Prague, CZE --
The signing of Patrice Bergeron
to an extension came as no surprise to his teammates as "Bergy" is one of the most popular players in the B's locker room.
Far from a traditional superstar, Bergeron is, instead, looked upon as a steady lead-by-example type of player who is coming into his own as a leader both on-and-off the ice.
Many of the Bruins also call him the consummate teammate.
"In many different ways," said Bruins goalie Tim Thomas
, who has played with Bergeron the longest. "He's a good example [for us].
"He really takes care of himself, physically. The way he works out and the way he eats he's a good example to the other players.
"He's a quiet leader, but he will step up and say something if he feels the need."
And Thomas, who has faced Bergeron on the ice for years, emphasized the strength of his hockey skills.
"If he gets all alone with you, you're in some real trouble," said Tim. "You've seen what he's done here in preseason, he's just got two or three moves that really are tough for goaltenders."
Mark Stuart, Bruins defenseman, said, "He's really a true professional.
"He handles himself so well off the ice and on the ice. He takes care of his body and the stuff he can do with the puck is pretty special
"But also, I think he's really developed into a leader, as well. And I think that's something I know he's been working on and something he takes pride in."
Stuart agreed with Thomas' assessment of Bergeron's abilities on the offensive side of the puck.
|Boston Bruins' Patrice Bergeron skates with the puck during training camp in Boston, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) |
"He's really good with the puck," said Stuart. "But he's also really strong. It's tough to get him off the puck and he's pretty shifty as well.
"So, he really brings a lot to the table. So I'm glad I don't have to play against him."
When asked about Bergeron as a teammate, without sarcasm, defenseman Andrew Ference
said, "He's perfect.
"Everybody is really excited for him because he deserves everything [he gets]. He works hard. He's the clearest example of how to play.
"I don't know what word best sums him up. He's a hard worker. He's got the talent and he makes it look easy...but he works his [tail] off for it.
"And you have a real respect for guys like that."Shawn Thornton
, who, in many ways, is the ombudsman of the B's locker room, endorsed the Bruins signing of Bergeron wholeheartedly.
"Yah, Patrick Cleary (note: Patrice's full last name is Bergeron-Cleary) is my Irish brother," said Thorton. "I am very excited that he's going to be around for the next few years and I am hoping I get to be around as long as him.
"He's a great guy and a great teammate and is definitely on of our leaders and one of our best players.
Shawn thought for a moment and added.
"You can't say enough about the guy, to tell you the truth."
And that says it all.