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BOSTON (CBS) – Rumors have been swirling for days that the Boston Bruins are planning on locking up center Patrice Bergeron with a seven-year contract extension, which would basically be a lifetime deal with the club.
Bergeron, who’ll turn 28 this month, might get his name on a seven-year deal that wouldn’t start until the 2014-15 season.
If the Bruins needed to be convinced any more that their alternate captain, Selke Trophy-winning, gold-medal-winning center was worth any amount of money and term on a new deal, Bergeron provided the final statements in his case Tuesday at TD Garden.
We all knew that for most of the last couple games of the Stanley Cup finals he was battling injury. In the aftermath of the Bruins’ season-ending loss to Chicago in Game 6, we learned about his cracked rib, his cartilage damage and the shoulder he separated in the first period of that game. Days later, general manager Peter Chiarelli broke the news of the puncture in Bergeron’s lung.
Well, in an intimate media meeting at TD Garden, Bergeron revealed the timeline of his injuries. His troubles all started in the second period of Game 4 at the Garden after he was rocked in the corner by a Michael Frolik hit. That’s at least where he suffered his cartilage damage.
Those who haven’t blocked out the memories of that loss and the rest of the series will remember that the Bruins lost that game, 6-5, in overtime. And Bergeron scored two of the Bruins’ goals – both after the injury.
After that game, Bergeron landed in the hospital during Game 5 because of a second hit and fears about his spleen. Then there were the nerve block shots before and during Game 6 that allowed him to play until the final disappointing seconds.
“I don’t know if there’s pride. Some people would say it’s stupid, but it just goes with the way it is,” Bergeron said. “You don’t think at that point. You’re just trying to help the team. You try to do whatever it takes. You obviously don’t want to put your health in danger. We had this conversation with the doctors. You never know what’s going to happen in a game so there’s always a risk but at the same time, it’s our passion. It’s what you want to do. You want to definitely win, that’s the most important thing and at that stage, at that point.
“There’s no regrets on my part I’ll tell you that, but I don’t know if there’s necessarily pride. I just did whatever any other of my teammates would have done.”
The notion that anyone else would’ve done the same thing is an easy way for the humble Bergeron to not separate himself from the group. I’d say he’s rare among any human willing to go through all he went through, and battle the pain he was fighting, just to play in a hockey game (even if it was the Cup final).
The Bruins can reward Bergeron for all the goals, assists, faceoff wins and leadership he’s provided since breaking into the NHL as an 18-year-old fresh off getting drafted in the second round. But more than anything, a new deal would be a great prize for a guy who basically risked his life in pursuit of another Cup for Boston.
Chiarelli shouldn’t waste much time making Bergeron a Bruin for life.
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.