A large part of the Lightning’s offense this season has come from an unlikely source: its blueline. Leading the way is Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has 16 points to lead all NHL defensemen. TampaBayLightning.com recently sat down with the Bolts defenseman to learn more about what has made him so successful at both ends of the ice.
Has logging significant minutes in ice time this season contributed to your success offensively?
I think so. The more you are out there, the more opportunities you have. At the same time, one of the reasons why I'm out there a little more is because me and coach Boucher talked about being more reliable. By doing that defensively, he has more confidence in me and lets me be out there more, so it's a wheel that keeps on turning.
How does the system here in Tampa Bay differ from others in which you’ve played in Montreal and on other teams?
It's pretty specific. You’d probably have to meet with coach and reserve a few minutes of your time. It's pretty detailed to explain, but we try to put a lot of pressure on the opponent and don't want to give them time. We try to suffocate them as soon as possible when an opportunity is there, so in a few words, it relies on pressure and on a relentless pursuit of the puck.
Has your physical training over the offseason given you a sharp mental edge over your game as well?
Yeah for me it was a big summer. I had a chance to work out and I finally didn't have any surgeries or injuries that carried over. It was actually very nice. I was fortunate. I took advantage of it and had been working hard to make sure I was feeling good before showing up to camp. I did everything I had to do to leave no doubt in my mind. When you do your homework, things go right, so that;s what I tried to do this summer.
As a defensive player, who do you think is one of the hardest forwards to contain in the league?
Nowadays, there is probably at least one per team. Every team now has that one big, strong, quick and very skilled guy. To pick one would make me feel bad just because there are so many good players out there who I respect too much. I would just say there's at least one on every team.
What advice would you give to young players who are just learning to play defense?
Just to have fun. When you're a young player, you never know what position you'll end up playing down the road, so the best thing to do is enjoy wherever you're playing. Whatever you do, you try to do it as best as you can. If you do that, you'll have success.