Bruins

Bergeron serves a four-goal reminder that he's still pretty great

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Bergeron serves a four-goal reminder that he's still pretty great

BOSTON – In a 14-year career where Patrice Bergeron has won and accomplished just about everything, he managed to find a way to experience something new on Saturday night. 

Bergeron scored a career-high four goals in the Bruins 7-1 trouncing of the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden, and put together a game for the ages where tied a career-high with five points, finished with a plus-4 rating and won 13-of-18 face-offs. There was a shorthanded goal and a primary assist to David Pastrnak on the power play, and there were a couple of strikes in the slot where he does a great deal of his offensive damage these days. 

MORE - Bergeron's first career four-goal game keeps B's hot streak going

Clearly it won’t even be the fourth or fifth greatest thing that Bergeron has ever accomplished in a career built on winning at the highest levels, but notching a four-goal game is something that will end up on Bergeron’s Greatest Hits reel when it’s all said and done. 

"It’s pretty impressive. Seeing him have a game like this is definitely up there...but I think the Olympics, winning the Cup and him just being Patrice Bergeron might be above that,” said Brad Marchand, who assisted on all four of Bergeron’s scored. “We were hoping to get him to six, but it didn’t work out.”

It hasn’t just been a one-game explosion for Bergeron, however, despite his line combining for five goals, 12 points and a plus-11 rating in the blowout win over the Canes. Bergeron has been red-hot during Boston’s two-month surge and has 11 goals and 13 points in his last 11 games to move into a tie with both Marchand and Pastrnak for the team lead with 16 goals scored on the season. 

Clearly it’s about Bergeron hitting one of his high notes of the season right along with the rest of the team, but it’s also about a player getting rewarded for all the work that he puts in regularly on a daily basis. 

“They were fun to watch when they got puck possession and they ended up getting it to the net with numbers in the slot. High percentage shots. It’s just amazing to watch Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] get a shot off from there,” said Bruce Cassidy. “If you are at Warrior enough, you will see him working on it every morning skate – getting that quick release. Usually Jay [Pandolfo] is out there feeding him pucks, or Joe [Sacco]. 

“He had four; he might have been able to have six, too. He had some really quality looks. Someone has to get him the puck. Good for that line; told them in the room, they probably got tired of reading about [Sean] Kuraly and [Riley] Nash supplying all of the offense, so they said to heck with that.”

Bergeron also said to heck with the Bruins record books with one highly productive game as he matched the franchise record for goals scored in a single game last achieved by Dave Andreychuk during his brief stint with the Bruins back in 1999. He matched his own career-high achieved once before with his five points, and Bergeron also passed the 700-point mark in an NHL career that’s beginning to hit some big, round numbers. 

Just don’t expect the team-oriented Bergeron to dwell on the individual achievement aside from admitting that scoring four goals “was a little fun.” Instead it was about the entire team getting another two points in the standings, the varied offensive production that’s been at the heart of Boston’s recent dominant stretch and linemate David Pastrnak busting out of his 10-game goal-scoring drought. 

“I think it was one of those nights where puck was going in, but also I was finding that slot. It seemed like it was open and Brad [Marchand] kept finding me there. He was doing a good job of making those plays. It seemed like I had a lane so I tried to take it,” said Bergeron. “The team’s doing well too, so I don’t think [a slump] is anything anyone should be worried about it’s going to happen during the year. [David Pastrnak] kept putting in the work and helping the team, I’m sure he’s happy with it and it feels good for him. That being said, everyone’s contributing, so it’s been pretty fun to be a part of.”

It certainly feels a long way removed from Bergeron missing the first handful of games to start this season with a nagging injury. The bumps and bruises from the last couple of seasons serve as a reminder that Bergeron  isn't getting any younger at this point. But he's also not quite out of his hockey prime yet either with his hockey IQ and legendary work ethic working in his favor.  

The stalwart 32-year-old center hasn’t missed even a single shift since coming back into the lineup, and he’s been at his absolute best while putting up the kind of numbers that should be good enough to get him onto the Atlantic Division squad for the NHL All-Star game festivities later on this month. 

All of that pales in comparison to the team accomplishments on Bergeron’s lengthy, considerable hockey resume, and it looks like he might just add to that coveted list this season. Let’s just set that aside this time around, however, and simply enjoy one Saturday night where No. 37’s four-goal greatness was on display for everybody to easily appreciate. 

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Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

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Haggerty: Bruins should pass on trading for Wayne Simmonds

DALLAS -- Interesting times for the Bruins as they head into NHL Draft weekend here, as a number of names have been bandied about as possibilities,. Things are fluid right now as far as targets and potential strategies go, what with the draft being held this weekend and free agency opening on July 1. 

One name that has popped up in recent days is Flyers power forward Wayne Simmonds, who is entering the final year of his contract at age 29. Simmonds was mentioned as a possible target by NBC Sports Boston way back in May, and has been kicked up in the last few days with The Athletic’s Michael Russo mentioning him as possible trade bait for the Minnesota Wild. 

