Photo Credit: Matt Stone
By Court Lalonde Follow Me On Twitter: @courtlalonde
The Hart Memorial Trophy is awarded every year to the player judged most valuable to his team. In January the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted on the mid-season awards for the first time since 1968. At that time the top three players were Nikita Kucherov, Nathan Mackinnon, and John Tavares. All three of them are fantastic players and at the time of the voting well deserving of the votes. Patrice Bergeron was on the list but for the Selke Trophy as always and was at the top of that list for the award at the mid-point of the season. If he does win it again this year, it will be his fifth Selke Trophy and will pass Bob Gainey as the player to have won it the most.
The Selke Trophy awarded wasn’t even given out by the NHL until the 1977-78 season and to my surprise, only one player won both the Selke and the Hart in the same season. That player was Sergei Fedorov when he was playing for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1993-94 season. The reason I say it surprises me is that you always hear coaches saying how valuable a two-way game is and it’s always the number one critic a young rookie in the National Hockey League faces. Why is it then that only one player has won both awards in the same season? You would think that preventing goals and scoring goals should be measured the same. We all know this is not the case but could be this year because of the play of one of the best two-way forwards in the game and one of the tops of all time.
In his first 23 games, this season Patrice Bergeron had only five goals, and the Boston Bruins struggled coming out of the gate. Fast forward to last night at the 10: 00-minute mark of the second period and Bergeron was scoring his 24th goal of the year which happened to be a short-handed goal. Bergeron has scored 14 goals, 8 assists, for a total of 22 points in his last 16 games. One of the Bruins weakness over the past couple of years was beating the Toronto Maple Leafs. A big reason for that was the youth and speed and the play of young Auston Matthews. The last time the Leafs played the Bruins, the Bruins won, and Matthews when playing against Bergeron 5 on 5 didn’t record a single shot while Bergeron got 4 and scored a goal. It showed Matthews that he had a long way to go when it came to his two-way game, and it showed the Bruins that they could shut this kid down. Bergeron put his team on his shoulders that game and made a statement on the ice with his play.
Bergeron vs. Auston Matthews:
7:01 matched up 5v5
— Bruins Stats (@bruins_stats) February 4, 2018
Reunited and it feels so good. 💯 pic.twitter.com/q0nRom7iLo
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 8, 2018
It’s hilarious watching out of market fans and media finally start understanding how good Bergeron is. Everyone is Boston is just sitting here like “You don’t say…” https://t.co/tNdpuR9WQV
— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) February 8, 2018
The news across the league after that game was that the Bruins were a top team in the league and their current winning record was making them the talk of the NHL. I live in Toronto, and they talk hockey 24hrs a day here on the TV and the radio. The Bruins had been on a remarkable winning streak and have a goalie in Tuukka Rask that hasn’t lost in regulation in 21 games (19-0-2), yet I still didn’t hear a lot about them. Since beating the Leafs last Saturday, I can’t turn on my TV or radio and not hear them talking about the Boston Bruins. The one constant I keep hearing is the play of Patrice Bergeron and what he brings to his hockey club.
— Matt Kalman (@MattKalman) February 7, 2018
The Boston Bruins are currently one point out of first place in the NHL behind the Tampa Bay Lightning with a game in hand. Both teams are +49 goal differential, but the Bruins have only been scored on 124 times which is the lowest in the league. To say that the Bruins are winning because they’re outscoring their opponents would be incorrect. Their winning because of their two-way play as a team lead by the best two-way player in the league Patrice Bergeron.
Earlier in the year, NBC Boston Bruins beat writer Joe Haggerty suggested Bergeron’s best days might be behind him. (Bergeron hearing the footsteps of father time) The good news is this is not the case at all and currently, Bergeron has 24 goals, 22 assists, 46 points, with a plus 26 rating which doesn’t put him in the top of the league scoring like Kucherov. That’s not what the Hart Trophy is about though, they have a trophy for that already in the NHL called the Art Ross. Bergeron is tied for the most game-winning goals on his team with Jake Debrusk with four. He leads the team in goals scored with 24 and leads the team in shots with 173. He has 8 power-play goals, and as always his faceoff percentage is exceptional at 56.19%. If they had to do their mid-season vote again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergeron’s name was at the top of the list. You take Bergeron off this hockey club, and they’re not where they are in the standings, and we would be talking about another missed season for the Bruins. My hope that his play continues and I don’t see why it won’t and we will have the first Selke and Hart Trophy winner for the Boston Bruins in the same season. If he doesn’t win the fans will be ok because Bergeron has been the most valuable player to Bruins fans since he first wore the spoked B.