Absolutely no surprise: Patrice Bergeron a finalist for Selke
|04.24.14 at 1:02 pm ET|
DETROIT — To the surprise of no one, Patrice Bergeron finished in the top three in Selke voting for the trophy annually awarded to the league’s best defensive forward.
The other nominees were Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews; Bergeron will in all likelihood win, with Kopitar likely finishing second and Toews coming in third.
Bergeron won his first Selke in the 2011-12 season and just barely lost to Toews last season. With a 30-goal season, the most faceoff wins and first- and second-place finishes in Corsi and CorsiRel, respectively, this regular season, Bergeron appears to be in line for his second Selke.
“I’ve always been taught to play the game that way – both sides of the ice,” Bergeron said Thursday. “Growing up playing junior my coach put a lot of emphasis on that, and I tried to work on my faceoffs as well.
“I came into the league and guys like Ted Donato and other older guys that were taking a lot of pride in that aspect of the game helped me through it. Obviously, with the coaching staff here now, that’s something we put a lot of work on and I’m trying to get better at it.”
Zdeno Chara is the main reason as to why the Bruins are such a great defensive team, but its forwards — most notably Bergeron, who plays against other teams’ top lines — is why Boston regularly finishes with one of the league’s top goal-differentials.
“I think there’s no [surprise] about the nomination,” Chara said of Bergeron. “Even before it was announced, a lot of people knew that he would be one of the finalists. [It’s] well-deserved; he works really hard on both ends of the ice. He does so many things offensively, defensively that it’s nice that he’s recognized again. I’m sure he’s probably going to be one of the favorites to win it.”
Bergeron’s 30-goal season was the second of his career, as he scored 31 in the 2005-06 season. Given that he never cheats offensively or risks a potential odd-man rush for the sake of a scoring opportunity, the consensus is that he could score much more if he didn’t play such a responsible game.
Yet throughout his career, Bergeron has never cared to find out just what would happen if he sacrificed two-way play for scoring. That sense of responsibility is why he wears an “A” on his sweater and why the Bruins pay him handsomely. Next year, Bergeron will begin an eight-year, $52 million contract that makes him the team’s highest-paid forward.
“That’s the way I want to play the game,” Bergeron said. “It does feel natural for me to play both sides of the ice.”