LAS VEGAS — As if he needed to display more humility, Patrice Bergeron provided another example of his grace.
Walking on stage to receive his record-tying fourth Selke Trophy on the T-Mobile Arena stage during Wednesday’s NHL Awards, the longest tenured Bruin was greeted by the legendary Bob Gainey. As he matched Gainey’s record and accepted the award from the legendary Canadiens forward, Bergeron’s appreciation of the historic moment further exemplified his down to earth nature that is another trait admired by his fellow peers.
Backstage, Bergeron was the first award winner to meet with the assembled press. There, he reiterated what was going through his mind as he accepted the award from Gainey, a childhood hero of his.
“Humbled, obviously,” Bergeron said about the moment. “It’s a huge honor; also a huge honor to get it from Mr. Gainey,” Bergeron said after receiving the award from Gainey. “He’s someone that I looked up to; a great role model for kids growing up. So, I can’t thank my teammates enough and I’m kind of shocked. I’m really happy.”
One day, Bergeron hopes to join his idol in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Though his career is still going strong – even after playing through the 2016-17 season with a sports hernia – Bergeron is making a case for the Selke Trophy to be renamed after him. Perhaps he may not admit it, but from Brad Marchand to Bruins fans across New England, social media was pretty much in unison of one day having the trophy given to the best two-way forward in the game (as voted by members of the PHWA) being called the Patrice Bergeron Award.
So at what point do we change it from the Selke to the Bergy? Congrats berg well deserved!
— Brad Marchand (@Bmarch63) June 22, 2017
In the historic moment, Bergeron, as his usual humble self, gave thanks to his teammates and fellow supporters in Boston.
“It’s one of those things where I wasn’t really thinking about it before the show or this week or whatever,” Bergeron added, “and now that I’ve talked to media, anyone kind of brings it up and it kind of hits me right now. It’s a huge honor, and I couldn’t do it without everyone back in Boston.”
At this rate, there are two guarantees when visiting Vegas in June. One is the dry heat in the middle of the sweltering desert. The other is Bergeron at least being nominated for the Selke Award.
The key to the frequent trips to Sin City for Bergeron? Adapting to the changes made on a yearly basis as the NHL trends more and more towards speed and skill since Bergeron’s debut in the 2003-04 season.
“I think you have to try and find ways to keep up with the speed of the game. It’s the biggest thing that’s changed over the years, I think,” Bergeron said. “It’s about doing a lot of summer workouts to stay on top of that and other than that, it’s a lot of videos and a lot of help from the system and a lot of talk with Brad and whoever is with us, and go from there.”
Though he had a 15-point drop-off from 2015-16 to 2016-17, the fact that Bergeron was still able to perform at a high level through his painful injury is a testament for the 31-year-old.
Bergeron hopes to be ready for the start of Training Camp. In a year where the Bruins overcame adversity en route to their first playoff appearance in three years, one can expect Bergeron to once again be penciled in as a Selke Trophy finalist as the alternate captain hopes to help the team take another step forward in 2017-18.