It wasn’t long before the NHL awards season got its first taste of lobbying.
On Monday, Claude Julien kicked it off.
With his team prepping for a massive Game 7 against Washington, Boston’s head coach staked a claim for the Selke, saying his No. 1 center — Patrice Bergeron — should win the award given annually to the league’s best defensive forward.
“In my mind, there’s no doubt that Patrice deserves this,” Julien told CSNNE.com. “The way he’s played this year, the things he’s done to be nominated, how good he’s been defensively.
“He’s got two young players on each side of him. He’s played against top players all year long, and he’s the best plus-player, probably of that group.”
Bergeron’s made a strong case for the Selke Trophy, which he’ll compete for with fellow nominees David Backes and three-time winner Pavel Datsyuk. Bergeron finished second on the Bruins in scoring, second in the NHL in faceoff percentage (59.3 percent) and led all Boston forwards with 67 blocked shots and 55 takeaways.
He also led the league with a plus-36 rating.
“Offensively, defensively, key situations, he’s done everything to deserve that,” Julien said. “To be honest with you, I’d be very disappointed if he didn’t win that.
“That’s how I feel.”