BOSTON -- If earning status as a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward wasn't enough of a compliment for Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, teammate Jaromir Jagr paid Bergeron another one after practice at TD Garden on Wednesday.
Bergeron, Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks were announced Wednesday as finalists for the award.
"I think Ronnie Francis was the same way," Jagr said of Bergeron. "He wasn't very flashy. He scored a lot of goals but not the highlights goals. And he did everything perfect, especially defensively. The GMs and the coaches, they know. And it doesn't mean the media doesn't talk about him much. People who are close to hockey and understand hockey, they know how special he is. So it's all right."
So Jagr, who one day likely will be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, only has been Bergeron's teammate for a couple of months and already he's comparing him to a former teammate who already is in the Hall of Fame.
Bergeron won the Selke for the first time last season. As he prepares for the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers, which starts Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, RDS), Bergeron and the Bruins obviously have bigger goals on their minds.
That doesn't mean coach Claude Julien wasn't paying close attention to the list of finalists when it was announced.
"I can tell you right now, I would be extremely disappointed and would've been vocal about it had he not been [nominated]," Julien said. "This guy here is so good at both ends of the ice, and he keeps proving it year after year. There's not too many guys in this League that can do what Patrice does. You saw him scoring those goals the other night [Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs], but you also see him every year. We talk about Zdeno [Chara] playing against top players on other teams, so does he for the most part. At the end of every year he's always a plus player, so that tells you a lot about the utility and how valuable this guy is to our team."
Bergeron was a plus-24 this season and led the League in faceoff percentage (62.1 percent).