympics and understands Keith's unique gifts can be a difference-making option.
2013-14 Norris Trophy Voting -- Top 10
Player Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
Keith, CHI 1.033 (68-35-17-7-2)
Chara, BOS 667 (21-39-22-19-17)
Weber, NSH 638 (26-23-29-19-15)
Suter, MIN 351 (9-12-20-22-11)
Pietrangelo, STL 304 (3-13-18-25-18)
Doughty, LA 284 (8-6-17-18-23)
Karlsson, OTT 70 (0-5-3-4-8)
McDonagh, NYR 53 (0-1-4-5-11)
Hedman, TBL 42 (1-1-0-5-10)
Giordano, CGY 36 (1-0-2-3-7)
"Unbelievable skater, good hockey sense, moves the puck," Babcock said Tuesday afternoon before the 2014 NHL Awards show began at Encore Theater at Wynn Hotel. "When you look at [the Blackhawks] and you look at franchise players they have a few of them. There's very few teams, maybe [Los Angeles] with [Anze] Kopitar, [Drew] Doughty and [Jonathan] Quick, that have franchise players in all three positions. Keith is in a good situation for him. They play an up-tempo game. He's got good people around him, but he's an elite, elite player."
Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown has butted heads against Keith countless times, both in the NHL and on the international stage. They have played against each other in back-to-back Western Conference Finals.
"For me, it's just his skating ability," Brown said after winning the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone at the Awards. "He's a guy that likes to get in on the forecheck and get physical and for guys like that it is very hard to get hits on them. He has the ability to get himself out of trouble. He's a real big part of that team from the back end. He's one of those guys that plays against top guys but also has the offensive side of the game. He's the best offensive guy he has on the back end and he really helps those forwards with their transition game because of his heads-up play and he moves the puck really quick."