The last time Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk wasn't nominated for the Selke Trophy, Evgeni Malkin had just wrapped up his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Seems like ages ago, doesn't it?
Datsyuk, 33, was named Monday as one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward, the fifth straight year he's been in the running. He won the award from 2008 through 2010 before Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks ended his reign last year. His fifth nomination matches the streaks by Montreal's Guy Carbonneau (1986 through 1990) and Bob Gainey (1978 through 1982) as the longest since the award was introduced in 1978.
Datsyuk was the top face-off man for the Red Wings and had a plus-21 rating during the 2011-12 season. He also had 19 goals and 48 assists in 70 games.
Also nominated for the award was David Backes of the St. Louis Blues and Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins.
"I'm flattered by it," Bergeron said of his nomination. "To be named with two great players like Backes and Datsyuk, I'm very happy with it. But still I think it goes to all my teammates. I really believe in that."
CAMPBELL UP FOR BYNG
Florida Panthers defenceman Brian Campbell is definitely swimming against the current.
Campbell, is one of three finalists for the Lady Byng Trophy, given to the NHL's most gentlemanly player, and the only blueliner in the group. In fact, no defenceman has won the award since Red Kelly of the Detroit Red Wings did so in 1954 and only three have ever won it.
"It's a great honour. I don't think too many defencemen get awarded," Campbell said. "You look at some of the stuff that's been going on in the playoffs right now, the game can be played hard and played the right way."
Campbell, who had 53 points and just six penalty minutes in 82 games, will be up against forwards Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers and Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders.
Three-time NHL all-star Jerry Toppazzini died over the weekend at age 80.
Toppazzini, a Sudbury hockey legend who spent the better part of 12 years with the Boston Bruins, with stops in Chicago and Detroit, played in three all-star games during the 1950s. In 1957-58, he set a then-NHL record by scoring seven short-handed goals in one season.
He also holds the distinction of being the last position player to play in goal during a regulation NHL game in Chicago in 1960, shortly before league rules were changed requiring all teams to dress backups.
Toppazzini also won the Memorial Cup with the Barrie Flyers in 1950 and coached the Sudbury Wolves following his playing days. In his first season, while coaching the likes of Mike Foligno, Randy Carlyle, Rod Schutt and Ron Duguay, he posted the winningest record in club history and won OHL coach of the year.
The Florida Panthers signed forward Vincent Trocheck, their third-round pick in 2011, to an entry-level contract. Trocheck had 29 goals and 56 assists in 65 games with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHl this season ... The Carolina Hurricanes signed undrafted Plymouth Whalers defenceman Beau Schmitz to an entry-level contract. Schmitz, 21, had 14 goals and 40 assists in 62 games with the Whalers in 2011-12 ... American defenceman Seth Jones, the son of former NBAer Popeye Jones, had his Western Hockey League rights traded from the Everett Silvertips to the Portland Winterhawks. Jones, 17, had six goals and 20 assists in 48 games with the U.S. National Development Program's under-18 team.