The National Hockey League announced on Thursday that Boston Bruins' centerman Patrice Bergeron has been named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, a coveted award that is presented to the best defensive forward in the league.
A bigger surprise would have been if his name had been left off the list.
|Bergeron garnered his third consecutive Selke nomination on Thursday|
Nominated for the third consecutive year, Bergeron won the award at the end of the 2011-2012 season, and is generally considered the top two-way player in the NHL, as his offensive game is just as impressive as his play below his own blue line....
...as evidenced by his plus-38 rating for the season - just one behind team and league leader David Krejci - Bergeron's team-leading 30 goals combined with his 32 assists and league leading 1,015 faceoff wins and being the primary pivot on the Bruis' top 10 penalty kill unit trumped only by his toughness and leadership.
Bergeron joins Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Los Angeles Kings' Anze Kopitar as deserving finalists.
Toews' nomination is his fourth consecutive honor and is the reigning trophy holder - winning the award last season - while Kopitar's nomination is somewhat of a novelty as no Kings' player has ever been nominated as a finalist.
Bergeron is only the first of many Bruins expected to be in contention for post-season awards, Goalie Tuukka Rask among the favorites for the Vezina Trophy as the top stopper in the league while veteran blue line stalwart Zdeno Chara is a perennial favorite for the Norris Trophy, presented to the top defenseman in the game.
The Vezina finalists will be named on Friday and the Norris finalists on Monday, with the winners awarded the trophies at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 24th.
The Bruins have collectively already won the President's cup, and the goaltending combination of Rask and backup Chad Johnson just missed out on the Jennings' Trophy, awarded to the tandem that yields the least number of goals on the season - and now eye both the Prince of Wales Trophy as the champions of the Eastern Conference and the Stanley Cup, the holy grail of all of hockey.
Even Bruins' management figures to get in on the act, with coach Claude Julien a candidate for the Adam's Award for the best bench boss and Peter Chiarelli should be in the discussion for best General Manager in the league.
Bergeron may also hear his name mentioned in respect to the King Clancy Award, that recognizes leadership traits both on and off the ice combined with Humanitarian efforts in the community.