|Bergeron was picked up on trade deadline day to add depth to the defensive corps.
By Matt Vevoda
In comparison to the familiar names of Brad Richards, Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa, Marc-Andre Bergeron was a side note rather than a headline at the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Brought in to provide depth to an already-paramount Ducks blue line group, Bergeron’s role down the stretch is suddenly just as essential as any of the players that swapped jerseys last month.
The fourth-year defenseman has been given the difficult task of filling in for Chris Pronger during his recent suspension, which covers eight games that could ultimately decide the Pacific Division title and seedings in the playoffs.
“It’s exactly why they brought me in,” Bergeron said. “It’s a real challenge for me to be allowed to have the chance to show what I can do and help this team. There’s a lot of quality players on this team. I’m fortunate to be part of that.”
"Berge has been around. He’s got some good offensive upside to him. I’ve played with him a couple of games and he’s an easy guy to play with. I think it’s a credit to the staff that they went out and got this guy.” - Sean O'Donnell
Bergeron has already had a brief audition in spelling Pronger this season. In his first two games following his arrival in Anaheim, Bergeron took the lineup spot of the Ducks captain, who was recovering from surgery for a small fracture in his jaw.
In games at Honda Center against Calgary and Ottawa, Bergeron was able to work on his chemistry with Sean O’Donnell, which was opportune as the players teamed together once again beginning in Saturday’s 5-2 win over St. Louis.
“Things like this are going to happen, whether it’s in the playoffs or right before the playoffs,” O’Donnell said. “Guys are going to go down for whatever reason. You need to be able to run deep and have guys step in. Berge has been around. He’s got some good offensive upside to him. I’ve played with him a couple of games and he’s an easy guy to play with. I think it’s a credit to the staff that they went out and got this guy.”
Serving as a vast test for both Bergeron and the Ducks will be their upcoming three-game road trip that takes them to Dallas, San Jose and Phoenix. While the Ducks have been tops in the league at home with a 25-8-4 record, the kinks on the road that have led to a 16-17-4 mark must be worked out.
| “It’s exactly why they brought me in,” Bergeron said. “It’s a real challenge for me to be allowed to have the chance to show what I can do and help this team. There’s a lot of quality players on this team. I’m fortunate to be part of that.” |
“If we have any hope of trying to win this division, we need to play well in those three games,” O’Donnell said. “It’s our last real road trip of the year (with only a short trip to Los Angeles on April 6 remaining). We want to try and turn things around on the road and come back to finish up strong.”
Accustomed to these tight-knit battles over the years, the Ducks know there is a fine line between grasping the magnitude of the games and pressing too much. Their ability to stay poised even amid lineup changes could decide their playoff fate.
“We accept the responsibility of having to play in these high-level games,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We’ve done it before. You can’t define the results before they happen. You have to work through the process.”
Said O’Donnell: “The thing that you do, it sounds so easy, you just control what you can control. If you think about that finish line, there are too many intangibles to worry about. You just get yourself prepared and do the best you can. If you do that and your teammate does that, all of the sudden you have a solid 60 minutes as a team.”