The 2008-09 Norris Trophy finalists were announced today and there were no surprises: Nick Lidstrom, Mike Green and Zdeno Chara.
Simply said, the Rangers didn't have a Norris Trophy defenseman. The Norris now seems to go to the highest scoring defenseman and thus Green will get the damned thing even though Chara is the Scotty Hockey choice as the best all-around defender. Michal Rozsival led the Blueshirt bunch with 30 points in 76 games. Paul Mara showed up every game - when he wasn't losing his mind going after Patrick Kaleta - and he was the most solid all-around presence of the seven 'regulars' (can't forget Kalinin). He rarely made a gaffe with the puck, he was physical and he ended up the only positive defender on the team. While Marek Malik proved that plus/minus isn't the be-all-end-all stat for defensemen, Mara coming out clean was an impressive achievement - especially given as his game has faded since being paired with former teammate Derek Morris.
Dan Girardi and Marc Staal each have had some stellar performances since they became the top pairing upon being united by Tortorella. Unfortunately that was too little too late as both had struggled heavily trying to carry their defensively-incompetent partners, Redden and Rozy respectively. Perhaps next season and beyond, once they add Bobby, Del Zotto and the Hobey Baker blueliner, the Rangers may indeed produce another Norris winner.