LAS VEGAS — The 2016 NHL Awards came and went on Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Patrice Bergeron was nominated for the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the fifth straight time, given to the NHL’s top defensive forward. Instead of Bergeron earning his fourth straight trophy, LA’s Anze Kopitar took the win for his first-ever Selke.
Kopitar garnered 1,145 voting points, including 77 first-place votes, while Bergeron received 996 points with 46 first-place votes. The other finalist, Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, had 424 points and nine first-place votes.
“Obviously you’re up against amazing players and it’s just the nature of it,” said Bergeron. “It’s one of those things where I’ve always said, win or lose, I would play the same way and I still feel the same. That’s still how I feel.”
Kopitar led all NHL forwards in ice time, averaging 20:52 per game, on a Kings squad that ranked third in team defense during the 2015-16 season. He finished third in voting in 2015 and second to Bergeron in Selke voting in 2014. He became the first Kings player to ever capture the award.
“He’s an amazing player,” said Bergeron. “He’s a complete player. He plays hard every night. It’s always tough to play against him, so it’s a well-deserved honor for him.”
LA Kings’ Hall of Famer and current President Luc Robitaille accepted the award on behalf of Kopitar, who could not be at the awards show. Robitaille passed on a message from Kopitar to Bergeron about how he had dominated the Selke vote in recent years.
Bergeron had previously won the Selke in 2015, 2014 and 2012. In 2013, Chicago’s Jonathan Toews edged him for the win with a slim 10-point margin of 1,260-1,250.
“Yeah, it was pretty funny,” said Bergeron. “I think It’s been nice to get recognized, but at the same time, it’s well-deserved for Anze and also Ryan had a great year, so I was up against two great players, and it’s just the nature of competition sometimes.”
Despite the loss, Bergeron enjoyed yet another Las Vegas experience.
“It’s been great. It’s been a fun couple of days being able to spend some time together and get away a bit,” said Bergeron.
“It was a nice getaway with my wife. We have a young son and we had a few days to spend together, so that was nice and it was still fun to be here and I always enjoy the experience, so I still feel the same way about it.”
Loui Eriksson was up for the Lady Byng Trophy, given annually to the player best combining sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct with a high standard of playing ability.
Kopitar also garnered the win to earn both the Lady Byng and Selke trophies. He earned 817 voting points for the Lady Byng, including 52 first-place votes. Florida’s Aleksander Barkov had 475 points with 24 first-place votes, while Eriksson came in third in the voting with 388 points, including 10 first-place votes.
Eriksson was not able to attend the NHL Awards, as he was in Sweden with his family following the birth of his fourth child.
With the NHL Awards wrapped up, the League’s attention will shift to the NHL Draft in Buffalo.
General Manager Don Sweeney will hold his annual pre-draft media availability on Thursday, June 23 at 6:15 p.m. ET.
The first round kicks off on Friday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET (TV: NBCSN), with Rounds 2-7 beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 25 (TV: NHL Network).
Bergeron will be tuned in.
“Yeah, for sure, of course. I always try to pay a little bit of attention to it,” he said. “It’s the future of the Bruins and it means a lot to me, so I’ll be watching.”
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