Patrice Bergeron: The First One Thousand

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Supporters of the Boston sports teams often consider themselves extremely lucky that they have been able to witness such a profound period of excellence across the spectrum of sports.  Countless championships over the course of two decades, we have witnessed some phenomenal teams.  While the teams efforts have kept us on the edge of our seats, we have also been blessed to witness some of the best athletes of their time.  Certainly, Tom Brady, David Ortiz and Paul Pierce will earn their places in their respective Halls of Fame along with a trip to the rafters.  Patrice Bergeron has earned the right to sit amongst the table of Boston sports legends.  Bruins’ fans have had the pleasure of following one of the best two way players in NHL history as Bergeron joined the team as a young man of 18 years and has now tallied his 1,000th game in the black and gold.

Photo courtesy of nesn.com
Patrice Bergeron has been a true member of the Boston Bruins organization since he broke his way into the league in the 2003 season.  No one can argue that anyone plays harder on a nightly basis than Bergeron does for Boston.  The Selke Trophy is awarded annually to the forward that plays the best defensive game in the NHL.  Bergeron is a three time winner of this award and busts his hump every shift to help aid in the last line of defense.  Rarely is Bergeron on the ice when the Bruins have a defensive lapse, and this has become a major part of his game.

Clearly one of the biggest moments of Bergeron’s career was his opportunity to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup over his head in the 2010-2011 NHL season.  Bergeron was major contributor to one of the most long and brutal playoff runs in New England sports’ history.  Although Bergeron contributed through flashy goals and assists he is also remembered in this series for igniting the team in the Stanley Cup series.  We can all surely place ourselves as we watched the Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burrows chomp down on Bergeron’s gloved finger. Fear, anger and hatred entered or minds as we watched a beloved player cheated on.  All Bruins fans knew that the Canucks must be beaten and beaten in a tough manner.  We also remember Milan Lucic shoving his hand in Burrows’ face in Game 3 taunting the man and launching the TD Garden crowd into a frenzy.  An intense passion was created in this series that helped the Bruins find their vision.  The momentum continued for the Bruins as they won the series and Bergeron won his first title as a Stanley Cup Champion.

Through no fault of Bergeron, the Bruins have not won a championship since the 2010-11 season.  The Bruins did make it to the Cup Finals a few years later and lost to the Chicago Blackhawks.  Bruins’ ownership does not go out of its way to put enough solid players around Bergeron to make a substantial push for a deep playoff run.  Although the Bruins have not hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup since 2011, fans believe every season that they have a legitimate chance.  The reason for that is due to their first line center, Patrice Bergeron.  Like Tom Brady, a player like Bergeron gives his teammates and fans a reason to hope that their team could achieve greatness.

Through his hockey career Bergeron has achieved an honor that only 28 hockey players have done throughout their time playing.  Bergeron is a member of the Triple Gold Club.  Bergeron has won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic Gold Medal and a World Championship Gold Medal.  Yet another reason why Bergeron’s career through 1,000 NHL games is so very impressive.

Bergeron is now in his 15th year as a Boston Bruin and has played in over one thousand games.  Bergeron received a video tribute this weekend from Boston sports heroes, former coaches and teammates, a fitting tribute to a true Boston icon.  Fifteen seasons is a long haul in the NHL, but the good news is that Bergeron is still only 33 years old and appears to be aging like a fine wine.  Bergeron began his second span of one thousand games with an overtime game winning goal against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.  Patrice slid through the neutral zone and picked the top corner to send the Bruins away as winners by a score of 5-4.

Patrice Bergeron will one day have his number 37 raised to the rafters; that is without question.  However, there are still many cards on the table in regards to how we will remember the career of Patrice.  As long as Bergeron is on the roster and healthy the Bruins will be in the mix of the NHL playoffs.  The Boston Bruins’ faithful would love nothing more than to see Bergeron cruising down Boylston on a duck boat lifting the Cup for all to see.

Players like Patrice Bergeron do not show up every generation.  As hockey fans we must observe and appreciate the play that we get to watch night in and night out.  Let’s hope that Bergeron continues his great career and we are celebrating another one thousand games and several more championships.


Follow Marc on Twitter @MRobes12

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Patrice Bergeron: The First One Thousand
Patrice Bergeron: The First One Thousand
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