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