At this point, Patrice Bergeron is reaching Penn and Teller status. He’s a Las Vegas regular on par with Cirque du Soleil and Celine Dion. Every June, he knows he’ll be there playing the hits.
Bergeron, to the surprise of few, is up for another Selke Trophy at the NHL’s annual awards gala, to be held Wednesday in the land of glamour, glitz, and Golden Knights.
If the Bruins No. 1 center is again named the league’s top defensive forward, he will set a record for most Selkes. He enters as one of two four-time winners, with Montreal great Bob Gainey (1978-81). Bergeron has been a finalist for the last eight years, extending his own record.
Since his first nomination in 2010, he has not finished lower than fifth in the voting. He won in 2012, ’14, ’15, and ’17. This year, he is up against a pair of first-time finalists in St. Louis center and playoff MVP Ryan O’Reilly, and Vegas right wing Mark Stone. The latter is the first winger to be voted a Selke finalist since current Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo (2007, with New Jersey).
Bergeron, who turns 34 on July 24, remains a bedrock of the Bruins. Team president Cam Neely pointed to the defensive acumen of Bergeron and fellow veteran David Krejci as key parts of the blueprint that got Boston to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011, ’13, and this season.
“It’s very important to have your centermen be responsible for both ends of the ice, and both those guys are,’’ said Neely, who made the Hall of Fame as a scoring, physical right wing. “They’re more or less 200-foot players that can help out the D in the defensive zone.
“They know where to go. They give the defensemen some good outlets to try and create some offense from our zone.
“I think you win a lot of different ways, but you have to win playing sound defensively, and those guys do that.’’
General manager Don Sweeney, in his fourth season, is a first-time finalist for NHL GM of the year.