Patrice Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, presented annually “to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.”
Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Toews were the other nominees. Bergeron won the trophy in 2012 and Toews won it in 2013, when Kopitar finished fourth in voting.
While there is certainly a point in referencing the Selke Trophy as one presented to east coast-based centers – since it was first presented in 1978, the only player from the Pacific or Mountain Time Zones to win the award was Ryan Kesler in 2011 – Bergeron is certainly as qualified as any to claim the trophy. He registered a league-best 61.4% Corsi-for percentage while starting only 45.7% of his shifts in the offensive zone. By comparison, Kopitar started 52.1% of his shifts in the offensive zone, while Toews started 63.6% of his shifts in the attacking end.
Bergeron logged 156:54 of total shorthanded time on ice, the most amongst Boston forwards. He also generated a plus-38 rating, which is a worthwhile metric for players who face the type of competition that Bergeron faces. While there may be an uneven field due to east coast and Midwest-based players receiving extra media exposure, there is not a strong case against Bergeron. Both Bergeron and Kopitar produced Selke-caliber seasons.
Did Kopitar, who followed up a 70-point regular season with 26 points in 26 playoff games during a postseason that garnered Conn Smythe Trophy consideration, produce his finest season as a professional?
“I don’t know,” Kopitar said. “I mean, points-wise, no, but I felt like I played some pretty good hockey, so that’s certainly encouraging going forward.”
Anze Kopitar, on the most difficult forwards to play against:
I mean, they’re both here. Patrice and Jonathan, and Joe Thornton’s got to be up there. Hossa, Zetterberg and Datsyuk, I mean, they’re always in the mix. It’s hard to play against those guys.
Jonathan Toews, on the most difficult forwards to play against:
I guess the two guys that I’m up against for the award tonight would be two very good picks for that. I guess for me, to kind of see how good those players are in every aspect of the game, I think it’s an honor to be mentioned in that category. It’s a huge honor and definitely special to get that recognition.
Toews, on what he has to be aware of when Anze Kopitar is on the ice:
I would imagine that those two other players would say the same — that you consider yourself an offensive player, but when you’re playing some big games in the playoffs, you don’t want to give up more than you contribute to your team as far as offense. If you score a few goals and you give up two or three, it doesn’t really do your team any good, so those guys are working as hard in their own end as they are in the offensive zone.
Patrice Bergeron, on the most difficult forwards to play against:
I would say the forwards that are not giving up on any pucks, that every battle they’re in there, that they want to get that puck, and they compete at both sides of the rink. It’s the ones that you get back to the bench and you’ve got to take a breather, because you’re really exhausted because you’ve really battled the whole time. Obviously playing the best in the world in Sidney is always a big challenge.
The news did not sit well with Dustin Penner.
What's KOPI Gotta do to win this thing?
— Dustin Penner (@Dustinpenner25) June 24, 2014
Of course, it’s not as if Kopitar is going home empty-handed this awards season.
Kopitar and the Cup pic.twitter.com/xssbKfoBZ1
— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) June 24, 2014