LAS VEGAS -- In many ways, it sounded as if Patrice Bergeron simply couldn't fathom (or condone) his leaving Nevada with a trophy signifying excellence as an individual, and after his name was called for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the Bruins alternate captain immediately thanked everyone in Black & Gold.
"Hockey’s such a team sport that I have to thank all my teammates for this award right now," said Bergeron. "They’re the reason why I’m here and thanks for making my job easy.
"Also, thank you to Mr. Jeremy and Charlie Jacobs, Peter Chiarelli, Cam Neely, all the coaches, the trainers, everyone in Boston, thank you."
Even in the media scrums that ensued after he accepted his award, Bergeron only begrudgingly accepted praise aimed at his own play at both ends of the ice.
"It does feel special," said Bergeron. "Playing both sides of the rink is something that I take a lot of pride in.
"That’s the way I learned to play hockey, and to actually win an award that’s given to the best defensive forward, or two-way forward, is something very special. But like I said I can’t do this without my teammates, and they’re the reason why I’m here.
"I’m really happy that my name is going this trophy."
Only then did Bergeron seem to finally take in the significance of the beautiful hardware sitting in front of him at the podium.
"Well I’m just looking right here and it’s only one side of it, and it’s [Rod] Brind’Amour, [Pavel] Datsyuk, [Jere] Lehtinen, all guys that I’ve – well Pavel’s still in the league and he’s great – but all guys that I watched on TV and [Sergei] Fedorov," said Bergeron. "You know, it’s pretty impressive and also very humbling.
"It’s an honor."
Asked how that honor felt in light of his comeback from a concussion suffered during the 2007-08 season, Bergeron agreed that sometimes it's necessary reflect on how far he's come since his injury.
"You almost have to do it and you look back at what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve done over the past year or two," said Bergeron. "I guess when you look at it, I’m pretty happy and I knew I was always confident I could come back from my injury, but last year was the ultimate.
"To win the Stanley Cup was a dream come true and now to win the Selke is something I’m very proud of.
"I guess I’ve always believed but it’s nice to get recognized and realizing that my game is back and maybe better than it was before, and I want to just keep improving," he said.
And that's why it wouldn't shock anyone if Bergeron is back in Vegas this time next year.