WILMINGTON, MA - Patrice Bergeron is one of the faces of the Boston Bruins. He’s an assistant captain and coming into his ninth season - and he is the team’s longest-tenured player.
As a result, he’s the one to go to if you want to know anything about the B’s. And on Thursday, he caught up with the media for an update on a myriad of topics surrounding the team.
To start, the defending Selke Award winner had some high praise for the New York Rangers, who come to town for the season opener on Saturday Night.
“It’s a good lineup throughout,” said Bergeron. “They had a good run last year. We know that it’s a team that’s been together for a couple years, that’s been improving. It’s alway a tough battle against them and we’re expecting that Saturday, as well.”
The Bruins also play their third game of the season against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, with a Martin Luther King Day matinee versus Winnipeg back at the Garden sandwiched in between.
Bergeron isn’t expecting any of those game to be easy.
“They’re going to be some tough battles, some tough games,” he said. “We can’t forget, in between, Winnipeg is a great team also, with some young talent. So, it’s going to be a good challenge right off the bat, but we need to be ready for that.”
The newly-acquired Rick Nash will make his Rangers debut on Saturday and even though the perennial 30-goal scorer has only played nine career games against Boston, Bergeron knows he is someone that the Bruins need to keep their eye on.
“He’s got a lot of speed, he uses his body well and uses his speed as well, to go wide on defensemen,” said Bergeron. “He’s a very smart player, we need to be aware when he is on the ice. I think what we need to expect out of a guy like him is speed, but also his skills and his vision.”
When asked if the Bruins were ready, the center preached patience and acknowledged that each day allows for improvement.
“We’re feeling good. We’re taking it one day at a time,” said Bergeron, who notched 22-42–64 totals last season. “I think every day we’re improving. It’s all the same guys coming back, but still, we need to freshen up on the system and where everyone needs to be on the ice.
“The more the week goes the better we feel on the ice, so it’s a good sign.”
Bergeron is back centering Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand, the same trio that worked so well together last year. This season, high expectations have been placed on Seguin’s shoulders by fans and media, but Begeron says it’s not about one player.
“He knows what to expect, but he’s still 20, remember that,” Bergeron explained. “He’s a guy that still needs to learn and he can’t put too much pressure on himself. It’s about the whole team here and not just Seguin.”
With that said, Bergeron acknowledged that Seguin has shown marked improvement.
“He’s a great player, I think he gained a lot of confidence as the years have went on...the last couple years.
“Even in Europe, he was really playing well over there. So I think he’s coming in with a lot of confidence in himself and also in the team.”