June 6 — Unsung Heroes & Another Trophy on the Shelf

Yesterday’s NHL Score

Last Night’s News 📰

HONORING HILLMAN: Six-time Stanley Cup champion, and the youngest player to ever win the Cup (18 years, two months, nine days), Larry Hillman, passed away over the weekend. Hillman was champion with the Detroit Red Wings (1954-55), Toronto Maple Leafs (1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64, 1966-67), and Montreal Canadiens (1968-69), and is most famous for the “hex” he put on the Leafs after their 1967 Cup. 

ODDS AGAINST OILERS: Following a 4-2 home loss on Sunday, the Edmonton Oilers are now down three games to none to the Colorado Avalanche heading into tonight’s Game 4 in Edmonton. They will also be without leading goal-scorer Evander Kane, who was suspended for a game after a hit on Nazem Kadri Saturday that will cause Kadri to miss the remainder of the series.

KEEP CALM AND BERGERON: Patrice Bergeron has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy—again. The Boston Bruins mainstay was voted as the league’s best defensive forward for a record-breaking fifth time, beating out finalists Elias Lindholm and Aleksander Barkov. Bergeron will weigh his future during the offseason while he recovers from elbow surgery, as he is currently without a contract for next year.

NHL COMBINE RESULTS: For the first time in the past three years, the league hosted the NHL Scouting Combine at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo last week. Draft-eligible players were weighed, measured, and evaluated through various fitness tests and interviews with each NHL organization. The Hockey Writers has you covered on all the action!

MAN ADVANTAGE: A scoreless first period opened up in the second, as Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider notched power-play goals for the New York Rangers before Nikita Kucherov followed up with a tally on the man advantage for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Steven Stamkos pulled the Lightning even, scoring the night’s fourth power-play marker early in the third period. Late in the game, Ondřej Palát recorded his franchise-leading 10th career game-winning goal at even strength with 42 seconds remaining in regulation. 

Crowded Trophy Cases

The Frank J. Selke Trophy, presented annually to the forward who best excels at the defensive aspects of the game, was awarded to Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins on Sunday. It’s the fifth time Bergeron has won the Selke Trophy, which breaks an NHL record he previously shared with Bob Gainey, who won four as a member of the Montreal Canadiens from 1977 to 81.

With the 36-year-old Bergeron becoming the winningest player of the award, here is a look at the players who have won the most in a few of the other major NHL award categories.

Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP): Wayne Gretzky, 9

Wayne Gretzky in 1983 (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, the player with the most MVP awards is Wayne Gretzky. The legendary forward won the Hart Trophy in eight straight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers from 1980 to 87, then won it again as a member of the Los Angeles Kings in 1989. Next on the list are Detroit Red Wings forward Gordie Howe, who won the Hart six times in the 1950s and ’60s, and Bruins defenseman Eddie Shore, who won it four times during the 1930s.

Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender): Jacques Plante, 7

Jacques Plante in 1965 (THW Archives)

Until 1980-81, the Vezina Trophy went to the goaltender(s) who played at least 25 games for the team that gave up the fewest goals during the regular season. Plante, who minded the net for the Canadiens dynasty of the mid-1900s, was a beneficiary of that, winning the award seven times. The player who has won the Vezina the most times under the new system, which gives it to the best individual goalie, is Dominik Hašek. He won it six times with the Buffalo Sabres in 1993-94, 1994-95, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, and 2000-01.

James Norris Memorial Trophy (Best Defenseman): Bobby Orr, 8

Bobby Orr in 1975 (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Orr won the Norris Trophy in eight straight seasons with the Bruins, from 1967-68 to 1974-75, so it’s no surprise that the Bruins also hold the team record for most Norris winners with 14 (two more than Montreal). Doug Harvey won it seven times, six with the Canadiens and one with the New York Rangers, in the late ’50s and early ’60s, while Red Wings legend Nicklas Lidstrom also won it seven times in the early 2000s.

