Patrice Bergeron: Selke Award Candidate

by
Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron has been the best Bruin this season, at both ends of the ice.

I know it’s early but I wanted to be the first one to say it. Hopefully I won’t be the last, especially when the 2009-10 NHL Season is closer to it’s conclusion than it is right now.

Patrice Bergeron is a Selke Award candidate.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the case right now following his outstanding performance Wednesday night at home against the Lightning and going into tonight’s contest in Montreal. To this point in the year he has displayed all the qualities one would attribute to a Selke candidate as witnessed against Tampa Bay where he had a goal and two assists, shut down the opponents best offensive line and was 14 out of 19 in the faceoff circle. These are the things that win games, folks, and Bergeron is doing them night in and night out.

We need to look at the larger picture, of course, to make the case that he should win it for real. The season is barely past the quarter mark but it’s enough of a sampling to make a serious argument for his legitimate contention for the award.

First off, the Bruin’s defense and penalty killing has been stellar for the past two years and Bergeron has been a key element. Each night he matches up against the opponent’s best line and it’s a rare occasion that those stars get a chance to shine, especially the center lined up across from him. It’s a difficult assignment but Patrice does it well and the fact that the B’s goaltending tandem of Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez won the Jennings Trophy last season and Thomas also took home the Vezina is directly attributable to some stellar defense in front of them. Granted, Zdeno Chara is a huge factor in that but so is the B’s team defense, of which Bergeron is a gigantic part.

He’s a leader on the team’s penalty kill, as well, where the Bruins have now worked themselves into second place in the league at 85.4 %. In that respect, he is a leader on the ice with exactly the sort of hockey smarts, positioning and hard work that make for effective penalty killing. If the B’s are killing a 5 on 3, guess who’s out there on the ice?

He also takes every important defensive zone face-off for the team. His total wins in that area and his percentage have been phenomenal where he has ranked amongst the top forwards in the league all season. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t continue.

And, guess what, he leads the team in scoring with 8-13-21 totals through the first 27 games of the season. Solid totals that probably won’t measure up to the gaudy numbers put up by last year’s winner, Pavel Datsyuk, but offensive numbers should never be the focus of a Selke winner. Certainly Bob Gainey never scored 100 points. Regardless, Bergeron’s numbers are respectable and that carries weight with voters as we all know. His +/- might not be that impressive but that should improve as the team’s fortunes have done of late.

Bergeron has consistently shown superior hockey intelligence and has become a forward that Claude Julien relies heavily upon in all situations but especially in the defensive zone and has risen to the challenge and them some, working himself into one of the most proficient and reliable defensive/offensive forwards in the NHL. What more do you want from a Selke candidate?

Let the Campaign begin.

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