Patrice Bergeron has never been one to seek personal accolades, but even he had to appreciate the long overdue, formal recognition he received on Wednesday night at the NHL Awards out in Las Vegas.
The Bruins’ team-first center took home the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, beating out fellow finalists David Backes (Blues) and three-time winner Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings).
Bergeron garnered 106 of the 148 first-place votes, finishing with a total of 1,312 votes, trumping Backes’ 698 and Datsyuk’s 553.
“Felt pretty special, actually,” Bergeron said of hearing his name called. “It's a huge honor, like I said, just to be nominated. And to actually win it is something very special and just looking at some names right now. It's very humbling to be with them.”
A number of the league’s all-time greats have won the award in year’s past, which Bergeron was quick to point out while glancing at his new hardware.
“I'm looking at it right here,” said Bergeron, the first Bruin to win the Selke since Steve Kasper took home the award 30 years ago. “It's only one side of it. (Rod) Brind'Amour and (Jere) Lehtinen and Pavel (Datsyuk), he's great, but all the guys that I've watched on TV, and (Sergei) Fedorov. It's pretty impressive and also very humbling, like I said. It's an honor, and I’m very happy.”
Nevertheless, this year’s league leader in plus-minus reiterated that individual awards can’t hold a candle to team ones.
“This is the biggest individual award that I won,” said Bergeron, who led the NHL with 973 faceoff wins in 2011-12. “And it's not going to get anywhere close to the Stanley Cup or my gold medal as a team. So I'm happy, very honored and humbled. But this goes to all the teammates.”