Patrice Bergeron Put the Boston Bruins on His Back This Season Despite Being Injured From the Very Beginning
If it wasn’t already clear, Boston Bruins’ forward Patrice Bergeron is as tough as they come. After finishing the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals with a punctured lung and broken ribs, many realized how much pain the veteran was willing to withstand to make a playoff push for his teammates. This season, however, things were different. Bergeron not only played through the postseason injured, but through the entire regular season as well. As he mentioned today, Bergeron played through the entire 2016-17 season with a sports hernia injury that may require offseason surgery to correct.
While many were curious about why Bergeron’s start to the season was uncharacteristically slow, the star center finally broke out in the second half of the season, closing the year out with 21 goals and 53 points in 79 games. For the seventh-consecutive full season, Bergeron finished with a minimum of 50 points on the year and sixth consecutive 20-goal year.
More Than Just Offense
Even more impressive was his ability to dominate while on the ice, limiting opposing lines to very few shots on net while generating offense of his own, taking 302 shots on net, good for third in the league. Bergeron led the league in Corsi this season with 61.1 percent among players who skated in at least 70 games. Additionally, he dominated at the faceoff circle once again, taking a league-leading 1,812 faceoffs and winning a league-leading 1,089 faceoffs. He finished third among forwards with a 60.1 percent win-rate. Par for the course for the veteran.
His impressive season – before the injury was known, was enough to merit him as a finalist for the Selke Trophy for the sixth-consecutive season. If Bergeron wins, he will become just the second player in history to win four with Bob Gainey currently leading the pack. Bergeron’s number speak for themselves. Even before the injury was known, it was clear that he was the favorite to win the award for the league’s best defensive forward. With this information now coming to light, it would be hard to deny him of those honors once again.
Other Bruins Injured
The Bruins went through the postseason without 75 percent of their normal top-four options on defense. Both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo missed the entirety of the postseason, and Adam McQuaid went down early in the playoffs. Krug described his ailment as a knee injury. Carlo, on the other hand, was diagnosed with a concussion. For McQuaid, the issue had to do with his neck.
The Bruins also lost David Krejci to injury when he collided knee-on-knee with Chris Wideman in the playoffs. It was an unfortunate stretch for the team after they remained relatively healthy all season. At the very least, the team showed that they could deal with adversity and come very close in a tough playoff series. Mistakes of bad penalties and discipline (and bad officiating) ultimately came back to hurt them, however. The series was lost, but experience was gained. At the end of the day, that’s all the Bruins could have asked for.
The team will have a long offseason to prepare for another playoff push next season. The hope for the team is that each player will be ready to go by the start of the season so the team can hit the ground running. It’s become very obvious that every single point in the NHL counts. If the Bruins want to make the best of their opportunities, they will need to carry their own weight and do their jobs. It’s a motto the New England Patriots have learned to live by. For those unaware, it seems to be working for them.