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Bergeron Fills Leadership Role

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins – Since former Bruin Mark Recchi retired last season, alternate captain Patrice Bergeron has stepped up in becoming a leader and mentor for youngsters and linemates Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand.

Bergeron, Marchand and Seguin
“Communication is key,” Bergeron said. “Those two guys are very passionate about the game – they have so much talent. It’s about having fun out there and trying to communicate as much as we can and really pass on my leadership and what I’ve learned, but they are doing a great job on their own and each and everyday it seems they are learning and they want to learn which is key.”

Bergeron started his NHL career at age 18, and now at 26, he is going into his fifth playoff run in a span of eight seasons, all with Boston.  Once the youngest B’s player to lead in scoring, Bergeron isn’t surprised that  Seguin has surpassed his record.

“Obviously, going into your first year and winning a Stanley Cup that’s experience you really can’t buy,” Bergeron said. “ I think [Seguin’s] grasped the whole experience from that last year.  I think it helped him a lot this year going into the season.  I think he gained a lot of confidence over the summer and obviously from the whole run last year and I think he keeps getting better and better – it’s pretty impressive.”

Seguin tallied 29 goals and 67 points this year at 20 years, two months and seven days.  Bergeron led the club during the 2005-06 season at 20 years, eight months and 22 days – recording 31 goals and 73 points in 81 matches.

On the other hand, Bergeron finished the regular season as the best plus-minus player in the NHL with 36, two points ahead of Seguin (34).  Then followed by Zdeno Chara (33), Chris Kelly (33), and Marchand (31) – making the top five league leaders in plus-minus rating to be massed by Bruins.

One of the most notable attributes that the forward brings to his game is his faceoff percentage. Ranked at No.2 with 59.3 percent, Bergeron is expected to face Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom – ranked at No. 45 with a 51.3 percent faceoff efficiency.  However, the Bruin realizes it’s not just about the individual, but the team effort.

“I think it’s not just about me,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s really about the five unit on the ice. Anytime guys like him [Nicklas Backstrom] or [Alexander] Ovechkin, world-class players, it’s always about the full unit. I think we all need to be aware of where they are on the ice and really look around us to look at the guy that doesn’t have the puck.”

One piece of the unit that is missing is forward Nathan Horton.  Bruins GM, Peter Chiarelli, announced that Horton is a “long shot,” for the playoff run.  However, the team needs to overcome the adversity – as they did last year when Horton went down during the playoffs.

“Obviously he’s going to be missed, he’s been missed since he’s left – he’s a big part of our team.”

“We can’t start thinking about it,” Bergeron said. “We know Horty [Nathan Horton] – he wants to be out there as much as we’d like to have him on the ice, but we can’t really think about that.”

Already a year has passed and it’s time for the Bruins to defend their title as the Stanley Cup Champions.  Bergeron and the team have already started a blank slate in mentally and physically preparing themselves for the first series against the Capitals, beginning Thursday at the Garden.

“I think it was a battle; it was a grind,” Bergeron said about last year’s quest for the Cup.

“I think we are ready to start that over again and start, like I said, at square one.  It’s all about the first game and the first series and thinking about that and nothing else.”

--- Elisabeth Flynn

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