LAS VEGAS — The Bruins might not have taken home the hardware they wanted this season — that shiny Stanley Cup was shown off by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday — but they did manage to snag a few individual awards.
Those included the Vezina Trophy, won by Tuukka Rask as the league’s top goaltender, along with the Selke Trophy and NHL Foundation Players Award, both won by Patrice Bergeron at the Encore Theater at the Wynn. Zdeno Chara was the sole Bruin who came away empty-handed, finishing second in the Norris Trophy voting.
“It’s rewarding for the organization when these guys get these awards. You look at how the Kings won and they’ve got a lot of the same stuff,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “They’ve got some selfless guys that want to win, and we’re the same way. We try and find those players, we try and coach those players, develop those players. Tuukka, Bergy, Zee, they’re three of the most humble guys that you’ll know.”
Rask, with 103 points, took the Vezina over Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov (90) and Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop (32). He received 16 of the first-place votes cast by the general managers.
“I’m still kind of shocked that I can’t really even answer any questions,” said Rask, who went 36-15-6 with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .930 save percentage, and a league-leading seven shutouts. He was the only goalie to rank in the top five in each of the major statistical categories: shutouts, save percentage, GAA, and wins.
“It’s a great honor,” he continued. “There’s so many good goalies in the league that 10 guys could have easily won it, and they picked me.”
Winning the Vezina has become nearly routine in Boston these days, with Rask bringing the trophy back to Boston for the third time in the last six seasons. Tim Thomas took the award following the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 seasons.
The Bruins goaltender said he was more nervous for his acceptance speech — which he hadn’t prepared — than he ever had been for a game.
“You dream about winning the Stanley Cup, you don’t really dream about winning these kind of trophies, but it’s a pretty good feeling though,” Rask said.
As Chiarelli said, “It was actually pretty comical. We’ve all seen him in nets and how kind of ice cool he is. Let him be nervous here, and then when we get on with the season he’ll get back to normal.”
He wasn’t the only Bruin who walked away from the night with additions to his trophy case.
“It’s a tremendous honor, for sure,” Bergeron said. “The Selke, it’s just an honor to be up against players like Jonathan [Toews] and Anze [Kopitar]. Hockey is such a team sport that I’ve got to give that award to all of my teammates, so honestly it’s an honor, but it really is about all teamwork.”
In addition to the Selke, which goes to the league’s top defensive forward, Bergeron won the NHL Foundation Players Award, for community service. Bergeron was also fifth in the Hart voting (Sidney Crosby won it) and was named the EA NHL 15 cover vote winner over Canadiens’ defenseman P.K. Subban.
He came to the podium for his media session with a copy of the game’s cover in hand, though there was no game inside.
“I’ve met so many amazing young kids,” Bergeron said, of the community service award. “It’s an award that’s really close to my heart, and I’m really proud of that.”
The Bruins’ center got 1,283 votes for the Selke, with LA’s Kopitar second at 840 and Chicago’s Toews third at 624. Bergeron has now won two of the last three Selke Trophies. He got 112 of the 137 first-place votes.
He led the NHL in faceoff wins with 1,015, which was the most by any player in the past seven seasons. Bergeron was also second in plus-minus at plus-38.
The three awards were yet another indication that Bergeron, once considered an underrated player, no longer has that designation.
“It feels good,” he said. “Recognized or not, I would keep playing the same way, keep playing the same game, try to get better every night and every practice. I feel like all I want to do is help the team win. I’ve learned to play the game like I’m playing right now, a two-way game. That’s all that really matters to me, to be honest with you.”
Said Chiarelli, “Bergy, he’s carved his niche as a two-way forward and sometimes they fall through the cracks when it comes to media recognition. He’s obviously coming to the forefront, so I feel good for him. He deserves it.”
It was a busy day for Bergeron, who arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday morning, after having been in Vancouver with most of his Team Canada mates, receiving his ring for the team’s Olympic gold medal performance. Chara and Rask arrived Sunday.
Chara, who was a finalist for the Norris for the sixth time, was beaten out by Chicago’s Duncan Keith. Chara came in second, with 667 points (21 first-place votes) to Keith’s 1,033. Nashville’s Shea Weber finished third with 638. In his career, Chara has one Norris win, two second-place finishes, and three thirds.
“Sometimes he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, despite all the accolades he’s received, just based on the sheer impact he has on the game,” Chiarelli said.
“It would have been nice to see the hat trick tonight, but I told Zee, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get your shot at another one.’ ”
Bruins defenseman Torey Krug finished fourth in the voting for the Calder Trophy, which went to the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon as the top rookie in the league.
MacKinnon and Krug were also named to the NHL’s all-rookie team. Bruins coach Claude Julien finished fourth in the voting for the Jack Adams Award as the top head coach.
The NHL named its 2013-2014 All-Star team, with Rask and Chara making the first team.