By: Josh Houreas | Follow Me On Twitter @JHoureas
On June 21st, 2003 and with the 45th selection in the NHL entry draft, the Boston Bruins announced that the team would draft Patrice Bergeron. Having recorded 73 points (23 goals and 50 assists) in his final season with Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL, Bergeron seemed to be a top selection in the NHL entry draft, even if 44 players had been picked before him.
When you think about modern Bruins players, Patrice Bergeron is sure to pop into your head. He’s suited up for the Black and Gold for the past 16 seasons (excluding 2004-05 because of the NHL Lockout) has won four Selke Trophies (awarded to the best defensive forward in the NHL) and guided the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in nearly four decades back in 2011.
So why does Patrice Bergeron deserve the captain’s patch for the Black and Gold? The answer is simple. He is the modern-day Mr. Bruin. Just like Milt Schmidt in the 40s, Bobby Orr in the 70s, Ray Bourque in the 80s and 90s, Bergeron is a cornerstone franchise player for the club, and he’s had some memorable moments while dawning the Spoked B.
In 2009, while playing against Montreal, Patrice Bergeron recorded his first-ever fighting major, and it’s one Bruins fans won’t ever forget. Montreal defenseman Josh Gorges had gone after Bergeron just moments after catching mostly glass by the penalty boxes. After punching him in the jaw, Bergeron took exception to the move and immediately dropped the gloves.
It only took him 3 punches to send Josh Gorges flying to the ice.
Not to mention it was a Playoff game.
The Black and Gold would knock their hated rivals out of the playoffs. Bergeron and the Bruins were ready to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round but after a game 7 overtime loss, Boston still had unanswered questions going into the offseason
The next season (2009-10) would see Bergeron finish with 52 points in the regular season, and in the middle of May, see the Bruins with a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers, but in a monumental collapse, Philadelphia would sweep the next 4 games, putting an end to a promising Bruins playoff campaign.
Bergeron would be a key player the following season in 2011. Racking in 22 goals and 35 assists for a total of 57 points, he helped Boston finish first in the Northeast Division. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Bergeron would tally 6 goals (including the game-winner in the seventh and deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final) and 14 assists, as he guided Boston to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years.
During the 2013 playoffs, Boston found themselves down 4-1 in a do or die game 7 with less than eleven minutes left in regulation against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton scored to push the score to 4-3 with 1:22 left on the clock.
Enter Patrice Bergeron. As the clock wound down to the final minute, it looked like the season was going to come crashing down. Bergeron took a shot from the line, and what happens next will live in the minds of Bruins fans everywhere. The puck found a way past Toronto netminder James Reimer. Bergeron had tied game 7 with 50 seconds left!
Throughout his career, Bergeron has dealt with some massive injuries, including a career-threatening concussion in 2007 that left him sidelined for the remainder of the season.
In game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, Bergeron played with a punctured lung. The injury was confirmed two days after by former Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.
More recently, Patrice Bergeron just became the longest-tenured athlete in all of Boston Sports. While he continues to be a key leader in the Boston Bruins organization, it shouldn’t be a tough decision to award him with the captaincy of the team after Zdeno Chara hangs up the skates.