Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Randy Carlyle and the 1981 Norris Trophy
The voting for the Norris was extremely tight. Carlyle collected 120 voting points, Denis Potvin 113 and Larry Robinson 100. Potvin had finished second to Carlye in defenceman scoring with 76 points in 2 fewer games, but Potvin finished with a Plus 38 +/-, 54 better than Carlyle. Robinson missed even more games that year playing only 65 yet still put up 50 points and a Plus 46 rating.
Perhaps more revealing is the voting for the First and Second All-Star squads after the 1980/81 season. Here, Carlyle finished behind Potvin and by a wide margin. Potvin collected 194 All-Star votes to Carlyle's 168. Robinson finished 15 behind Carlyle to grab a Second Team spot (along with Ray Bourque).
Potvin had won three previous Norris Trophies and Robinson two, including the previous season's. Carlyle. Maybe the voters merely wanted to reward some new blood with the Norris as they would the next two years with Doug Wilson and Rod Langway. In my opinion the Norris should not be given to a player with a Minus 16 rating, and Potvin should have won it in 80/81.