|Patrice Bergeron named finalist for Selke Trophy||04.23.12 at 11:36 am ET|
Will this be the year for Patrice Bergeron?
The Bruins center was named one of the three finalists for this year’s Frank J. Selke Trophy Monday, awarded annually to the forward “who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.” The other finalists are three-time winner Pavel Datsyuk and St. Louis’ David Backes.
During the regular season, Bergeron led the NHL in plus/minus (plus-36) and was second in faceoff percentage (59.3). He has never won the Selke in his career.
Only three players have won the award over the last six seasons: Rod Brind’Amour twice, Datsyuk in three straight seasons and Ryan Kesler last season.
Though the fraternity of Selke winners such a small and exclusive club, it seemed throughout the 2011 postseason and this regular season that Bergeron would finally begin to get the national recognition that has somehow eluded the quiet center throughout his career.
Bergeron matches up against the other teams’ top lines, so for him to post a plus-36 (and have linemate Tyler Seguin, an extremely gifted scorer whose defensive game is nothing to write home about, finish with a plus-34) is nothing short of outstanding.
Many writers from different markets seemed to jump on the Bergeron-for-Selke, trying to correct what has been somewhat of an injustice for the Bruins’ top forward. Bergeron finished the regular season with 64 points, which was second to Tyler Seguin.
|Healthy or not, here comes Patrice Bergeron||04.22.12 at 7:54 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Patrice Bergeron wasn’t 100 percent healthy on Sunday, and it was (we’ll go without the “painfully” pun) obvious.
The best faceoff man in the league during the regular season was unable to take draws on Sunday, and in his place, Rich Peverley handled faceoffs and most of the day at center while Bergeron played wing.
Bergeron was hurt in the third period of Game 5 on Saturday, as he left the game after three third-period shifts. The Bruins didn’t say what his injury was, and Bergeron didn’t prepare as if it would keep him out.
“Ah, no,” Bergeron said when asked whether he doubted he would be able to play on Sunday.
Added Bergeron: “I [knew] was playing yesterday.”
Though Bergeron was banged up and took two offensive zone penalties, he still came through with a big game for the B’s. He assisted on Peverley’s first-period goal and nearly ended the game in overtime before Tyler Seguin got the chance. Just 2:16 into overtime — 1:01 before Seguin’s goal — Bergeron redirected a shot that beat Braden Holtby but hit the crossbar.
Perhaps the defining moment of Bergeron’s game, though, came late in regulation. The Bruins iced the puck with 1:02 left in a 3-3 game. The faceoff was coming in the Bruins’ zone, and a Capitals goal — they had scored earlier in the period off a faceoff win — would have likely ended the series.
To Bergeron’s left? Brad Marchand. To his right? Brian Rolston. No Peverley, no other center out there to take the draw. Rather than trusting the most important faceoff of the season to a winger, Bergeron broke protocol and took the draw. He won.
“Well, I kind of had to right?” Bergeron said when asked if he made the call to take the faceoff. “It was on that side and Pevs was not on the ice.
Finally, he took credit.
“Yeah, I made the call,” he said.
Bergeron will have two days to rest up and get healthy for Game 7 Wednesday at the Garden.
|Patrice Bergeron and Joe Corvo will take warmups||at 2:08 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Bruins coach Claude Julien did not indicate Sunday whether center Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Joe Corvo will be in the team’s lineup for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals, but he did say the two will take the ice for warmups.
Both players left Saturday’s 4-3 loss due to injury, as Corvo was hurt blocking a shot in the second period and Bergeron left the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury.
Both Jordan Caron and Mike Mottau will also take warmups for the B’s, as will blueliner Andrew Bodnarchuk.
|Patrice Bergeron arrives early for Game 6||at 12:21 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — The Bruins’ best forward will at the very least be at Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Patrice Bergeron, who left Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Capitals in the third period, was spotted by multiple reporters as he entered the Verizon Center by himself before noon. He could be early to undergo treatment or to be examined by team doctors.
Bergeron, who led the NHL with a plus-36 rating in the regular season, took only three shifts in the third period Saturday. After the game, coach Claude Julien did not indicate how Bergeron suffered the injury or what the injury was, but Bergeron could have been hurt on a third-period hit he took from Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin.
|Patrice Bergeron, Joe Corvo hurt in Game 5 loss||at 12:38 am ET|
The Bruins head into a do-or-die Game 6 in Washington Sunday and they do not know if they will have their top-line center with them and available.
Patrice Bergeron took a hit from Alexander Ovechkin and played just three shifts in the third period as the Bruins fell to the Capitals, 4-3.
“I’m not sure,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Bergeron’s status. “To be honest, I get into a game then I’m told that a guy is a little injured at that point and that’s all I know. I’m not quite sure whether it was that hit or whether it’s a hit that he had earlier that he kind of hit the glass, and that’s where I think it started, in my mind. So, I’m not 100 percent sure on that.”
