Former Bruins' centerman dissed by Wayne Gretzky on Monday

Former Boston center Patrice Bergeron was knocked down a few pegs when The Great One said that a certain player was better defensively than the recently retired Selke winner.
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers - Game Six
Boston Bruins v Florida Panthers - Game Six / Joel Auerbach/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

On Monday night before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Wayne Gretzky seemed to disrespect one of the Boston Bruins greatest players, when discussing defensive forwards. He seemed to disregard recently retired centerman, Patrice Bergeron, when discussing defensive players.

Gretzky was talking about the best defensive players he's seen when he mentioned that Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov is the best defensive players he has seen play since Bryan Trottier.

Why should this anger Bruins' fans?

For Gretzky to just disregard the career of Bergeron who, in case any of you forgot, won an NHL-record six Selke Awards including two times where he won it in consecutively, and put Barkov in his place after just two Selkes is just laughable.

Don't get me wrong, Barkov is an impressive player on the ice, but to disregard Bergeron, let alone players like Pavel Datsyuk, and Jere Lehtinen who both won it three times (among others who won it multiple times) is a laughable claim to say the very least.

If Barkov wins another Selke Award following the 2023-24 season, then maybe you can compare him with Bergeron seeing as he'd be on track to match, if not exceed Bergeron's total, but with only 30% of the total that Bergeron had over his 19-year career you can't quite get to the point of saying Barkov is better than him.

It's essentially giving Bergeron's career a giant "F-you" and saying that his accomplishments don't matter in the slightest.

What makes no sense about this claim as well, is that Gretzky was on the desk discussing the Stanley Cup Finals where his Edmonton Oilers are playing where he could easily be picking someone on the team that he, himself, played for, but instead he decides to defend Barkov, a player who likes to pick on Boston - whether that's through dirty play or simply being too good for them to stop.

Another reason this should really piss fans in Bruins' fans off is the person who is "second to Barkov", at least in Gretzky's mind is, while he did win more titles than Bergeron, he was never named to the Olympic team, despite his stellar play both offensively and defensively, and only represented his country three times.

Bergeron won two Gold Medals with Team Canada and represented them at the Olympics twice, twice at the World Championships (once at World Championships, once at World Junior Championships), once at the Canada Cup, and once at the Spengler Cup.

To that end, Barkov at 28, has only represented his country twice. Once at the Olympics, and once at the World Championships. Considering he is from Finland, a country ripe with hockey talent, I would expect if he's playing in the NHL he would represent them a bit more, but not yet.

Bergeron has 10 years (plus retirement) on Barkov, but that doesn't mean he should be dissed by one of the greatest to play the game.

manual