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In Boston, Bergeron selection no surprise

Wednesday, 12.30.2009 / 6:57 PM / All-Access Vancouver

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON  -- The announcement that Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron had earned a spot on the Canadian Olympic roster certainly opened some eyes throughout the hockey world Wednesday afternoon.

Still, deep in the heart of TD Garden, those Boston media members who congregated around the television within the press room weren't too surprised with the selection. The news was announced and the writers sped to their computers to file the information. There were no gasps or stunned faces -- all business.

Much the way Bergeron goes about his business. But only until the local media began telling Bergeron he would make a great fit on the Canadian roster did he actually consider it a possibility.

"You guys, the media, were talking about it. I didn't know," he said. "You never know what's going to happen. I don't think there was any point where I was kind of shooting for that goal (of making Team Canada). It was more letting things be, letting things go and it was out of my control. All I could control was my play on the ice and that's what I've been doing."

Still, Bergeron was overwhelmed after receiving that phone call from Canadian Associate Director Kevin Lowe during his team's Wednesday morning skate in preparation for the Atlanta Thrashers.

"I was on the ice when they called," Bergeron said. "Actually, Kevin Lowe called and left a message saying I was selected to be on the team and I was obviously very, very happy. I knew they were announcing the team, so when he said his name I was expecting to hear something like that, but I waited to really hear what he had to say.

"It was hard to believe. It was kind of overwhelming a bit. My family is here for the New Year so I'm happy to have them with me and very honored, very happy, and it was a great feeling."
 
Being determined and elusive are Bergeron's primary traits, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that Canadian Executive Director Steve Yzerman opted to make him part of his 23-man roster headed to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics. This, despite the fact Bergeron wasn't even selected to the 46-man Canadian orientation camp roster in Calgary last August.

"I didn't get selected for camp, but at the same time I was worrying about the Bruins and playing my game," Bergeron said. "I wanted to make sure I was giving the Bruins a chance to win because that's what it's all about for me. And after that, well, I guess they liked what they've seen. And too, after summer camp, it didn't mean if you weren't on that roster that you weren't going to get the call. So I worked hard. It wasn't only for the Olympics, but for the Bruins."

Just 24, he's now a veteran of six NHL seasons and the alternate captain of an Original Six franchise -- not too shabby.

And let's not forget, Bergeron has something special going with fellow Canadian teammate Sidney Crosby when it comes to these international events. As linemates in the 2005 World Junior Championships and '06 World Championships, Bergeron and Crosby had a special connection -- call it extrasensory.

"It was great because Sid is such a great player," Bergeron said. "It was a lot of fun and not just because I was playing with Sid, but representing the country and winning a gold medal was a true honor. Having a chance to do that again is going to be amazing. You all know Sid, he's such a good player that it was a treat to play with him."

Bergeron connected for 5 goals and 13 points in six games on the way to earning MVP honors during Canada's gold-medal winning run at the WJC in '05. He would then finish second in scoring behind Crosby after scoring 6 goals and 14 points in 9 games during his country's fourth-place showing at the '06 WC.

In 38 games with the Bruins this season, Bergeron has scored 10 goals and 29 points. The club is 13-3-3 when Bergeron notches a point and he's twice scored 20-or-more goals in a season. In 2005-06, he became the youngest Bruin in history to score for 30 goals in a season, scoring 31.

"It was hard to believe. It was kind of overwhelming a bit. My family is here for the New Year so I'm happy to have them with me and very honored, very happy, and it was a great feeling." -- Patrice Bergeron
Even though Team Canada might be heavy with centers, Bergeron said he's willing to do whatever is asked of him.

"I've done that before," Bergeron said. "I did it in the World Championships, playing left wing with Sid. Obviously, you're aware of that and willing to do whatever you can to be on that team."

He's also proven to be one tough cookie -- rebounding from a broken nose and a Grade III concussion that cut his 2007-08 season short. He would suffer another concussion in December 2008 that subsequently shortened his season to 64 games in 2008-09.

But he's returned with a vengeance this season, catching Yzerman's eye. Among players totaling 600-or-more faceoffs, Bergeron is tops in the League with a 58.6 percent efficiency. He's become one of the team's most effective penalty-killers, averaging just over two minutes on the ice with his team a man down, and leads the team with 32 takeaways.

"I never knew when someone (from Team Canada) was here watching me," Bergeron said. "Some of you guys (in the media) mentioned it but, other than that, I had no idea when they saw me or what game it was. That's why you have to try and play well every night and I was doing that for the Bruins. You have to improve every game."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com