Injury stoppage has infuriated Bruins coach Julien in the series. That continued in Saturday when Joe Corvo went down in the second period after blocking a shot from Marcus Johansson in the right leg. He stayed down momentarily before trying to get up. The officials didn’t blow the whistle and Alexander Semin scored the game’s first goal.
“Well that was probably the frustrating part for me,” Julien said. “We were in Washington last game and twice their players go down in their own end and we had full control of the puck and the whistle was blown right away with no hesitation and tonight we’re deciding we’re not. So, I guess I was a little perturbed ‘ is there two sets of rules or one? And I know they’re different referees but it’s still the same series so that was frustrating because they ended up scoring a goal on that. Again, that was my frustration on that goal and it’s unfortunate that’s how it ended up. Those other two guys are being looked at as we speak right now so there’s no update on them.”
|Bruins respond to ‘ludicrous’ accusations from Dale Hunter||04.18.12 at 3:27 pm ET|
ARLINGTON, Va. — Responses are usually saved for the ice in hockey, but on Wednesday the Bruins had to answer to something pretty serious.
On Tuesday, Washington coach Dale Hunter suggested the Boston players had been targeting the head of Nicklas Backstrom, who missed 40 games during the regular season with a concussion.
Backstrom was suspended for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals for cross-checking Bruins forward Rich Peverley in the face after the Bruins’ 4-3 victory in Game 3. Hunter said on Tuesday that because of how the Bruins had been playing against him, Backstrom had to “protect himself.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said after Wednesday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “I don’t know any coach that would tell his team to go after somebody’s head. It speaks for itself.”
Added Julien: “It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous. There’s always going to be emotions in games, and there’s things that are happening. Like I said [after Game 3], there was three cross-checks. They penalized one and they suspended one. We’re not whining about the refs and we need to win the series and what’s going on here. That’s where are focus is on. That’s what it should be.”
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has returned from two major concussions in his day, and last season missed two playoff games with a concussion. He said he hasn’t gotten a sense that players target the heads of players returning from head injuries, and certainly hopes that id doesn’t happen on any team.
“I think we’re just playing playoff hockey,” Bergeron said. “We’re not worrying about who’s out there. I certainly would be the last guy to do something like that. I’ve been through it, so I don’t really worry about that, to be honest with you.”
Shawn Thornton doesn’t pay attention to other teams, whether it be their place in the standings, the scores of their games or the words that they say. One thing Thornton is sure of, however, is that Hunter’s accusation had nothing to do with a mere fourth-liner.
“I’m not on the ice against that guy anyway,” Thornton said of Backstrom, who once had 101 points in a season, “so I really don’t have to worry about it.”
Capitals center Keith Aucoin joined the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to discuss his team’s series against the Bruins and his experience growing up in the Boston area.
Aucoin may have grown up playing hockey in Waltham and Chelmsford, but now he plays on an enemy line as far as Bruins fans are concerned as the B’s and Capitals square off in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Aucoin and the Capitals returned home with the series tied heading into Game 3, but the Bruins were able to snag a victory, something that Aucoin said was because the Bruins simplified their game.
“I think they kept the game a lot more simple,” Aucoin said. “They were a lot more physical than they were in Game 1 and 2, and I think they kind of wore us down a bit toward the end of the game. They turned the puck over, which is what they key on.
“They got us off our game a little bit, and after the whistles stopped there was a lot of extracurricular activity. We have to make sure we stay away from that and that’s what we did in Games 1 and 2.”
When asked if the physical play of Game 3 was a sign of things to come, if the series may take an ugly turn as it has in many series around the NHL, Aucoin said that these kinds of actions are what happen when two teams have prolonged exposure to each other in such a condensed period of time.
“I think that’s what happens in a series,” Aucoin said. “[In] Game 1 there wasn’t much at all, and Game 2 a little bit more and Game 3 a little bit more. As the games go on, you get sick of each other and you grow tired of each other. You never know what can happen. You could see the hate going in Game 3.”
The Capitals suffered a tough setback to their hopes to rebound from their Game 3 loss when it was announced that Nicklas Backstrom would be suspended for Game 4 for his cross-check on Rich Peverley at the end of the game. Though Backstrom’s absence will certainly make things tougher for the Capitals, Aucoin said that the team can possibly rally around it.
” I think the guys have to rally around each other and go out there and figure out a way to win,” Aucoin said. “Tomorrow’s a must-win game for us, so we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go out there and somebody’s got to step up.
“[For] the last month and a half before the playoffs started we’ve been playing playoff hockey. We have to figure out a way to do it again and rally. We’re a team that’s rallied around each other all year and it’s been fun to be a part of.”