Patrice Bergeron, Adam McQuaid Up for NHL Awards

McQuaid: Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports; Bergeron: John E. Sokolowski – USA TODAY Sports

 

Tuukka Rask may have been snubbed for the Vezina Trophy, and there’s something to be said about Zdeno Chara possibly being snubbed for the Norris, but two recent crops of NHL Awards nominees have shown some respect to the Boston Bruins. Of the two nominations, one of them seems like a surer bet to possibly win it, although the other involves the Masterton Trophy and is a strong contender as well.

Let’s start with the Masterton, actually. Adam McQuaid has been named a finalist, alongside Sidney Crosby and Josh Harding. Of the three, I fully expect Harding to win–multiple sclerosis is rough and could adversely affect his quality of life in the future, let alone now–and sort of don’t understand why Crosby is there , but the reason McQuaid was nominated is really serious and really scary. In fact, “Darth Quaider” could have died.

During the lockout, McQuaid learned that he was suffering from a condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In layman’s terms, it means a lot of dangerous blood clots were forming, including one that made his right arm swell. He actually needed two surgeries to treat the condition and one involved having one of his ribs removed and some of the muscle in his neck taken out too. (Yes, Adam gave up a rib so that he could live and play. It’s nearly biblical.)

Following his procedures, he needed lots of rest. He couldn’t work out and he was on blood thinners. Not having any games to play at the time did give him more time to rest, though at first there was concern over whether or not he would play at all in this season. But he got better at a nearly miraculous rate–ready to go back on the ice in December, all the way back in the lineup for opening night, not missing a single game due to his condition.

The other recently announced crop of finalists is for none other than the Selke Trophy. Yes, for the second time in a row, Patrice Bergeron is a finalist along with Jonathan Toews and Pavel Datsyuk. He’s having a pretty good week of it so far, isn’t he? Hero of the Causeway Comeback on Monday, two-time Selke finalist on Wednesday. My colleague Krista has argued strongly in favor of Toews winning–or, actually, for an impossible yet intriguing option of Toews and Bergeron sharing. But I’m going to take the role of arguing for Bergeron doing it again.

He didn’t win the Plus-Minus Award this year, though he was sixth in the league in that metric, spent a lot of time killing penalties, nabbed a lot of takeaways and won 62 percent of his faceoffs. He’s great at moving from the defensive to the offensive zone during his shifts, plus he’s actually really useful to his goalie. When he’s on the ice, his goalies have a .949 save percentage. When he’s not, the save percentage sinks to .923, a full 26 percentage points lower. If you look carefully when the other team’s best guys are out there, so is Bergeron. Plus, he is a leader and embodies what it means to be a Bruin.

He’s got support from his teammates and coach as he hopes to win two consecutive Selkes. Claude Julien said today that he would have been extremely disappointed, and vocal about his disappointment, if the Professional Hockey Writers Association had snubbed him.

I would have been as well. In this case, though Datsyuk and Toews both put up good arguments for trophies, for me it’s Bergeron or bust. I’ve heard there might not be a proper glitz-and-glam NHL Awards ceremony this year, thanks to the lockout, but even if there isn’t a televised show, that won’t make these awards any less meaningful.

Congratulations to McQuaid and Bergeron!

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