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Selected few collect some parting gifts

Prior to last night's regular-season home finale against the Canadiens, four Bruins were recognized for their performances during the 2005-06 season.

Left wing P.J. Axelsson, who has been sidelined since March 1 with a knee injury, was voted the winner of the Eddie Shore Award, given annually since 1937 by the Gallery Gods. The award recognizes the Bruin who ''exhibits exceptional hustle and determination."

Axelsson was also the recipient of the John P. Bucyk Award, presented by the Hall of Famer to the Bruin who ''has contributed the most to charitable and community endeavors." He was selected by a panel of Bruins' alumni in conjunction with the club's community relations department.

In addition to having his name on the trophy, a $1,000 donation will be made in Axelsson's name to his charity of choice, which is the Childhood Glaucoma Foundation.

Center Patrice Bergeron earned the Elizabeth C. Dufresne Trophy, given to the best player in home games. The award is voted on by members of the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Bergeron received the first star designation for the season from WBZ Radio, the team's flagship station. Right wing Brad Boyes was second star and goalie Tim Thomas was third star.

Coming of age
Bergeron made history in Boston's 4-3 loss, becoming the youngest Bruin to reach the 30-goal mark, at 20 years 262 days.

''It's too bad we lost because the fans deserved a great show," said Bergeron, who also scored No. 31 last night. ''I think the fans deserve better than what they had this year. With all the injuries we've had, we've been struggling. The confidence wasn't always there but next year is going to be something we have to look forward to and be better. We have to thank the fans because they have been here the whole year even though we didn't have the success we were supposed to."

No deal for Collins
Steve Bartlett, who represents Chris Collins, said he spoke with interim general manager Jeff Gorton late yesterday afternoon and that Gorton advised him the Bruins ''are passing" on signing the Boston College free agent left wing.

''He said they would look at it again in July, if Chris is still around," said Bartlett, reached in his Rochester, N.Y., office. ''He said they weren't comfortable signing him right now."

College free agents, if they aren't signed by the end of the NHL's regular season Tuesday, are ineligible to sign until July 1.

Bartlett, who earlier in the week finalized pro deals for BC free agents Peter Harrold (Los Angeles Kings) and Stephen Gionta (Albany of the AHL), said a number of NHL teams remained interested in signing Collins.

''Some are talking about getting a deal done now, while others are saying they'd rather wait for July 1," said Bartlett.

Asked where Collins is these days, Bartlett added, ''Heck, he'd better be in school -- I haven't finished a deal for him yet, so he better get that degree."

Prior to the game last night, Gorton said he didn't consider the matter closed. ''It's open until he signs with someone else," said Gorton. ''We'll see where it goes."

Comfort zone
Only two days after having major surgery on his right shoulder, defenseman Nick Boynton was in attendance last night. He said it was impossible to find a comfortable position so he figured he'd rather be uncomfortable at the rink. He said he's looking at a 4- to 5-month rehabilitation because he had two tears of the labrum, the cuff of cartilage that stabilizes the shoulder joint, and damage to the rotator cuff. He said he tried not to use the painkillers doctors gave him because they were giving him nightmares, but the discomfort was so severe he had to take them. ''I'm hoping it's just for a couple more days, though," he said . . . Center Wayne Primeau, sidelined by a hip injury, will undergo arthroscopic surgery to correct the problem. It was thought he also was suffering from a hernia, but that was ruled out . . . Veteran forward Tom Fitzgerald will miss the final game of the season because of a dislocated left thumb suffered during the second period of Tuesday night's loss in Ottawa. Fitzgerald's hand is in a cast, which he said he'll wear for the next four weeks . . . The Bruins close out the 2005-06 campaign in Atlanta tomorrow with a matinee against the Thrashers.

Kevin Paul Dupont of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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