The Frank J. Selke award is given to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season.
At long last Patrice Bergeron became the 2012 recipient of the award. He became the first Boston Bruins player to win the award since 1982. Loking back at last years prognostics, once again the women of Aerys were spot on.
To quote Ms. Liz Porterfield, “Selke winners are an elite group of penalty killers, faceoff winners, goal scorers, shot blockers and all-around badasses.” Each year there are three nominations that are announced and our job is to give you the three defensive-forwards we feel are most deserving. As you can see, most of the time, we are spot on.
This years nominations:
Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins)
Patrice Bergeron, entering his ninth NHL season is and always has been one of the most consistent two-way forwards on the ice. His strength defensively is one of the key reasons they were able to qualify for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There is no question the forwards perfection in the face off circle has been one of his biggest assets to Claude Julien in his tenure, winning 66.8% of the 419 he faced this season.
On the East Coast you don’t hear much about this guy, especially in the shortened season and you certainly don’t hear his name as often as Ovechkin, Crosby or Malkin. However, Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most gifted and talented forwards in the league. He is best known for his ‘filthy’ stick moves and puck control that can make his opponent look silly. He may not be a large, heavy-hitter on the defensive end, but his ability to swoop in and break up the opponent’s offensive play and transition into a play for his own is what has him earning another nomination.
David Backes (St. Louis Blues)
David Backes is arguably one of the most underrated players in the entire league. However, he’s one of the most strong defensive forwards to ever enter the game. He was a finalist last season for the award and is expected to be once more this season. Unlike the other two competitors, Backes isn’t afraid to use the body. He ranks 7th overall for hits this season with 158 in 48 games, helping to be a key factor in the teams’ penalty killing unit.
Each and every one of these players deserves to be the winner of the Frank J. Selke award in their own way, and oddly enough these three players are the same top three from last season. It goes without saying that they are the best of the best at what they do every night, but the most deserving once again is Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron once again sits among the league’s top faceoff winners and contributes 115% in every game he suits up for. He missed a few games this season due to a mild concussion, but hasn’t let that get in the way of his game.