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Zee Happy for No. 37

by Renee Anderson / Boston Bruins – Despite leaving the 2012 NHL Awards empty-handed, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had nothing but praise for his teammate and Selke award winner Patrice Bergeron.

“I couldn’t wait when they called his name,” Chara said. “I had such a happy feeling, and obviously I know how it feels and he deserves it.

“I mean he’s just a tremendous person, hockey player, works hard, so humble. You know, I’m really happy for him.”

Bergeron received the Frank J. Selke Trophy given to “the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game." In a landslide victory, he received 1,312 overall points, including 106 first place votes, more than double the second place nominee St. Louis forward David Backes.

The center takes pride in his two-way play, and was quick to thank his teammates and the entire Bruins organization for his success.

“That’s the way I learned to play hockey,” Bergeron said. “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.”

Chara and Bergeron shared the ice quite a bit this season, with each of them leading the team in minutes per game for defensemen (25:00) and forwards (18:34) respectively. Both were also core contributors on the power play and penalty kill.

“To have him on the team playing every role in every situation, crucial times of the games, you can always count on him on and off the ice,” Chara said of the alternate captain.

Despite falling short of this year’s Norris award, the 6-foot-9 defenseman is no stranger to accolades. At last year’s NHL Awards, Chara was nominated for his fourth James Norris Trophy and took home the Mark Messier Leadership Award, which is given to a player who leads by positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to community activities and charitable causes. 

Chara’s offensive abilities were also on display at the 2012 NHL All-Star Skills Competition, where the five-time NHL All-Star registered an NHL record 108.8 mph slap shot during the Hardest Shot contest for his fifth straight victory in the competition. 

Overall, the Slovakian native was glad to be a part of the festivities in Las Vegas, and said it was a nice change of pace from the competitive nature of the season.

“We have a chance to talk to the other guys and see what’s they’re up to, and we’re just enjoying the whole thing,” Chara said from the red carpet. “It’s a great atmosphere, it’s a great place to have the awards

“So we’re just enjoying it.”

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