Months have passed since Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kesler took a faceoff against each other.
But they're up against each other again — this time in Las Vegas. It's the Blackhawks against the Vancouver Canucks for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which goes to the best defensive forward.
Despite all the compliments Toews and Kesler paid each other Tuesday at the Palms, the rivalry between the teams and players is still festering.
"It means a lot," said Toews, who brought his parents, brother David and some friends from Winnipeg to Las Vegas. "It's just another one of those things. It gets really competitive and maybe personal at times, especially when it's off the ice.
"But whatever happens [tonight at the NHL awards show], if Ryan walks away with the trophy, you have to respect him for that. He's earned the right to be there with the season he had this year. He's a big part of that team that went to the [Stanley Cup finals]."
Detroit Red Wings star center Pavel Datsyuk, who has won the last three Selke trophies, is a finalist again. But this is considered Kesler's time to win after being a finalist three consecutive years. He's definitely the favorite for the Selke, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Kesler, 26, was a main reason why the Canucks had the lowest goals-against average in the NHL (2.20) and one of the best penalty kills. He led all forwards with 80 blocks and had a team-high 65 takeaways. He also won a career-best 57.4 percent of his faceoffs and had career highs with 41 goals and a plus-24 rating.
Canucks' Ryan Kesler has edge vs. Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews
Chicago Sun-Times | Jun 22