(Bergeron’s girlfriend is okay looking)
NHL justice was delivered, if not delayed, last night in the land of strippers and cocaine when the nice Irish lad Patty Cleary-Bergeron took home the Frank J. Selke Trophy on his first nomination. Bergie won by a landslide, his 1312 points (124 first place votes) easily besting second place St. Louis’ David Backes 698 points (24 first place votes). So it was hardly a Lidstrom/Streep-like “reputation win”.
After not being nominated last year, the win is a great acknowledgement that the understated, incredibly classy Bruins-icon-to-be is truly among the current greats of the game (take a look at some of the past winners for Best Defensive Forward). It furthers cements his already-growing legacy of what a professional is and how to play the game the right way, every day.
Remember, it wasn’t quite five years ago when a hear-a-pin-drop Garden crowd wondered, for a brief time, if we would ever see this kid play again after a hit from the Flyers’ Randy Jones (given hindsignt & Jones’ play since, the hit was probably more reckless than malicious. But that Orange and Black does you no favors). I distinctly remember hearing one spectator whisper Travis Roy’s name. It was that bad and that scary. What I also remembered as they wheeled the unconscious player past me through the Zamboni doors was yelling “C’mon, Patty” or some such shit, expecting to spark a flurry of fans doing the same. Instead, I got absolutely zero reaction from what was a stunned & shaken crowd. The sight of a cadaverous Bergeron did what even the ’70s Canadiens couldn’t—it silenced a Garden crowd.
Fast forward a few years after a lengthy and emotionally challenging recovery and we now see what many have called the Bruins’ modern day version of Jean Ratelle blossoming into a guy whose #37 will likely some day find itself alongside Ray Bourque’s #77 in the Thomas M. Menino Shawmut Garden Cablevision of Boston Center For Speech and Sports. Ironically, after tallying 150 points in less than 160 games in his second and third seasons, Bergeron looked more like an Art Ross candidate rather than a Selke.
But after have to tailor his physical game due to concussions (his next one was courtesy of that animal Kraut Dennis Seidenberg…when Bergeron hit him) and intently adhering to the defensive philosophy of Claude Julien, Bergeron’s two-way game truly blossomed. And he was rewarded in a way he typically eschews—individually.
Boston fans have known how good he is for years. Now, thanks to his first Selke, the rest of the hockey world does.