It is that time of year yet again. The two months of hockey that takes place after the regular season-commonly referred to as the playoffs, for those of you who live a sheltered life-bring along several other aspects of the game.
While 16 teams jostle and fight for the National Hockey League’s great prize, business must progress as usual off the ice for the rest of the league.
We were recently made aware of the recipients of individual NHL awards, and one that might pique the interest of fans of the Boston Bruins is the 2014-15 Frank J. Selke Trophy.
Patrice Bergeron, along with Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks are the three finalists for the prestigious award. This honor is awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game.
All three were Selke finalists in 2013-14, when Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews finished 1-2-3, respectively, in balloting.
Are you ready for a mind-blowing statistic? According to the official website of the NHL, this marks the first time in 18 years that the same trio has swept finalist berths for a trophy in consecutive seasons: Paul Kariya, Adam Oates, and Teemu Selanne were the top three contenders for the Lady Byng Trophy in 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Here is a look at the case to be made for Bergeron:
He was the NHL’s top performer in the face-off circle in this past season, leading the league in total face-offs (1,951), wins (1,175) and winning percentage (60.2%). He also ranked among the league’s top five forwards in a host of statistics that measure team puck possession while on the ice at five-on-five. Bergeron is a Selke Trophy finalist for the fourth consecutive season; he captured the award in 2012 and 2014 and finished runner-up to Toews in 2013. He was only a plus-two on the season, which ranked 271st in the entire NHL. As head-scratching as that is, it still is not worse than Kopitar, who finished the regular season with a minus-two rating.
If a prediction had to be made at this point in time, the award should go to Toews with Bergeron finishing in second place. However, it depends on how the hockey writers, voters, and fans feel about the situation. This is sure to be a tight race.
The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24 during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Best of luck, Bergy.