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Bergeron says he will either retire or return to Bruins next season

Pending free agent center rules out signing elsewhere, has played entire career with Boston

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer
 11:48 AM
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BOSTON -- There are two choices for Patrice Bergeron: Re-sign with the Boston Bruins or retire. 

 

Asked on Monday if he could see himself playing elsewhere, Bergeron said, "No.

 

"I've been here for my whole career. Obviously, it's a special place for me. As I said, it's not on my mind. Right now, I just need to take time and regroup."

 

The Bruins lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, in what could be the captain's final game with the team he has played with for 18 seasons. Bergeron is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason and he has maintained all season that he would wait until the Bruins season was over to decide. 

 

That decision won't be to find another team. 

 

But as Bergeron reiterated on breakup day Monday, he has yet to make the final call and isn't sure how long it will take to make and how exactly he'll make it. 

"I don't know, to be honest with you," Bergeron said. "I think it's just more time. Right now, it's only been a couple days. All I did was really enjoy the family at home. I'm going to need some time, just to think about a lot of things and come up with the best decision for myself and my family."

 

Bergeron, who is in the final season of the eight-year, $55 million contract he signed July 12, 2013, will turn 37 on July 24. He is the oldest player on the Bruins but still scored 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 73 games.

 

He is a finalist for what could be a record-breaking fifth Frank J. Selke Trophy is given annually to the forward voted best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game and the NHL as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The winner will be announced as part of the 2022 NHL Awards during the conference finals or Stanley Cup Final.

 

"His level of play, he's still a No. 1 centerman in this league," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday. "We saw it this year. Up for the Selke. In my estimation, should win it. No disrespect to any other nominees. But I think he's had another great year. We'll see how that turns out.

 

"He's a great defensive player. Eye test or stats test, I think he passes them all. The award, a little more offense has been built in I think over time, like a lot of awards. I think he's kept pace with that as well. To me, like I said, he's still on top of all those things."

 

Bergeron said he has not been given a timeline or deadline by the Bruins to make his decision. 

 

"Obviously it's a family decision," Bergeron said. "It's a time that I need, a decision that I want to make the right one. As far as team, I've always believed in what this organization has done. 

 

"They've always made sure that they would put the best team forward and on the ice. I believe they're going to do that in the future as well. So I'm not necessarily worried about that, and I think there's some great players in this locker room, most of which are coming back. So for me it's not necessarily something I'm concerned about. It's more just taking the time to make the right decision for me and my family."

 

Bergeron stayed relatively healthy and scored a hat trick in the regular-season finale against the Buffalo Sabres on April 28, the third goal counting as the 400th of his NHL career. He has 982 points (400 goals, 582 assists) in 1,216 games.

 

He's third in Bruins history in games played, behind Ray Bourque (1,518) and Johnny Bucyk (1,436); fourth in goals (Bucyk, 545; Phil Esposito, 459; Rick Middleton, 401); fourth in assists (Bourque, 1,111; Bucyk, 794; Bobby Orr, 624); and fourth in points (Bourque, 1,506; Bucyk, 1,339; Esposito, 1,012). 

 

"Good. I feel good. Body feels good," Bergeron said. "There's a few … obviously this year I had the nose and the elbow and all that. But that's just the usual of the grind of the season. But otherwise nothing to report."

 

His teammates hoped to make the decision even easier, to get the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final, to win the Cup, to allow Bergeron to go out on top, like teammate Mark Recchi was able to do after Boston won the Cup in 2011. 

 

It wasn't meant to be. 

 

But those same teammates, especially Brad Marchand, are left hoping that they might get at least one more chance to make that so. Marchand, who has been on Bergeron's wing for more than a decade, talked about what started out as a business relationship and turned into a friendship, a relationship that likely transformed the career of the left wing. 

 

"I got to watch one of the best in our game do his thing on and off the ice and how he takes care of himself and trains and prepares. How much he cares. Then we became really good friends," Marchand said. "I owe so much of what I've been able to accomplish to him. Not just because of playing on the same line with him, but just because of how great of a leader he is, how great of a person he is. 

 

"To be able to learn day in and day out from a guy like that, I don't think I really understood how much it meant and how good it is for players to have a guy like that -- not just him and [Zdeno Chara], but a lot of guys that have come through. It can make a huge impact on your career."

 

He credited Bergeron -- and Chara, for that matter -- with the progress of players like Charlie McAvoy and David Pastrnak, knowing how much players want to live up to Bergeron and want to impress him and not let him down. 

 

"I can't thank him enough for everything he's done," Marchand said. "Incredible, incredible teammate and leader and captain and friend. He's a special person.

"Losing 'Bergy,' whenever the time does come, that's a hole we will never fill."

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Whatever PB decides to do, he definitely has earned the right to it. Obviously fiercely loyal to the organization....something not often seen in athletes in ANY major team sport.... a guy who has played a career with one team, and just doesn't want to play anywhere else, not even if someone else offers him a big check.

I never was a Bruins fan....despised them for most of my hockey fandom actually.
Probably a lot to do with the fact that Boston often beat up on my Lightning before the Bolts became what they are.... Also, a hard pill to swallow back in 2011 when Boston booted a Bolts team I thought could contend.
Or maybe it was because Boston always had the kind of tough, hard nosed, skilled players I always wished MY team had.
Whatever the reason, the Bruins are on a short list of teams I LOVE to see fall hard.

But...that doesn't mean I don't appreciate and recognize great talents, great players, and outstanding individuals....even on a team I don't care for.
Patrice Bergeron is one such player.

Underrated toughness, obviously very skilled, low maintenance attitude, exceptional playmaker, fantastic face off man, and respected as a leader by every single Bruin that has gone through that locker room since he's been there.

For years he had taken a back seat to higher profile centers in the league due to the fact the man was willing to put aside his ego and gain for personal statistics, and do whatever dirty work, defensive work, or "blue collar" work was  necessary for his team to be better than the opponent on any given night.
And lo and behold, just about any wingers he was put with saw THEIR own profiles go up.....sometimes without wide acknowledgement by others outside the organization that it was because Patrice was willing to do what needed to be done to build up those players.

The Bolts have a guy in Anthony Cirelli, who when he first arrived in TB, after seeing him play a bit with the AHL Crunch, then his auditioning tours with the big club, I said something to the effect of, "Hey, HE could be our Patrice Bergeron!"
And that, my friends is a big compliment from a rival Bolts fan to one Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron.

Now, I'm not saying Cirelli is on par with Bergeron, but he does exhibit many of PB's qualities as a player who does whatever is necessary on the ice, including taking unheralded roles and excelling at them.
If Cirelli can even be a FRACTION of what PB is, I'd call it a win.

I'd like to see Bergeron back on the ice come next season, even as 'an enemy player' because I too believe he can still play at a high level.
But if he ultimately decides to retire in lieu of going elsewhere, well, ya gotta respect that too.
Like I said, he has overwhelmingly earned the right to do whatever he wants to do and it was a pleasure watching his brand of hockey on the ice.

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2 hours ago, Rat Trick said:

The guy still has something left in the tank. He had a total of 65 points in 74 games played this season and tallied 25 goals and 45 assists. I would definitely say he has some game left.

 

 

 

I'd hope so...i really do.

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