As the Winter Olympics heat up in Vancouver, Patrice Bergeron
will join his Canadian team in their battle for the gold.
Widely assumed as the tournament’s favorite, Team Canada includes NHL leaders like Bergeron, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Marleau and Sidney Crosby. Bergeron is hesitant to put much stock into the high expectations though, saying that he and his teammates are focusing instead on their expectations of themselves.
“That pressure from all the fans and from the whole country is something that I guess is normal,” he said. “You want to win and especially at home like that.
“As a team we have the same expectations and we want to do well.”
Bergeron also pointed out that in a short tournament like the Olympics, the medals are within any team’s reach.
I think it's going to be amazing, at home, in Vancouver. We've played there against the Canucks and their crowd is so loud and the building’s loud, so it's always fun to play there. - Patrice Bergeron
“Every game’s going to matter,” he said. “If you lose, you’re going to get kicked out of the tournament, so we have to make sure we’re ready every game…you always want to win.”
The 24-year-old forward has represented Canada in two World Championships and one World Junior Championship, earning two gold medals. He’s played alongside many of his current Olympic teammates, with whom he said he’s excited to reconnect.
“I’ve played two tournaments with Sidney Crosby so obviously I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Bergeron said. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the guys; I’m looking forward to the whole experience and having a chance to meet everyone.”
The Quebec native currently leads the Boston Bruins in points, with 37 on the season, matching his sweater number.
One clear advantage the Canadians have over their opponents is home ice. Bergeron said he can’t wait to hear the cheers echo for his team in Canada Hockey Place, usual home of the Vancouver Canucks.
“I think it’s going to be amazing, at home, in Vancouver,” he said. “We’ve played there against the Canucks and their crowd is so loud and the building’s loud, so it’s always fun to play there.
“Having a chance to have the crowd cheer for us is going to be amazing.”
As the first round of men’s ice hockey begins on Tuesday, Bergeron and his Canadian squad are scheduled to face Norway, Switzerland and the United States before the preliminaries are through.
With so much pressure, Bergeron said the best he can do is to keep it simple and take in the whole experience. The rest will work itself out.
“When you step into a tournament, you want to win, so obviously we have those same expectations,” he said. “I think there are so many good teams so it’s hard to tell, but we’ll take it a game at a time.
“You have to enjoy the moment and the fans are going to be behind us and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”