With the eight year extension for Patrice Bergeron, it appears the Bruins have finally put the last spoke in their ‘B’. Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli was glowing once the ink had been signed to the contract extension that will take one of the league’s best two-way forwards into the 2020-21 season. “Patrice is the kind of high character player that we feel comfortable making this kind of commitment to. Clearly there’s some level of risk in a long term deal, but Bergie is one of those players that we call a ‘pillar of the team.’ Patrice is the kind of player that we point as an example of what we’re looking for here. This is a deal that we’re very happy to announce.”
Bergeron was very happy about the contract himself.
“This truly feels like home to me now after playing here since I was 18 years old,” said Bergeron. “I love the fans, I love my teammates. So now I’m hopefully going to be able to stay here my entire career. “There’s a huge amount of pride I feel each and every time I put on that sweater. I feel very fortunate to get a chance to do it for a very long time.”
I am thrilled that the Bruins have locked up their alternate captain, future Hall of Famer, and likely candidate for sainthood. Bergeron is one of the core players for this team, and he will now be the face of the franchise for the next decade.
However, there was a tiny part of me hoping that we’d get to see Tim Thomas in a Bruins jersey just one more time. He was one of those players that overcame a lot of adversity to make his way to the top of the NHL. The 2011 Cup run showed Thomas at his very best as a HOCKEY player. Then came all the rants, the Facebook posts, and the self-shunning of the White House. Granted, Tim Thomas was a man whose politics were right of center working in a town whose politics are left of Frank Zappa. That didn’t help his case any. Then he abandoned the team to focus on ‘friends, faith, and family’.
(There was a story making the rounds around Boston that Tim was given a choice between hockey and his marriage. I do not know the exact truth of this, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)
In the end, the hockey PLAYER annoyed too many people. He was seen too erratic to ever come back to the Bruins. Thomas was shopping around for a NHL contract, but as of this date has found no takers. Any possibility that the Bruins might even consider bringing back their former Vezina and Conn Smythe winner ended when they signed free agent Chad Johnson to a one year contract. (Essentially to be Tuukka Rask‘s main back up goaltender.)
I’m thrilled I’ll get to watch Bergeron be a Bruin until I’m fifty, and a part of me will lament the loss of Thomas.