NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
On Tuesday night, Patrice Bergeron played his 1,000th game for the Boston Bruins. How did he celebrate? Well, he managed to find the back of the net twice in a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.
“Did you really expect anything else? You know like that guy, he just steps up in every situation and you know he’s going to have a big game on a milestone night like tonight,” teammate Brad Marchand said after the game. “It was great to see. He’s one of the top players in the game for a reason. He steps up in big moments and did that again tonight.”
Now in his 15th season, the 33-year-old is as good as he’s ever been. He continues to be a positive example and a leader for his teammates. Bergeron doesn’t only dominate in the offensive zone but he’s been one of the better two-way forwards in the game for a decade.
Since the 2011-12 season, Bergeron has taken home the Selke Trophy four times in seven years. Former Montreal Canadiens forward Bob Gainey is the only other player since 1977-78 to take home that award four times (he did it in four consecutive years).
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He’s managed to accumulate 780 points in his career, he helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011, when he put up 20 points in 23 postseason contests, and he’s won everything there is to win at the international scene with Team Canada (he won gold at the World Championships in 2004 and 2005, and he won Olympic Gold in 2010 and 2014).
As impressive as his career has been, it could have easily not unfolded this way. Bergeron suffered a career-threatening injury after posting back-to-back 70-point seasons (the only two of his career). In October of 2007, Flyers defenseman Randy Jones levelled Bergeron into the boards. Bergeron was knocked unconscious and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He suffered a broken nose on the play and a grade-three concussion. That could have been it. He played in just 10 games during that season. But thankfully, he managed to make a full comeback.
Since coming back from that injury, he’s found a way to one of the more consistent forwards in the game. If we put the lockout-shortened season aside, he’s picked up at least 19 goals and 52 points in every year since 2009-10. That’s remarkable. How much longer can he keep this up?
“I don’t even know myself,” the Bruins forward said when asked how long he’ll keep playing. “This is all I’ve been doing my whole life and that’s all I’ve been dreaming of, so it would be hard for me to sit here and (say how long I want to play). Right now I’m trying to enjoy the ride and see what happens. With kids and a family now it definitely puts things into perspective and you want to be with them and spend time with them, but that being said, I also love the game.”
He has three years remaining on a contract that pays him $6.875 million per season. He’ll be 36 years old when that deal expires, so there’s a chance that he could sign another contract. Even if his offensive production dries up in the next three years, his hockey IQ is high enough that he could continue playing in a depth role. But that’s still far away.
For now, Bergeron continues to be one of the few go-to forwards on his team’s roster. Despite missing 16 games, he’s still third on the team in scoring with 46 points in 37 games. His 1.24 points-per-game are tops on the Bruins.
If Boston is going to make another run at a Stanley Cup, it’s clear that Bergeron will have to be a big part of it.
Pre-game coverage starts at 7 p.m. ET on NHL Live, hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and NHL insider Bob McKenzie. Six-time Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play), U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Emmy Award-winner Pierre McGuire (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Madison Square Garden in New York.
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.