The despair of defeat was noticeable on the face of Bruins’ captain Patrice Bergeron following a 4-3 extra time loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup sequence on Sunday night time at TD Garden.
Bergeron had a hug and a consoling phrase for every of his teammates as they made their means off the ice. The emotion was most evident in his exchanges with David Krejci and Brad Marchand, two gamers who helped Bergeron hoist the Stanley Cup on a heat June night time in Vancouver in 2011.
Before leaving for the clubhouse, Bergeron lifted his stick in salute to the Bruins followers, with whom he had developed a particular relationship over time.
The Garden crowd was in a foul temper after Panthers’ heart Carter Verhaeghe’s game-winner at 8:35 of extra time introduced the curtain down on the Bruins’ historic season. But the followers put aside their ire to present Bergeron a correct tribute.
“It has been an incredible experience just because he awareness and his maturity and his ability to communicate and he would listen as part of that communication,” mentioned first 12 months Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery. “Then there’s how nice a hockey participant he’s and I realized so much from him this 12 months.
“I hope to learn more next year.”
Montgomery’s remarks had been a pretext to an overriding query. Did Bergeron play in his ultimate sport as a member of the Boston Bruins? Bergeron mentioned after the sport he was coping with a herniated disc in his again all through the sequence. Bergeron was noncommittal when requested straight if this was his final sport, citing the necessity to discuss issues over with household and pals.
“It was hard because you battle all year for that,” mentioned Bergeron. “I’m going to take a while to be with household however proper now it’s exhausting to course of something besides to say it’s disappointing.
“Again, it hurts right now but I am going to sit back and see. I am proud of this group and I am close with this group, this is a special group with what we had ultimately, this is not what we wanted.”
If Bergeron does resolve to name it a profession, the C he wore with class and distinction will possible reappear on Marchand’s jersey. Bergeron was a linemate, buddy and advisor to Marchand whom he mentored for a few years.
“He is special and hopefully it is not but at the end of the day he has to make his decision going forward,” mentioned Marchand. “Whatever he decides to do if he is going to play again is something.”
Marchand performs the sport of hockey to his personal distinct beat and that’s what has made him and NHL All-Star and among the best gamers within the sport. But Marchand mentioned that Bergeron has been his position mannequin within the methods he conducts his non-public life.
“He is like the perfect person on and off the ice and such and incredible leader,” mentioned Marchand. “He is a household man, a terrific father and a terrific buddy and he’s all the time eager about all people else first.
“That wore off on me fairly a bit and it actually modified the best way I approached my each day life and the best way I method the sport. I’ll by no means be capable to say sufficient nice issues about him. He allowed me to be within the place to play alongside him for a very long time.
“We have been lucky to have him as part of this group.”