If there is one player that symbolizes what it takes to be a Bruin, it is Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron was drafted at age 17 by the Boston Bruins with the 45th overall selection. He was young and trying to make a name for himself in the National Hockey League. And boy, did he ever. Bergeron turned out to be one of the best two way players in the game today as well as the utmost professional. He is “Mr. Everything.”
Friday morning, the B’s made sure Bergeron will never wear another team’s sweater as they inked him to an eight-year $52 million extension. The timing of the contract came less than a month after Bergeron gutted out Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a hole in his lung, a separated shoulder, a broken rib and torn cartilage in his side.
That is the type of player Bergeron is. He will do anything for the team to help them win. That was evident in the Stanley Cup Finals. His leadership, work ethic, play on the ice and character off the ice justify this contract without a doubt.
Bergeron had a Bergeron-type year in the shortened 2013 season with 10 goals and 22 assists in 42 games. He led the team in plus/minus with an astounding plus-24. During the team’s Stanley Cup run, Bergeron was tied with the team lead with nine goals (David Krejci) while adding six assists.
All that Bergeron was thinking about during this contract process was how he could remain a Bruin for the rest of his career.
“Yeah definitely you want to stay here,” Bergeron said. “You want to keep doing it, keep reliving the moment, the way we felt in 2011 after winning the Cup. Those are the memories that you never forget. It was a huge factor staying in Boston. Everything about the Bruins made me want to stay in Boston, the city, the people and definitely my teammates.”
Bergeron described his journey as a Bruin and the belief the team had in him leading to this long-term deal.
“I think when you realize and when you see that the team wants you and they believe in you and they did that right away,” Bergeron said. “They give you that chance to actually show what you can do no matter where you got picked. I said this the last time when I signed my three-year deal. That’s why I signed it before going on the market because I wanted to stay in Boston. Now same thing here. I want to retire a Bruin.”
There is little doubt that Bergeron’s number will be hanging from the rafters one day alongside Bourque, Orr and the other Bruin greats in TD Garden, but Bergeron (as modest as he is) was not even thinking that far ahead.
“I can’t really say that right now,” Bergeron said. “It’s too early to talk about that to be honest with you. There’s so much history behind the Bruins and obviously to me, I feel very fortunate that the Bruins felt the same way that I feel about the organization and team. I’m really happy. I’m hopefully going to retire here in Boston.”
Bergeron will need no surgeries during the off-season and will be ready to go for training camp in a few months.