Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself this season for Patrice Bergeron.
Last season the 34-year-old missed 18 games due to injuries, and that missed time likely played a large factor in Bergeron missing out on his record fifth Selke Trophy as it instead went to Anze Kopitar with No. 37 somehow finishing third behind both Kopitar and Sean Couturier. This all despite Bergeron posting 30 goals and 63 points along with a plus-21 rating and still excelling as the most prolific face-off man and a stalwart penalty killer for the Black and Gold.
So the natural thing to point to in Bergeron missing out on that fifth Selke last season was the time missed to injury because everything else had him in line once again as the best two-way center in the NHL. Let’s hope NHL award voters don’t make the same mistake this season with Bergeron already having missed 16 games due to a rib/sternoclavicular injury suffered when Radek Faksa rode him hard into the boards in Dallas back in mid-November.
Let’s also hope that voters remember back to one play in Boston’s Winter Classic win over the Blackhawks that perfectly typified his Selke worthiness. It’s why Tuukka Rask was muttering “Selke, Selke” in the Classic postgame press conference as Bergeron was describing a play where he back-checked hard to wipe out a shorthanded breakaway for David Kampf. Then 30 seconds later Bergeron backhanded a power play strike past Cam Ward that tied up the game in the second period and pretty much turned the momentum in the Bruins' favor after they’d mostly struggled in the middle section of the game.
“That could be a game-changer. It could be a two-goal game. It’s a big, uplifting play for us. It’s one of those things where it’s a teaching moment for our younger guys on how not to quit on plays. That’s the leadership we rely on him for, and sure enough he gets rewarded for it at the other end,” said Bruce Cassidy of the sequence that perfectly typified No. 37’s hustling, two-way approach to the game. “He did that in Carolina this year too. [It was] the same thing. He just has it in him. He never quits. That’s why he’s Patrice Bergeron.
“I expect him to make game-changing plays. That’s just who he is.”
Let’s just hope NHL awards voters remember that this time around at the end of the season when it’s time to once again reward the league’s best defensive forward in Bergeron, who should have a lock on this award for as long he’s lacing them up.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.