WILMINGTON, Mass. – Drawing a parallel between Bruins' Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron and Blackhawks' Selke Trophy winner Jonathan Toews isn’t exactly a novel concept.
They were looked at as mirror images of each other as elite two-way centers when they faced off against each other in the Stanley Cup Final last June. They even had the accompanying injuries to really finish off the idea that they’re cut from the same cloth.
Claude Julien had already noted the similarities long between now, but the likeness of Toews and Bergeron was driven home for him just a little bit more when he coached both of them for Team Canada at the Winter Olympics last month in Sochi.
“Very much so. You can compare [Toews] to Bergeron if you want to know what he’s all about. You’ve got basically the same type of player," Julien said. "He’s a good leader, he’s a good person and when he gets to the rink, and it’s time to work, he’s all business.
“There are a lot of good guys you can compete against, and he’s one of them. He’s got a couple of Stanley Cups as a captain, and he’s been a good leader for them. I got an opportunity to get to know [Toews] a little better in Sochi, and it just backed up everything I had already thought about him as a person. I think he’s an even better person than he is a player.”
Clearly, a defensive coach such as Julien would appreciate the past two Selke Trophy winners in Bergeron and Toews, and it would appear that the award for the best defensive forward will go to one of those players once again.
Bergeron leads the NHL with a plus-36 and has the edge with a 58.8 percent face off win percentage while also racking up 23 goals and 51 points. Toews has the better offensive numbers with 28 goals and 67 points, is tied with Ryan Getzlaf for third among all NHL centers with a plus-29 and is winning an excellent 57 percent of his draws.
“They both belong [in the Selke] category, and there’s no doubt. I’m close enough to both of them to give my opinion,” said Julien. “Both those guys are very dependable players at both ends of the ice.”
Both will get a chance to leave their lasting Selke impression with each other on Thursday night after battling to a draw Jan. 19 in Chicago when the Bruins lost in a shootout.