Patrice Bergeron has never been a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL's most valuable player, but one legendary Boston Bruins figure believes it's time for the veteran center to receive his due.
Former Bruins head coach and current "Hockey Night in Canada" analyst Don Cherry recently made an MVP case for Bergeron in an interview with Tom Keegan of the Boston Herald.
"He should not only be the Selke winner, but should be the MVP," Cherry said, per Keegan. "He wins every important draw, kills penalties, takes your regular shift and plays the power play. I don't know who else can win the Selke besides him. And the way he's going, he at least has to be in the top three for MVP."
Cherry coached the Bruins for five seasons from 1974-75 through 1978-79, and he has a kept a close eye on the Original Six club ever since.
Bergeron is having one of his best seasons for Boston in 2018-19. The 33-year-old center has tallied 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 53 games, which represents the best points-per-game mark of his career. Bergeron, as Cherry noted, also excels on special teams and remains the best defensive forward in the league. Many analytics stats show Bergeron also drives puck possession during 5-on-5 play at a very high level.
Bergeron is unlikely to finish with the offensive stats that typical MVPs total at the end of the regular season, so it's hard to envision him actually being one of the three finalists. That said, there's little doubt he's the Bruins' MVP, and if scoring wasn't such a focus of Hart Trophy voting, he probably would be a finalist for that award, too.
There's no question Bergeron's peers around the league recognize his true value. Bergeron was voted the third-best all-around player in the league according to the results of a recent player poll conducted by The Athletic.
Bergeron and the Bruins will be back on the ice Tuesday night in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. It's the first game after Boston's 19-game point streak was snapped Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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