Jack Adams Award (Best Head Coach): Pat Burns, 3

Pat Burns in 2003 (THW Archives)

The Jack Adams is a newer award, first presented in 1974. Burns was named best head coach in 1988-89 with the Canadiens, 1992-93 with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and 1997-98 with the Bruins. Six coaches (Jacques Demers, Pat Quinn, Scotty Bowman, Jacques Lemaire, John Tortorella, and Barry Trotz) have won the award twice.

Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP): Patrick Roy, 3

Patrick Roy in 1993 (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy three times with two different teams, first in 1986 and 1993 with the Canadiens, then again in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche. Five players (Orr, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent, Gretzky, Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux, and current Penguins captain Sidney Crosby) have won postseason MVP twice.

Shoutout to the Unsung Heroes

As the conference finals got underway, hockey fans found themselves star-gazing. You had Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar squaring off against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl out west and a goaltending battle pitting Igor Shesterkin against Andrei Vasilevskiy in the east. Since then, other players keep reminding us that being a star isn’t everything in the NHL playoffs.

As it is with almost every postseason, some of this year’s most memorable moments unfolded thanks to hockey’s lesser lights. This past weekend alone, J.T. Compher pushed the Edmonton Oilers to the brink of elimination with the game-winner in Colorado’s Game 3 victory. On Sunday, Ondřej Palát helped the Tampa Bay Lightning avoid a three-game hole with a dramatic go-ahead goal in the final minute of regulation. Here are four unsung heroes among the final four who are having their moment:

J.T. Compher – Colorado Avalanche

J.T. Compher, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Avs’ lofty present status—up 3-0 and just one win away from the Stanley Cup Final—can be credited significantly to the contributions of relatively unknown depth forwards. Compher now has five goals over the team’s past four games, this despite averaging just 13:25 of ice time. And it’s not just Compher. Those games have also featured a series-winner by Darren Helm, a game-winner by Andrew Cogliano, and a two-goal performance by Valeri Nichushkin.

Ross Colton – Tampa Bay Lightning

Okay, so Palat has been doing this unsung thing long enough that he’s somewhat—well—sung now. Ross Colton might be getting close to that threshold too. Colton has five goals this postseason, including two winners, coming into the season with a Stanley Cup-winning goal already on his resume. Astonishingly, the 25-year-old is now up to 37 career playoff games despite playing in only 109 regular-season contests.

Frank Vatrano – New York Rangers

Frank Vatrano, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

It’s probably time to acknowledge that Chris Drury and the New York Rangers nailed the 2022 trade deadline. Andrew Copp has been phenomenal since coming over to the Big Apple from Winnipeg, but Frank Vatrano has also been a significant, albeit under the radar, addition. After tallying eight goals and 13 points down the stretch after being traded from Florida, Vatrano has four goals and 11 points in 16 postseason games.

Ryan McLeod – Edmonton Oilers

Through three games against Colorado in the Western Conference Final, two players share the Oilers’ series goal lead: Connor McDavid and Ryan McLeod. The 22-year-old came into the playoff run with just nine career goals but has scored three in 15 games and, perhaps most significantly, appears to be earning the trust of head coach Jay Woodcroft. When McLeod scored his third in Saturday’s 3-2 loss, he did so while spending more than 17 minutes on the ice.

Player Spotlight – Patrice Bergeron

For the fifth time in his career, Patrice Bergeron has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy. This past season he led the NHL in faceoff percentage, was first in faceoffs won, and had an impressive seven points in seven games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the playoffs. Fans know plenty about what he has brought to the ice, but what about his life outside of hockey? Let’s check in.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If You Could Only Eat One Thing for the Rest of Your Life It Would Be?:

French toast

Best Skill off the Ice:

Making smoothies

What Is Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor?:

Vanilla & chocolate

What Would You Be if You Were Not a Hockey Player?:


What Is on Your Bucket List?:

Travel the world

Favorite Breakfast Cereal Growing Up:

Honey Nut Cheerios

Best Christmas Gift You Ever Received:

A street hockey net & equipment

Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket

Stanley Cup Playoffs Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule