Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron wasn’t ready to discuss his future in the moments following the Bruins’ Game 7 loss to the Hurricanes, which ended their season.
“No, it’s too early right now. Not after – it’s too fresh right now,” Bergeron said when asked if he had made up his mind whether to return next season. “It still stings from a hard-fought series and we came up short. Of course, I’ll have to think about it, but I’m not there right now.
Bergeron, who turns 37 in July, is in the final year of his contract. But rumors that he could retire floated for much of the season.
After the game ended, Bergeron hugged all of his Bruins teammates as they entered the locker room.
“A moment to share with them and thank them for fighting together every day, basically,” Bergeron said of the final moments on the ice Saturday. “It stings. It’s not the feeling you want. That being said, we did it together.
Bergeron is by far the oldest Bruin, playing for the team since they drafted him in 2003.
Brad Marchand, who has played on the same line as Bergeron for most of the past 12 seasons, was emotional when discussing his teammate’s possible retirement.
“He is the backbone of our team. Obviously, most of our team. We want him back,” Marchand said. “But no matter what, he has earned the right to make the decision he wants and take the time he needs. I guess time will tell.
“It’s a personal thing that he and his family are going to decide,” Marchand added. “I obviously pushed my case on him to come back. If he ever wanted to open up and talk about it, that’s up to him. But I wasn’t going to rush him.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy shared similar thoughts on wanting Bergeron to return to Boston next season.
“I hope not,” Cassidy said when asked if he had any idea if Saturday was Bergeron’s last game with the Bruins. “He means so much to this franchise that we all want him back. But only he can answer that. I have no idea, I haven’t discussed this with him. It’s not my place in the middle. season. He will make this decision in the future.
Bergeron always plays at a high level. He played in his third all-star game this season, scoring 25 goals and 40 assists. In the series against Carolina, Bergeron scored three goals and four assists, earning him one point per game.
When Bergeron’s team asked him to stay, he thought only of the loss against Carolina.
“It’s always hard to say that when you’re short, but we fought,” said Bergeron. “It’s something we’ve been doing all year. We started a little slow this year, this series was kind of the same, but we fought back and played the kind of hockey we needed to progress. But tonight we missed out and obviously we needed a bit more.
The Bruins trailed 3-1 for most of the final 30 minutes of the game. However, with the keeper out, David Pastrnak scored with 21 seconds left to cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 3-2.
Bergeron won the ensuing faceoff and Boston had one last run. Boston created chaos in net, with Bergeron getting a few shots in an attempt to tie the game. But Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta and the skaters ahead of him made the necessary saves to prevent the game from going into overtime.
Bergeron thought his team had a chance there in the end as he reminisced about the opportunities the Bruins had in Game 7.
“At that point, you’re one shot away,” Bergeron said of the closing seconds. “I thought we had managed to get out of it and got the momentum back. We had some good shifts, some good looks – some good looks in the first as well as those rebounds, if they go your way, it’s a different game. It’s easy to say that now. Kudos to them. They played a great series, a great game. They advance.
Now Bergeron has his future to think about. Will he play hockey again next season, and if he does, will it be with the Bruins?
The answer to these questions is still not known. What Bergeron knows, however, is that he likes young Bruins players.
“It’s something I was taught early in my career. It must be a cycle essentially. When it’s your turn, you have to give it back and do it,” Bergeron said as the leader. “We have very good young players who are open to listening, open to learning. You see the growth of these guys – [Charlie] McAvoy, [Brandon] Carl, [Pastrnak] – It’s impressive. It’s great to see.
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