The NHL has started to name finalists for its postseason awards with the playoffs in full force, most recently naming three forwards as finalists for the 2012 Selke Trophy. Named after Frank J. Selke, the award is annually given "to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game."
This year's finalists, according to a press release issued by the league on Monday morning, are David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings. The winner will be be announced on June 20 at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas, following a vote from the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
It's tough to name a clear favorite for the award, but Datsyuk certainly has history on his side. Datsyuk had a streak of three consecutive Selke awards going for him until Ryan Kesler won it last season. The other two forwards might have more impressive statistics -- Bergeron led the league in +/- while Backes faced the toughest Quality of Competition while excelling for the Blues -- but Datsyuk is certainly no slouch on the defensive end.