No preseason? No problem for Patrice Bergeron
Is there anything Patrice Bergeron can’t do?
After missing most of training camp healing from back spasms caused by off-season groin surgery, Bergeron admitted that it took a while to get into a rhythm during the Bruins’ season opener in Washington D.C. The B’s, themselves, weren’t rhythmic at all against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Two games later — both wins — we’re asking ourselves if Bergeron doesn’t need to take part in any preseason activity going forward.
“Probably not after the Washington game, but after the last two, maybe,” the Bruins’ alternate captain joked following Boston’s 6-3 TD Garden opening win over the Ottawa Senators.
Well, one thing isn’t worth joking about: Bergeron’s work ethic. His drive, determination and leadership helped him en route to four Selke Trophies. Those three qualities played a big role in Bergeron’s off-season recovery and readiness to start the regular season.
“He wants to be the best player on the ice every night,” longtime linemate Brad Marchand said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be really good and he doesn’t give himself excuses. He could easily say ‘I had a tough summer and missed the preseason, and I’ll give myself 10 games to get back into it.’ But he doesn’t accept that. He wants to be the best, and that’s why he is.”
From the home opening puck drop, Bergeron was at his best on Columbus Day. Just 30 seconds in, the Bruins’ alternate captain crashed the net — along with David Pastrnak — and pounced on a loose puck in front of Sens goalie Mike Condon for his first of three tallies.
“It was really important,” Bergeron said about the quick goal, “especially if you’re always looking for a strong start. It’s not always going to be a goal, but you’re hoping for a momentum change and obviously, I thought it was a perfect start to get that goal and a great play by Pasta [Pastrnak] to go to the net.”
Bergeron secured his hat-trick with a first-period one-timer and another dirty goal in the third to give the Bruins some distance. By then, the four-time Selke Winner secured his third hat parade of the 2018 calendar year.
All it took was three games for the proud Bergeron to notch his fourth career hat trick.
“He’s a competitor and he takes a lot of pride in his game,” Marchand, who tallied three assists in the win, added about his partner in crime. “To miss the amount of time he missed this summer — and then again in the preseason — it’s incredible what he’s able to do. It’s another reason why he’s such a great leader.”
A great leader that a fellow veteran like David Backes or a dynamic player like Pastrnak, who is starting to develop into a three-zone player, can both learn from.
“You know, it’s crazy. He can take time off and always show up and be one of the best players on the ice. Even though he says he feels off, he’s always really good,” said Pastrnak, who was the recipient of Bergeron’s fine third-period saucer pass for his first of two goals. “He’s a big player for us and it was another big night for him.”
“It’s phenomenal. You say why guys are so connected with him and why he’s such a great player in this league. He’s not out there just cherry-picking and finding the easy ones. He works for every inch that he gets and he’s doing all the ugly stuff, along with scoring the goals. And you can’t be happier for a guy that is able to play a 200-foot game,” Backes said.
“He’s responsible defensively, he goes out for all the hard shifts in the D-zone, the penalty kill, and then gets his reward on the power-play. That hat-trick is great, but that backhand pass saucer, that lands on Pasta’s stick on the back door, I don’t get it. We might have to have a talk tonight and he can explain that to me. Maybe I’ll implement it next game.”
Perhaps Bergeron can teach that back door saucer pass when the Bruins are Back’es’ at practice on Wednesday.