On Tuesday, Duncan Keith took home the Norris Memorial Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL, beating out Zdeno Chara and the Predators’ Shea Weber. If you thought it would be a different result, you were lying to yourself. Duncan Keith was the clear cut winner based on a number of factors. But, the shocking part is the vote tally.
Duncan Keith ran away with the votes. Shea Weber finished 3rd in the voting, behind Chara and Keith. That is absurd. Shea Weber played a much better season than Chara. Everyones’ favorite “traitor” Ryan Suter finished 4th.
So, Shea Weber was again snubbed of the recognition he deserves. Which begs the question: why? Who/what is to blame for this injustice? I posed this question on Twitter, and got some interesting responses.
Lack of Exposure
I think this one is the biggest factor, as a few of you pointed out.
@Fang_Faction Everyone who snubs him because we aren't in a larger market and those who only feel that making the playoffs warrants votes.
— Mister J's Harley Q (@jokersharley9) June 25, 2014
While the term “small market” severely underestimates the team and the fanbase, that is how Nashville is still viewed in the eyes of the hockey world. Nashville games don’t sell well on national TV. The Predators played just three games on national television in 2013-14. That has to play a HUGE role, because those national games are the only chance for many of the voters to see Weber play. Three games is not a sufficient sample size. It’s not so much the “small market” as it is the lack of national exposure that comes with being a “small market.”
It’s not even a general bias against the Western Conference anymore. Teams from the West are being shown nationally more and more, but the Predators aren’t. Apparently, a game between the Wild and Coyotes would garner more viewers than, say, the Predators and the Stars.
If you are not familiar with the voting process, the Norris Trophy is decided by the PHWA, or the Professional Hockey Writers Association, which is comprised of many seasoned writers, but many that are of the “old guard.”
The fact that the PHWA votes, and not the players themselves, means Shea Weber is already at a disadvantage. Most of the writers are most likely from places where teams like Chicago get exposure, but not Nashville. If it was a vote of Weber’s peers, he has a much better shot.
The Predators Didn’t Make the Playoffs
While this is plausible, I don’t think it is as big of a deal as you might think. This is the obvious, easy excuse. But, it is too simplistic. The vote is decided before the playoffs begin, so even if Weber got more exposure in the playoffs, the vote has already been decided. I can safely say that if the Preds had made the playoffs, Weber would still not win. He may not have finished third, but he wouldn’t have taken down Keith.
Yes, there’s always an Obama connection…
Yeah, Thanks Obama!!!! Nice going!!!