By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
With a lot of speculation surrounding the future of Patrice Bergeron, I thought it might be interesting to evaluate his options from his perspective and see if that gives us any clarity as to what he might do. Now, before I really dive in, I want to address the fact that I am not Patrice Bergeron, nor am I close friends with Patrice Bergeron (as much as I wish I were). As a matter of fact, I’ve never even met the man, so while I would love to know exactly what he’s thinking, this exercise is purely hypothetical.
As we found out recently, Bergeron has already eliminated one option. He will not be signing for a team that does not play their home games at 100 Legends Way, Boston, MA. That should quell some fans’ fears that we would have to deal with watching yet another beloved Bruins captain finish their career in another team’s colors. At least now we know that Bergeron will only ever play for the Bruins.
The more prudent question is whether or not Bergeron will play another season for the Bruins. He’s already racked up 1,216 games over the course of 18 seasons and would have played more had it not been for a couple of shortened seasons, one season that was canceled altogether, and a pretty nasty head injury. That scary injury happened 14 years ago, almost a blur in Bergeron’s long career at this point.
Those of us that were watching back remember how terrifying it was. I personally had never seen an injury like that before. I didn’t know if he’d ever play again. If you were born after the hit and are now a Bruins fan, I’ll include the video here if you want to check it out.
Thankfully, as I mentioned, that was just a blip in a long career now that it’s in the past. It wasn’t the last time Bergy would have concussion issues, though, as they would pop up from time to time over the course of the next 14 years. That’s point one for why I, unfortunately, could see him calling it quits here.
We’re all familiar with the horror stories around concussions. As a man with three children now and already a member of the Triple Gold Club (Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold, World Championship Gold), there isn’t much left for Bergeron to accomplish that would be worth risking future memories or experiences with his children. If this ends up being his reason to retire, I don’t think any sane Bruins fan could blame him for putting his family first.
The other reason I could see Bergy moving on from hockey is that this team isn’t close to competing for anything. The only reason guys play this game for 82 games plus playoffs every year is to compete for a championship. With the threat of a life-changing concussion, or another injury looming nearer every year that he keeps playing, I’d think that the possibility of actually winning plays a big part in his decision.
Based on what we’ve seen the last three years or so since the loss in the 2019 Cup Final, I don’t see this team being a true Cup contender next season or anytime soon, to be completely honest. If I were Bergeron, I would see that, and it might make me decide to walk away now on my own terms, which is something not many guys get to do. It is even rarer for a guy with the concussion history that Bergeron has to be able to do it.
As I mentioned from the get-go, I am not Patrice Bergeron. If I were to guess what he might do this offseason, though, I think his best bet is to take all the time he can to make this decision. At some point, he’ll likely have a conversation with Don Sweeney and Cam Neely about what their plans are for this offseason. If they can sign a solid second-line center and strengthen the squad, I think we may see Bergy give it one last shot. If they refuse to acknowledge their shortcomings from this past season, however, I personally would not blame our captain in the slightest if he hangs up his skates.
The stats for this article are from hockeyreference.com