The National Hockey League took over Las Vegas Tuesday evening for the 2014 NHL Awards. The league’s best get together in Las Vegas as they are recognized for being the best in numerous categories from top rookie to league’s best goalie.
The Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins were represented by Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask and captain, Zdeno Chara. Up for multiple awards between the three, plenty of hardware is coming back to Boston.
Winning for the second time in his career, Bergeron was awarded with the Selke Trophy as the forward who best excels in the defensive aspect of the game. Defensively, Bergeron was Bergeron as usual this season, finishing second in the league (behind David Krejci) in plus-minus with a plus-38. Offensively, Bergeron enjoyed his second 30-goal campaign of his career this past season.
The Selke Trophy is an individual award, but anyone who has followed Bergeron since he started his career in Boston knows Patrice loves to give credit to his teammates.
“Any individual award goes with the help of all your teammates and coaches; I have to thank them all for making me a better player,” said Bergeron.
The Selke was not the only award Bergeron won on Tuesday, Bergeron was also awarded the NHL Foundation Award, an award given to players based on their community service, something Bergeron takes huge pride in.
“The Foundation Award is well, it’s been something pretty fun to do over the past eight years and I have met some amazing young kids,” said Bergeron.
Looking to complete the hat trick of NHL Awards victories, Bergeron defeated Canadiens defenseman, P.K. Subban to land himself on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 15 video game.
“All I can say is that I played the game a lot growing up and I never imagined that one day I would be on the cover of that same game,” said the NHL 15 cover athlete. “So it is very special, so many great players have appeared on the cover in the past. So to be on that list is very humbling.”
Nominated for the Vezina Trophy for the first time in his career, Rask brings the Vezina back to Boston for the third time in six years.
“Well it’s a great honor, as everybody says. I am still kind of shocked that I can’t really answer any questions,” Rask said about winning the Vezina. “It’s a great honor as they said, there are so many good goalies in the league that 10 guys could have won it and they picked me, so it’s a great honor.”
The Vezina is one of few awards voted on by the league’s General Managers. Rask feels honored to be looked upon so highly by the league’s GM’s.
“They know the game really well, maybe in the future I have some friends there if they like me that much,” said a smiling Rask. “But you know, they know the game really well and it means a lot that the bosses vote you as the best goalie.”
Speaking of bosses, Bruins General Manger Peter Chiarelli was in town checking out the awards. With the NHL Draft this coming weekend, and free agency kicking off next week, B’s fans would think Chiarelli would be able to get some rest leading up to the summer’s busiest days, but the GM says that’s not the case.
“Nope, no, no, hitting the road tonight, back to Philly (location of draft) and meeting with our Pro and Amateur group and you know the next two, three weeks are important,” said Chiarelli.
Nominated for the sixth time in his career, Chara finished second to Duncan Keith in the voting.
Despite not winning the award Chara says as he gets older he is even more honored by the nomination than he was in his first few nominations.
“Even more, you appreciate it even more when you get older and you’ve been in the league for a while and you know, you just want to enjoy every one of them and it’s a huge honor because there are always new young defenseman coming up and they are super skilled, super good and it is becoming harder and harder to be nominated,” the 6-foot-9 defenseman stated. “I enjoy them, it’s something I really work hard for, and it’s a huge honor.”
There were also some former Bruins in Vegas on Tuesday for one reason or another. Current Oilers Captain and Bruins’ fan favorite Andrew Ference was the recipient of the King Clancy Award, an award given for leadership on and off the ice and for noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.
Ference talked about how this trip compared to some in the past. To no surprise, Ference did not disappoint.
“As a kid, for a buddies wedding I rode my motorbike down here one time and almost melted,” said a smiling Ference. “So I did a two day trip down the eastern side of Nevada. It was insane, it was great, but this is definitely the most glamorous trip to Vegas. This is quite the set-up.”
As for his award, Ference was extremely humble as always.
“Honestly, I just think it’s cool that the league has awards like that,” said the former Bruin. “You know there’s an award for leadership with Messier, there’s an award for this. I just think it’s neat to play in a league that puts that much stock into doing stuff, and I think we’ve always had a reputation for being a group of guys that takes a lot of pride in that and it’s neat. I am proud in that way I guess. Proud to obviously do things and be recognized, but to be surrounded by so many guys who do the exact same thing” added Ference.
Presenting the Master Trophy—an award he should win next season if he plays— to Dominic Moore for perseverance Rich Peverley talked about the support shown towards him from his peers after his medical scare in a game against the Blue Jackets.
“Yeah that was the tremendous part, so many people reached out, people I didn’t know and especially former teammates and coaches and general managers that meant a lot to me, shows the support and family knit that this whole league has and I am very lucky to have that,” Peverley said.
It wasn’t the hardware they wanted last September when they kicked things off, but it’s still nice to see Rask and Bergeron awarded for their work.