Chiarelli sees Bergeron in Hart discussion

Chiarelli sees Bergeron in Hart discussion
April 14, 2014, 6:00 pm
(USA Today Sports)

BOSTON – While it may be a long shot given that just about every Hart Trophy winning forward has finished in the top three in scoring over the last decade, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was lobbying for star two-way center Patrice Bergeron to get some consideration. Bergeron had easily his best NHL season scoring 30 goals for the second time in his career, finishing with 62 points, winning nearly 59 percent of his face offs and ending second in the entire NHL with a plus-38 for the season.

All the more impressive: Bergeron did all of those statistically impressive things while starting his shifts outside the offensive zone 55 percent of the time, and regularly lined up as the defensive stopper vs. the other team’s best players on a game-by-game basis. Clearly the Selke Trophy should be a slam dunk for a player that’s become a regular finalist for that award, but that only scratches the surface of Bergeron’s value to the Boston Bruins.

“I really believe that Patrice [Bergeron] has had a terrific year and the impact that he has had defensively and offensively has been outstanding. I think he should be in line for those awards,” said Chiarelli. “It's the best I've seen him, period.”

Chiarelli watched Bergeron elevate his game this season despite coming back from a punctured lung/cracked rib/separated shoulder suffered in last year’s playoffs, and take things to a completely different level after the Olympics. The two-way center scored 14 goals and collected 24 points in 23 games following the Olympic break, and opened up his offensive game after skating with Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby for Team Canada.

“You know, the Olympics helped us out on a couple of different fronts. Loui was another thing, his pace and his game really took off. But Bergy, he started maybe as the 13th forward over there in Sochi. Everyone saw what he can do, and he was basically on the top line at the end of the day,” said Chiarelli. “It helped his pace, it helped his tempo, and you know, you see him shoot the puck better this year.

“He's had a terrific year. Of course, the whole two-way component of his game is so good, it's always good. It's not by accident you hear his name in the Hart Trophy conversation, that doesn't surprise me at all. This is the best I've seen him play.”

It would seem Bergeron’s Olympic buddy, Crosby, has the Hart Trophy wrapped up with his 104 points and unfailing consistency for a Penguins team besieged by injuries throughout the year. But those that truly know the game of hockey beyond statistics and gaudy offensive numbers know just how valuable Bergeron is to everything the Bruins accomplished in a truly special President’s Trophy-worthy season.