LAS VEGAS - Patrice Bergeron is often soft-spoken, but he's not often speechless.
On Wednesday night at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Bergeron was finding it hard to adequately describe how special the evening had been for him.
The Bruins alternate captain had just won his fourth Frank J. Selke Trophy, tying Hall of Famer Bob Gainey for the most Selke wins in league history.
Gainey received the first-ever Selke in 1978, and won four straight from 1978-81. The former Montreal Canadiens forward was at the Awards Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena to announce the winner of the Selke.
A special moment ensued, when Gainey was the one to help hand Bergeron the honor bestowed upon the NHL's top defensive forward.
"Humbled. Obviously, it's a huge honor; also a huge honor to get it from Mr. Gainey," Bergeron said after receiving the award. "He's someone that I looked up to; a great role model for kids growing up. So, I can't thank my teammates enough and I'm kind of shocked. I'm really happy."
"It was one of the moments where you get a little emotional getting it from a legend of the game and someone I looked up to, and one of the best players of the last century, so it was special," said Bergeron.
As a Quebec Nordiques fan growing up, Bergeron watched the rival Canadiens often, and thus, watched Gainey.
"He was always one of those guys that was always, I guess, you didn't like him on the ice because he was always shutting down guys and playing at such a high level," said Bergeron. "But it was never great for the opponent and, to be honest with you, I heard of him as a person off the ice and how good of a role model he was. So, it's beyond just the hockey part that I respect."
Bergeron had not yet had time to take in the evening, and fully appreciate what had happened.
"It's one of those things where I wasn't really thinking about it before the show or this week or whatever, and now that I've talked to media, anyone kind of brings it up and it kind of hits me right now," said Bergeron, who started to find himself at a loss for words.
"It's a huge honor, and I couldn't do it without everyone back in Boston."
In fact, Bergeron quickly turned his phone off during his post-Selke media availability, because it was vibrating with all of the messages being sent to him.
"I kind of turned it off because I could feel it vibrating when I was doing media, so, I'm sure I'm going to have a few to answer," smiled Bergeron.
The centerman's teammates also took to Twitter to congratulate him on winning the award.
Being nominated for the Selke for six straight years, and now being a four-time winner, Bergeron has certainly established himself at the top of the league.
Still, he's constantly focused on improving his game at both ends of the ice.
"I think you have to try and find ways to keep up with the speed of the game," said Bergeron. "It's the biggest thing that's changed over the years, I think. It's about doing a lot of summer workouts to stay on top of that and other than that, it's a lot of videos and a lot of help from the system and a lot of talk with Brad and whoever is with us, and go from there."
"The changes are also at the faceoff dot with new rules, so you always have to try and find ways to tweak and get better and stay on top of the guys that you have to chase around," said Bergeron.
Whether he's winning faceoffs, scoring goals, or defending the league's top players, Bergeron gives his all on the ice.
Off the ice, he's also been putting his all into his family and being a dad. Bergeron and his wife Stephanie are expecting their second child this summer.
"It's been a great experience. We always love to come here to Vegas. We left the little one back home with the Grandma, so it's a little getaway for us," smiled Bergeron. "But we do miss him, so we'll be happy to get back and see everyone and get the summer going."
After some time at home in Quebec, Bergeron will ramp up his rehab for the sports hernia surgery he underwent six weeks ago in early May.
"It's only a few weeks back in Quebec and I'll head back to Boston, and keeping doing the rehab," said Bergeron.
Video: Bergeron speaks after winning fourth Selke Trophy