WILMINGTON, Mass. – Patrice Bergeron has been the picture of consistency with the Bruins in his 12 years in Boston.
The two-time Selke Trophy winner gives maximum effort at both ends of the ice, plays a smart, detail-oriented game and always makes those around him better each time he hops onto the ice. It’s not often that the advanced stats crew and old-time hockey people can come in complete agreement on a hockey player, but No. 37 is one of those rare guys that everybody gives high marks to all around.
So it’s no surprise Bergeron is looking for more consistency out of the Bruins after last year’s erratic group missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years. He banged that drum at the bitter end of last season, and he did it again on Wednesday afternoon after leading a group of 11 players at Bruins captain’s practice at Ristuccia Arena.
“It’s something that we lacked last year,” said Bergeron of the “C” word. “If you looked at the end of the year, we had let too many points slip by us by being inconsistent. It wasn’t just stretches during the year, but it was also within games. Sometimes, we were lacking in consistency, and it cost us huge points that could have been the difference in getting into the playoffs.”
So where did the inconsistency stem from that allowed them to accumulate 96 points, but still saw them on the outside of the playoffs?
“I think too many times we were getting comfortable with having a one goal lead, and stuff like that,” said Bergeron, who finished with 23 goals, 55 points and a plus-2 rating in 81 games for the B’s after a slower-than-usual start for his standards. “I think focus might have been part of it, but it’s hard to pinpoint one thing that caused the inconsistency. But it’s something that we definitely have to fix. Going out in games and wanting to be the difference in the whole game is something we have to accomplish, and we have to resolve it early if we want to be a better team.”
It sounds like the rest of the Bruins have their marching orders from Bergeron, and now it’s a matter of going out and showing it on the ice amid an Eastern Conference that’s got some vastly improved teams headed into this season.