For the third time in the last four years, Patrice Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, capturing the award again Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Bergeron was the only Bruin nominated for an honor at the NHL Awards.
The third Selke for Bergeron (who also won in 2012 and 2104) tied him with Pavel Datsyuk, Guy Carbonneau, and Jere Lehtinen for second-most in league history.
Bob Gainey is the only player to have captured four trophies, winning the first four, from 1978-81.
The Bruins center received 1,083 voting points, including 75 first-place votes, winning narrowly over Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, who had 1,051 points. The margin was not quite as close as it was in 2013, when Bergeron lost the Selke to Toews by just 10 points, 1,260 to 1,250.
Anze Kopitar of the Kings came in a distant third this time with 364 points. Voting was done by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Bergeron finished at the top of the NHL with a 60.2 faceoff percentage. It's the second time in three years that he led the league in faceoff percentage. He also had the most faceoff wins this season with 1,175.
"Well, first of all, Jonathan and Anze, it's an honor to be named in the same category as you guys so congratulations on a great season," said Bergeron. "I want to thank the Boston Bruins organization, the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [GM] Don Sweeney, all the management group, coaches, trainers, thank you everyone for all your help, my agent Kent Hughes and obviously my wife. Thanks for all your support and always being there for me. I'm really happy to share this moment with my brother here tonight, it is very special to me.''
Expansion on docket
The NHL is opening a formal expansion review process to consider adding new franchises to its 30-team league, commissioner Gary Bettman announced Wednesday.
Las Vegas, Seattle, and Quebec City are the markets that have expressed serious interest.
The Board of Governors decided that the league will take formal applications for new franchises on July 6, closing the process Aug. 10.
But expansion is the most intriguing prospect for a league that has been at 30 teams since the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild began play in 2000, with those ownership groups paying $80 million apiece to buy in.
With most teams on relatively stable financial footing and numerous potential owners clamoring for a team, the league is more interested in the lucrative expansion process than relocation of the Arizona Coyotes or any other struggling franchise. Bettman affirmed the NHL's commitment to keeping the Coyotes in the Phoenix area.
Las Vegas appears to be the front-runner in this race. Prospective owner Bill Foley has secured more than 13,200 season-ticket deposits for the multipurpose arena under construction near the Las Vegas Strip, and Bettman doesn't hide the league's intrigue about being the first major pro team in this growing desert town — while also realizing the risk of jumping into another non-traditional market and a gambling mecca.
''We're going to take a deep dive and look at what there is in terms of the interest that's being expressed,'' Bettman said. ''Obviously, Bill Foley got a great response to his season-ticket drive.''
Bettman and Daly didn't bother to hide the NHL's keen interest in prosperous Seattle, a hockey-friendly town with no NBA team. But no suitable arena is under construction in the Emerald City.
''Perhaps the process will bring some certainty to the arena situation,'' Bettman said. ''No one has their arena act together yet in Seattle.''
Quebec City is another strong candidate, with its Videotron Centre opening later this year in a relatively small market that lost the Nordiques in 1995. Sprawling suburban Toronto has seemed ripe for a second team for years, but the NHL wants to see a serious bid before exploring the thorny issues of territorial rights in the hockey-mad town.
''Sometimes we hear from people in Ontario,'' Bettman said. ''We'll wait and see how much of it is real. Participating in the expansion process isn't easy. You've got to be serious and have serious backing to be able to do it.''
Bruins opener set
The Bruins will host the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden for their home opener on Thursday, Oct. 8. The complete NHL schedules will be released at 10 a.m. Thursday . . . The Board of Governors voted to play three on three in overtime, followed by the shootout. The Board of Governors also will expand video review to include a coach's challenge for an offside play leading to a goal or goalie interference on scoring plays that are called "no goal" on the ice.
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.