Boston, MA –
Just like the rest of the B’s roster, Patrice Bergeron
is ready for the 2009-10 season and with two injury-shortened seasons behind him, the B’s center knows he can bring more to the ice for Boston.
“I’m feeling well,” said the assistant captain, succinctly, to the assembled press in the Bruins locker room at Ristuccia Memorial Arena.
“Obviously, last year it was hard for me to know what was going to happen because I didn’t play all year the year before," he said. “So now I know that I’m back to full form and I’m feeling good.”
General Manager Peter Chiarelli agreed with his center's self assessment.
“From an offensive perspective, and from what I have seen before – prior to the injury and the recovery – he certainly has produced better numbers, so I would expect him to get back to that level,” said Chiarelli during his season-opening media scrum. “He did get injured and he did recover last year, but he was never at full strength.
“This year he is back to his [playing] weight...so I am confident that Patrice will get back to where he was.”Where he was
happened during the 2006-07 campaign, Patrice’s fourth season as a professional hockey player. Bergeron had a career highs in assists with 48 and scored more than 20 goals for the second straight season. In contrast, last year the Quebec native recorded eight goals and 31 assists, so this summer the now veteran forward worked continuously on building up his strength to its previous level.
“It was more about making sure my strength was coming back again,” he said. “Last year was [about] just getting the rhythm back.
“But I thought I was better in the playoffs and I’m just looking forward to this year.”
However, Bergeron thinks that he added to his repertoire last season, particularly on the defensive side of the puck.
“My role changed throughout the year,” said Patrice, who pointed to a lot of shifts spent attempting to stymie opponents’ best offensive units.
“It’s really a matter of taking the time and not getting too hard on myself to force things and to take the time to get back," he said. “I did that and I felt like at the end I was getting and better offensively.”
As for the defensive aspect to his game, he said he’s not done adding to that toolkit.
“I’m always proud of the way I play defensively,” he said. “But defensively I would have liked to help more.
“I guess it’s just a challenge that I have to make sure I stay confident with my offensive game, it’s going to come.”
Either way, Bergeron just wants to help out his team.
“It’s a team game and I just want to accomplish good things for the team," he said. “I think we’ve learned from last year.
"All the young guys, also myself -- it was my first time in the second round -- you learn from that.
“And I think this year we are coming with more experience and...more confidence as a team."
That experience, and that new found confidence, has Bergeron and the rest of the Bruins ready for the challenge of a new season.
“Knowing that we’re a good team and knowing that all the guys know each other from the last couple of years...the chemistry is there," he said, adding, "We just have to bring it on the ice.”