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In a vacuum, Simmonds would be a terrific second-line fit for Boston. Despite battling injuries that culminated with him undergoing hip surgery, Simmonds scored 24 goals and 46 points last year. Just a couple of seasons ago he put up 32 goals and 60 points. At his best, the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder is a prototypical power forward capable of scoring goals around the net, throwing big hits and dropping the gloves with a ferocious level of intimidation when the situation calls for it. 

He’s very much in the mold of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla as the kind of power winger that’s been very good with David Krejci in the past, and would make the Bruins a little tougher and much harder to play against. 

So, clearly, as a player Simmonds would be “a great addition” for the Bruins, as Bruce Cassidy said about Ilya Kovalchuk, with all things being equal. 

Here’s the rub: The cost is going to be considerable for Simmonds. The Bruins will have to give up significant assets to get a full year of Simmonds ahead of his free-agent walk year, and then they’d need to pay up again to sign him to a big contract extension at some point next season.

Certainly the B’s would feel beholden to sign Simmonds if they gave up blue-chip prospects and draft picks to land him.

As with most trade discussions over the last year, Jake DeBrusk is a name that's been an ask from other team. Even if it's Danton Heinen or Anders Bjork involved in the discussions instead, the Bruins would need to give up a valued young winger in order to get the more established Simmonds. 

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They’d be doing all this for a big-bodied, 29-year-old player who's probably going to start slowing down, and breaking down, over the next few seasons.

A couple of years ago landing Simmonds would have been a master stroke move for the Bruins as they sought to replace Lucic’s hulking presence in the lineup. Certainly they could have used the offensive punch on their second line, where Rick Nash disappointed after arriving at the trade deadline last spring. 

But in this humble hockey writer’s opinion, the window should probably be closed at this point on acquiring Simmonds, given the cost in terms of both assets and future dollars.

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Morning Skate: One man's NHL awards ballot (sorry, Patrice)

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NBC Sports Boston illustration

Morning Skate: One man's NHL awards ballot (sorry, Patrice)

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving full credit to the NHL for an excellent awards show that adeptly highlighted very emotional hockey stories involving Las Vegas and the Humboldt Broncos. Seeing all those Humboldt kids together while the Broncos head coach’s widow made an awards speech was very moving.

-- Speaking of the awards, here’s my full PHWA ballot submitted at the end of the season. I’ll admit that I had a very different line of thinking than most with my Hart Trophy vote, as I didn’t have Taylor Hall in my top five. I wasn’t going to penalize players like Evgeni Malkin and Nikita Kucherov for having outstanding seasons on good teams, as it seemed like this season’s voting was all about players, like Hall and Nathan MacKinnon, who essentially carried middling teams to the playoffs. I’d also stick with Patrice Bergeron as the best defensive forward in the NHL even if he missed 22 percent of the season (18 games) due to injuries. I know that many voters ended up dinging Bergeron for the time missed to injuries, and that opened the door for another very viable candidate in Anze Kopitar to win the Selke for the second time.

Victor Hedman for Norris and Mathew Barzal for Calder were both no-brainers, and the Lady Byng is always a toss-up as I didn’t have winner William Karlsson on my ballot either. Anyway, here’s my ballot:

Hart Trophy

1. Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers
3. Nathan MacKinnon Colorado Avalanche
4. Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning
5. Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets

Norris Trophy

1. Victor Hedman Tampa Bay Lightning
2. PK Subban Nashville Predators
3. John Carlson Washington Capitals
4. Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings
5. Shayne Gostisbehere Philadelphia Flyers

Calder Trophy

1. Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
2. Brock Boeser Vancouver Canucks
3. Yanni Gourde Tampa Bay Lightning
4. Charlie McAvoy Boston Bruins
5. Clayton Keller Arizona Coyotes

Lady Byng Trophy

1. Ryan O'Reilly Buffalo Sabres
2. Alex DeBrincat Chicago Blackhawks
3. Ryan Spooner New York Rangers
4. Mark Stone Ottawa Senators
5. Evgenii Dadonov Florida Panthers

Selke Trophy

1. Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
2. Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
3. Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
4. Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Aleksander Barkov Florida Panthers

-- Think there might be some angry Edmonton Oilers fans who want a refund on the Hall-for-Adam Larsson trade that Peter Chiarelli engineered a couple of seasons ago? Yeah, I think there probably might be.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Darren Dreger says his gut feeling is that Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson is going to get traded.

-- Which teams might be interested in Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly? Well, there should be plenty, given what kind of player he is. This is part of the problem with the B’s trying to deal David Krejci or David Backes this offseason. There are going to be much better, younger players available out there on the trade market like O’Reilly.  

-- Now that the foundation is in place for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the job becomes taking that next step with the Leafs.

-- It sounds like it’s going to be a busy weekend for Jeff Gorton and the New York Rangers as they have a slew of first-round picks to make on Friday night.

-- It sounds like Dallas isn’t all that pumped about hosting the NHL Draft this weekend. Or maybe they just don’t know it’s going on.

-- For something completely different: Boy, Kevin McHale sure gained some attention this morning after being a very noticeable audience member during yesterday’s Trump speech in Minnesota.