Bergeron honored, humbled by Selke Trophy victory


Bergeron honored, humbled by Selke Trophy victory

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.

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season.