And Your Frank J. Selke Trophy Winner is Pavel Datsyuk

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IJune 18, 2009

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 15:  Forward Pascal Dupuis #9 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is checked by forward Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers during game one of the 2009 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Mellon Arena on April 15, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Philadelphia Flyers center Mike Richards deserved the Frank J. Selke Award, which is awarded to the forward that excels in the defensive aspects of the game.

He deserved it, but he didn't get it.

Instead, the Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk was awarded the award for the second straight year and became the sixth Wing to win the trophy.

The voting was the closest it has been since its inception in 1978. It was 945-942 in favor of Datsyuk, despite the fact that Richards had more first-place votes.

What the voting shows is that Richards gets the respect from fans and the NHL that he deserves for being one of the best all-around players in the league.

Richards led the league with seven shorthanded goals, 90 blocked shots, third in the league with 83 takeaways and was 17th in the league with a plus-22.

The Flyers' captain was looking to become only the third player to in the award in franchise history. The two players that have won the award for Philly:  Bobby Clarke and Dave Poulin.

Datsyuk also had the numbers to back his resume for the award.  He ranked second in the league with 89 takeaways and was third in the league with a plus-34. He had only one shorthanded goal, which surprised me with this guy's offensive skills.

What is shocking with these two guys is that they aren't just defensive specialist. 

Datsyuk is one of the most talented offensive players in the entire league. His playmaking skills are insane and his puck-handling skills are even better.

He scored 32 goals and had 65 assists for a total of 97 points, with 36 of those points coming on the power play.

Richards set career-highs in goals, assists, points and plus/minus. He was one of four players on the Flyers to score at least 30 goals, hitting that mark on the dot. He led the team with 50 assists.

The Flyers power play is quarterbacked by defenseman Kimmo Timonen, however Richards is also a very key part of the sixth-ranked power play unit in the NHL.

Nonetheless, both players were suitable candidates. For you Flyers fans out there, it'll only be a matter of time before Richie wins his first Selke Trophy.

I found some fun facts while researching the award. There has been one player to win the award four times and it was Bob Gainey in the first four years of its existence. Seven times has a Montreal Canadien won the award with Gainey winning it four times and Guy Carboneau winning it three.