COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Patrice Bergeron
COUNTDOWN TO CAMP: Patrice Bergeron
From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2017-18 Bruins. Today: Patrice Bergeron.
It says something about Bergeron, 31, that he still managed to put together a strong, Selke Trophy-winning season in a year where he played the entirety of it with a sports hernia that required offseason surgery. Bergeron still topped 20 goals and 50 points, still played every game after missing the first few with the injury and still played in all situations ably even as his first step explosion was taken from his skating game. Now fully healed and ready to go, it should be another vintage season from No. 37 before hockey middle age begins to start picking away at his franchise player status with the Black and Gold.
What Happened Last Year
Bergeron stood out in the World Cup of Hockey and seemed primed for one of his big seasons when he was hurt just prior to the start of the regular season. The ankle issues and sports hernia caused him to miss the first few games of the regular season and really put an offensive damper on the first half of his season. The Bruins front-line center came on strong after the All-Star break when some time off seemed to do him some good and finished with a flourish even though it was clear his skating game was impacted by the injury. Post-All Star break, Bergeron finished with nine goals and 28 points in 29 games, along with a plus-9 rating, and gutted his way to his NHL-record tying fourth Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. It wasn’t his best year statistically, but it was an impressive show of guts and character from a player everybody knows has both qualities in abundance.
Questions To Be Answered This Season
The only question for Bergeron is if he’ll be exactly the same No. 37 he was prior to his sports hernia surgery. Nobody doubts that he will be. At this point, Bergeron will simply have to go out each season and prove that age isn’t creeping into his game as he reaches NHL middle age and that he can still be the player who averaged close to 30 goals and 65 points the previous three seasons. There’s no reason to doubt Bergeron and it’s clear the injury really impacted his skating game. Last season was also a bit of a window in Bergeron’s future when his legs really do begin to slow down in a league that’s speeding up all the time. No matter what, Bergeron is a plus player in every situation who remains one of the best players in the world as he enters his 13th season with the Bruins.
In Their Own Words
“I’m still doing some rehab, but I’ll be ready for camp. There may be some restrictions there [in camp], but I feel good on the ice and good in the gym. Hopefully, I’m going to have a better start and just get back to playing a better game two-ways. You always want to push your limits and be better. I guess that’s always my approach.” –Bergeron, talking about readying for a full, healthy season coming off last spring’s sports hernia surgery.
Bergeron is an absolute lock for offensive production in the 30-goal-/60-point range, he’s the best defensive forward in the game, the best face-off man in the game and he plays in every situation with maximum effort. The outlook is always great for Bergeron and there should be a joy inserted back into his game now that he’s again feeling free and easy after offseason surgery. Bergeron is truly the heart and soul of the Bruins and a quiet, intense leader who sets a great example for all the young kids by showing them what being a pro is all about. It should be a very strong season for Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and could be even stronger if one of Boston’s young forward prospects steps up and stakes a claim on the right wing beside them.