The nominations for the 2012 NHL Awards were announced recently and it seems as though the members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association finally got their crap together.
Since the 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, I have been saying that Patrice Bergeron is one of the most underrated players in the NHL. Finally, Bergeron is getting some recognition for his skill after being nominated for the Selke Trophy.
Yes, until the 2009-10 season he was stuck on a dismal Bruins team that looked sadder than a Canucks fan, but each year Bergeron was a constant dominant force on the team.
For those who aren’t familiar with Bergeron’s career here’s a quick rundown of the key points:
Drafted in 2003, Bergeron was picked by the bruins in the second round, 42nd overall.
In 2004, the year the lockout killed the hearts of hockey fans across the world, Bergeron, at the tender age of 18, played for team Canada in the World Hockey Championship – winning gold. He only scored once during the tournament but was quickly nicknamed “the bulldozer”, as he frequently used his size and strength to stymie opponents.
During the 2005 WJC Bergeron, the only player in history to play in the world championship before the juniors, centred the top line with Sidney Crosby and Corey Perry as his wings. This top line lead team Canada to gold and Bergeron was named MVP of the tournament with 14 points.
When the bruins traded Joe Thornton in 2005, it was Bergeron who stepped up and took on a leadership role.
He missed the majority of the 2007-08 season when he suffered a stage-three concussion after being hit from behind by then flyers player Randy Jones. The following year he suffered a second less severe concussion.
Let’s jump ahead to 2010-11 – about four years after the brilliant Peter Chiarelli took over as general manager of the team and started to rebuild it.
With the absence of injured Marc Savard, Bergeron helped steer the strong, well rounded bruins team to finish the regular season with 103 points. The bruins fought through the playoffs and beat the Canucks in game seven to win the Stanley Cup.
Bergeron is the most recent member to join the Triple Gold Club after winning an IIHF World Championship, Olympic gold medal, and the Stanley Cup.
If only this season had a happier ending. Although the team didn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs, Bergeron ended the regular season with 64 points and added two more in the post season. He finished the season first in plus-minus (+36) and posted a +18 at home, and on the road.
Bergeron covers both ends of the ice completely and has been one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL, which is why I’m surprised it has taken this long for him to get nominated for the Selke, but better late than never.
So, to everyone who always looked at me like I was crazy when I would talk about how underrated and how great of a player Bergeron really is, how do you like them apples?