Bergeron honored, humbled by Selke Trophy victory

Bergeron honored, humbled by Selke Trophy victory
June 21, 2012, 3:04 am
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LAS VEGAS, NV Patrice Bergeron was typically modest and deferential in accepting the greatest individual honor of his career, but there was no mistaking how much the honor meant to him as he scanned the names on the Frank J. Selke Trophy Award after winning the honor as the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
No matter what happened before for Bergeron and no matter what greatness awaits him in a career that seems destined for forever in Boston, the two-way center is no longer the grossly underrated superstar doing all the little things right.
One look at the Selke Trophy while speaking with the assembled media clued him into that.
Im just looking at it right here... and this is only one side of it, said Bergeron, but I see Rob BrindAmour, Pavel Datsyuk, Jere Lehtonen, Sergei Federov theyre all guys that I played with in the league and that Ive watched on TV.
Its very impressing and its very humbling. Its an honor and Im very happy.
It was a long time coming for a player that nearly had his NHL career derailed five years ago by a major concussion that put him out for an entire year. The trophy among the NHLs best and brightest was validation that No. 37 is even better than he was prior to the Randy Jones hit-from-behind that threatened his career, and hes still getting better as he enters his prime years.
Bergeron took pains to make certain that everyone knew the award was just as much an accomplishment for his teammates as it was individual recognition. But theres also a certain amount of self-reflection that comes with winning awards and earning league-wide recognition, and Bergeron was feeling every bit of that at the Wynn Casino and Resort on Wednesday night.
Sometimes you have to look back at what youve accomplished over past years. I was always confident I could come back from my injuries, but winning the Stanley Cup was my dream come true, said Bergeron. Winning the Selke is something Im very proud of. I always believed.
But its always nice to be recognized that maybe my game is back and maybe even better than it was before. I just want to keep improving.
Bergeron finished the season with a face-off winning percentage over 59 percent while amassing over 1,600 draws, and the two-way center led the NHL with a plusminus of 36. With those kind of numbers that far dwarfed his competition, he blew away all other defensive forward prospects despite some solid fellow candidates in David Backes and Pavel Datsyuk. Bergeron finished with 1,312 vote points while Backes was the second-place finisher with 698 vote points.
It feels special. Playing both sides of the rink is something that I take a lot of pride in. Thats the way I learned to play hockey, said Bergeron. To win an award for the best defensive forward is something special, but I cant do this without my teammates. Im really happy that my name is going to be on this trophy.
The Selke field was perhaps lightened a bit this year when both Jonathan Toews and Ryan Kesler were felled with injuries, but theres no reason to think this couldnt be a run of Selke Trophies for a player thats just beginning to establish how good he can be.
Chara gave Bergeron a big bear hug as the two said their goodbyes after the awards ceremony. The Bruins captains pride in his teammate was obvious, and his words beforehand underscored that.
Im extremely happy for him, said Chara. He means a lot. To have him on the team playing every role in every situation at crucial times in the games... you can always count on him on or off the ice. Hes a tremendous hockey player and person.