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April 22, 2004 - Selke nomination caps Draper's year
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Thursday, April 22, 2004


Selke nomination caps Draper's year

Wings center is a first-time finalist for a big-time award

John T. Greilick / The Detroit News

Brett Hull assists goalie Curtis Joseph at practice by pulling out a puck that had gone under Joseph's jersey.

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DETROIT Center Kris Draper got the news after being sent to the office of Coach Dave Lewis after practice Wednesday.

I havent been sent to his office in a while, said Draper, who came out with a huge smile.

Lewis broke the news that Draper had been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, given to the NHLs best defensive forward.

Draper, 32, is a first-time finalist. He is competing with New Jersey center John Madden (Michigan) and San Jose center Alyn McCauley.

Its pretty flattering to be put in that category, Draper said. Individual trophies are something I havent given thought to for a long time. Its nice to be able to get mentioned.

Draper had career highs of 24 goals and 40 points.

There was much talk at midseason about his deserving of a spot on the All-Star team, although that never came.

That would have been nice, Draper said, but we already had plans to go to Disney and it would have been hard to tell my daughter we were going to Minnesota instead.

Said associate coach Barry Smith of Draper: Hes been playing at a great level for a lot of years. He took over this season.

Draper gave ample credit to linemate Kirk Maltby, who also plays alongside Draper on the Wings penalty-kill.

I give him a lot of the credit for the situation Im in right now, Draper said. Hes a huge part of this.

Said Maltby: Kris is a pretty hard worker on and off the ice. Hes pretty deserving of this.

Tough goalie

Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun gave the Wings fits for the better part of the first round.

Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is capable of doing the same in the second round.

His biggest strength is hes rarely out of position, center Steve Yzerman said.

Kiprusoff has tremendous flexibility. Even when he seems out of position to stop a shot, hell corkscrew his body so hes there to frustrate yet another shooter.

Hes always square to the shooter, Lewis said. Hes been a big part of their success.

Kiprusoff had a 2.08 goals-against average and .922 save percentage during Calgarys first-round victory over Vancouver.

I felt great the whole series, Kiprusoff said. Now its time to concentrate on the next game (today). Its going to be a fun and tough series.

Ice chips

The Flames practiced in Calgary on Wednesday and traveled to Detroit later in the evening.

... Smith, on the Flames: Theyre similar to Nashville in theyre fast, they forecheck extremely hard. Theyre bigger (than Nashville). They take pride in winning the board battles.

... Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said he felt teammate Mathieu Schneider should have been named a finalist for the Norris Trophy (best defenseman). Lidstrom has won the trophy the last three seasons, but he also wasnt named a finalist this season.

He should have been nominated, Lidstrom said. He had a real strong season. Good offensively, good defensively, just overall, he had a real good year.