( Photo Credit: Zuma Press )

By: Cody Stelluto | Follow me on Twitter @TownieTalkCody

The Boston Bruins only have three players remaining from the 2011 Stanley Cup Roster. All of whom should be some of the most respected Boston sports figures the City has seen. Those three players are Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci, who, in total, have combined for over 3,000 combined NHL games played in the black and gold jerseys.

It’s been twelve long years since that Stanley Cup Championship, and although they’ve stayed at the top of the NHL standings in recent years, this core group has been through the highs and the low’s together. It would simply be a significant moment in Bruin’s history for this core to get one more Stanley Cup Championship, and it would cement their legacies as some of the greatest Bruins of all time. Regardless of this season’s outcome, looking at their accomplishments and what they’ve done for the organization, you may realize these guys deserve all the respect and some. Let’s talk about how they might not have received the proper recognition, at least city-wide; they should have throughout their long Bruins Careers.

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Patrice Bergeron

The 2003-04 season saw Bergeron make his Boston Bruins debut. After being drafted 45th overall by the Bruins, he jumped straight from the juniors to the NHL. Clearly, Bergeron would be something special, as he showed all the characteristics of a true black and gold fan favorite. He is a Boston sports icon with over 1,200 total games played for the organization.

Sports fans in the City of Boston have been spoiled with guys like Tom Brady, David Ortiz, and Paul Pierce. Those are all Decade-long icons in the City. With names like that around him for most of his career, it seems that Bergeron has sometimes been overlooked, and not as respected as he should have been. The die-hard Bruins fans certainly have looked at him as an icon, but he didn’t seem to garner as much respect outside of the core fans. This season is starting to gain some traction with a heavy buzz in Boston, so if they do happen to take a Stanley Cup Championship home this year, it might boost his legacy.

Dedication and playing through significant injuries

This guy has given it all to the organization, and there are receipts to prove just how tough Bergeron is. One of the most bizarre stories you’ll hear from an athlete is that Bergeron played in game six of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals with a punctured lung, cracked ribs, and torn cartilage. When asked about the game-six and what he went through, Bergeron stated “I knew this wasn’t something I could miss. Not after three playoff series. Not when we were that close to the Cup”. Something that should be forever remembered, despite the crushing loss we suffered in that game. Even more recently, he can be seen playing through some gruesome-looking injuries, as he took a puck to the face in a game on January 18th against the islanders.

David Krejci

Krejci is a guy that even some of the biggest Bruins fans in the world may have underappreciated at times. He’s not the fastest, he’s not a bone bruiser, but man, can this guy play the game of hockey at the highest level. The first thing that comes to mind when considering Krejci’s game is his hockey IQ. He is a brilliant player and notorious for improving those around him. This year Krejci was honored during a pre-game ceremony on February 20th for reaching 1,000 games played in a Bruins jersey. Although, the date he played his 1,000th game was January 19th. Against the Philadelphia Flyers, a game they dominated 6-0 and saw Krejci get three assists. From the day he received the Seventh Player Award to becoming a legit second-line center in the NHL, he’s been a pleasure to watch.

His one-year absence

The 2021-2022 season saw Krejci return to his roots to play for the HC Olomouc of the Czech Extraliga (ELH). This was the year Bruins fans saw his role and how important he was to this team’s success. There has been speculation that Krejci didn’t get along much with former head coach Bruce Cassidy, and maybe even a frustration caused by the fact that he was never line-mates with fellow Czech teammate David Pastrnak consistently. Regardless, that 21-22′ season didn’t feel right, there was a hole in this lineup, and we didn’t fill that hole, leading to a disappointing early exit at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.

His return to Boston

David Krejci returned to Boston in the 2022-23 NHL season. Upon his first game in the building, he was greeted with an incredible ovation at the TD Garden, with the sell-out crowd showing their appreciation for his return. As you can see, the Bruins are off to an spectacular season, and Krejci has been a massive part of it, with a 12-32-44 stat line on the season. He fits in so well with this locker room and is a guy that should be respected for generations to come as a Bruins all-time great.

Brad Marchand

Stealing the Bruins fan’s hearts in the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship series, Marchand started developing as a serious talent in the league, despite his reputation as an instigator. Marchand has proven that he is an elite talent in the NHL. He had a spectacular 100-point season in 2019 before averaging nearly a point a game in the playoff run that fell one game short of a Stanley Cup at the hands of the St. Louis Blues. He continues to be one of the most confident players with the puck on his stick and is excellent at killing penalties. Marchand is almost a lock to reach 1,000 games played in a Bruins jersey as well; with over 920 games played so far, it doesn’t look like he’s ready to hang it up just yet. We will see if he can reach the 1,000-game mark, but regardless Marchand is another player that should be recognized as an all-time great.

Top talent at a bargain

When you look at the league and some of the top players in certain organizations, you might notice a slight difference between them and the Bruins veteran core regarding the all-mighty dollar. To add to their outstanding careers as Bruins, these guys deserve some respect for sticking with the team, and not chasing the dollar. They are some of the cheapest superstars in the league throughout the years. Brad Marchand signed an eight-year $49 million contract in 2016 with a cap hit of $6,125,000.

He is signed for two more years beyond the 2022-23 season. Bergeron recently signed a one-year deal for $2.5 million, but even before that, he was a bargain at eight years and $55 million. He has always signed cap-friendly deals throughout his career, maybe even causing his other star teammates a trickle-down. Krejci can also be added to the bargain list, with his recent one-year $1 million contract, with up to $2 million in incentives. His previous deal was only a $5.25 million cap hit, showing how this veteran core has almost put the team first.

Give them their flowers

When it’s all said and done, these three players, along with former teammate Zdeno Chara, who was with them for just about all the lengthy playoff runs, deserve to be seen in the same light as other Boston Sports stars. Please give them the same treatment the City gives Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and all the other champions the City will forever remember. Let’s hope before they leave us; we can see one more magical run for our beloved veteran core of the Boston Bruins.