BostonBruins.com --Patrice Bergeron knows exactly what the Bruins face when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center this evening, after all, in international competition, the Penguins Sidney Crosby has often been a teammate.
"It’s always tough games against them so we need to make sure we come in with our “A” game tonight," said the B's alternate captain, who earned a gold medal thanks to Crosby's heroics in the Vancouver Olympics.
But Bergeron sees parallels between the two clubs wearing gold and black.
"I guess you can say that we’re kind of shaped the same way," said the Black & Gold's Bergeron of the two teams' strength up the middle. "Obviously, we’re our own particular team and we play a different style, but I think both teams are pretty strong up front and have big bodies that have a lot of skills.
"Defensively, same thing - they have a lot of depth and in goal they’re real good like we are.
"So yeah, I think there are some similarities, but at the same time we’d like to think that [the Bruins have created] our own identity," he said.
That identity was challenged as the Stanley Cup champions started the season slowly.
"Yeah. I think we came back to playing our game - our system," said Bergeron. "What [gave] us success last year in the playoffs is going out there and not forcing plays, not being fancy, just playing our game — our type of hockey — and not worrying about what the other team is going to bring, because [if you] always bring your best effort, work hard and you should be fine.
"So I think that’s what was missing a little bit," continued Bergeron. "And obviously we looked at videos of what we were doing wrong in October.
"When you look at it, it’s easier to realize what’s missing and it’s been helping a lot. Since November I think we’ve just got back to the basics and we’ve just played hockey."
Bergeron's friend Crosby is thrilled to just to return to playing hockey and Patrice is thrilled for Sidney, too.
"We didn’t’ talk on the phone," explained Bergeron when asked if he conversed with Crosby during the Pittsburgh forward's recovery from a well-publicized concussion. "It was more just text messages - just wishing him all the best and trying to stay positive and being patient.
"I know as an athlete it’s not always easy to do that and obviously he wanted to be back out there as soon as possible, but with that type of injury — it’s also very unique for every individual — but also time is the biggest thing [along with] patience.
"So that’s the toughest thing with...that injury, but I’m really happy that he’s back and feeling good."
Bergeron agreed with a reporter who remarked that it was strange to think of the Penguins without Crosby.
"Yeah. When you’re playing Pittsburgh you think about Sid, so it was strange," said Bergeron. "But I’m very happy that he’s back. I know he makes them a better team. He’s a great guy.
"He deserves to be back and feeling good, 100%. I’m just happy for him."