- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — This pretty much sums up Jay Pandolfo, the New Jersey Devils left wing who is on — for him — a scoring rampage: Twice in the past five seasons he has been named “unsung hero” by his teammates, an honor that usually goes to an individual who can be picked out of a crowd only by his parents.

Pandolfo, a native of Winchester, Mass., and a teammate of the Washington Capitals’ Mike Grier at Boston University, is one of the Devils’ leading scorers in the playoffs.

“[Defense is] my role here,” Pandolfo said after the Devils defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-2 yesterday to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series. “I don’t think it’s going to change too much. Obviously, I’ve been able to chip in a little offensively, but my role isn’t going to change.”

Pandolfo has four goals and nine points in 14 playoff games, but those aren’t the stats he pays closest attention to. He is plus-9 defensively, meaning he has been on the ice for nine more even-strength goals than the opposition has scored.

Giguere ‘hasn’t been bad’

New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur conceded he was usually too tired to stay up late and watch the goings-on being orchestrated by Anaheim’s Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who came within one shot of shutting out Minnesota in the Western Conference finals. Giguere faced 122 shots in four games against the Wild and stopped 121, with former Cap Andrew Brunette breaking up the scoreless streak at 4:37 of the first period Friday night.

You will have to forgive Brodeur. He grew up in Montreal, and his first language was French. There are times when he mixes things up, such as saying Giguere “hasn’t been bad.”

Best defenseman?

The Norris Trophy is awarded to the best defenseman, but the definition of the award has been diluted by voters who look at offensive stats and determine that the guy who scores 10 goals is better than the superior defenseman who scores none.

“I’ve always wondered about the Norris Trophy,” Devils coach Pat Burns said. “Scoring goals has become more important [than preventing them]. I don’t think that’s what the trophy was invented for. Is it for the best all-around defenseman? You have to put Scott Niedermayer in that class. That’s one of the reasons [former Cap] Scott Stevens has come up short, too. It’s amazing that [Niedermayer] has been overlooked for the Norris.”

There has been an argument for years that there should be a Norris for the best defenseman and a second award for the best offensive defenseman. There is a distinct difference. That Stevens could win a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP and not a Norris is ludicrous.

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