Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Can't Spell Kesler Without Kesle

In the midst of the controversies and despair of the current post-season comes the announcement that Ryan Kesler is once again a finalist for the Selke trophy, the award given to the top defensive forward in the NHL. He's up against Pavel Datsyuk, the reigning Selke winner, and Jordan Staal.

The Selke is a bit of an odd award, one that is frequently given out based more on reputation than actual performance, largely because the defensive statistics available in hockey are either misleading or misunderstood. Site like Behind the Net have introduced a number of new statistics, such as quality of competition, zone starts, and corsi ratings, but the award is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, very few of which pay any attention to such things. Instead, a lot of the focus is still on the nebulous +/- statistic and the questionably recorded takeaways.

There are plenty of other sources debating who should win. At this time, I'd prefer to just enjoy the fact that Kesler is a finalist; it's a lot better than dwelling on the Canucks playoff performance thus far.


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