WILMINGTON (CBS) — Bruins center Patrice Bergeron came one shy of matching his career high for goals in a season last season, when he shared the team lead with Jarome Iginla with 30.
To total that many goals, he attempted 67 fewer shots on net than he did when he scored 31 goals in 2005-06. So it’s hard to tell if Bergeron’s shooting percentage of 12.5, a career-best for a full NHL season, will be repeatable in 2014-15.
Bergeron didn’t take any chances over the summer. The Bruins alternate captain, who was clearly running the show (at one point he took out a stopwatch) during the Bruins’ first informal practice of the season at Ristuccia Arena on Tuesday, said after the on-ice session that he added a little extra to his usual offseason routine.
“You know it’s always the same thing. I did some power skating lessons. I do that every summer. I work on my agility but almost my quick first couple strides. I think as a center it’s important to do that be able to cover all positions. So you’ve got to make sure you get that quick enough,” Bergeron said.
“I took some shooting lessons and I’m trying to work on my shot. I don’t know if I’ll be in the same position on the power play, but I tried to work on my one-timer. And overall, the same kind of off-ice workout to be ready for the regular season.”
These are the types of things that endear Bergeron to his fans and even his enemies. He’s a two-time Selke Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup championship and two olympic gold medal wins on his resume, and he goes off for summer break after scoring 30 goals and takes shooting lessons. At 29, Bergeron believes he can get better and doesn’t just expect to sustain his past greatness.
Even if there’s a little more mustard on his shot, though, Bergeron isn’t making any bold predictions about challenging for the Rocket Richard or Art Ross Trophy in 2014-15.
“I mean I’ve said all along, I want to get better and improve. And I think that’s something that I’m trying to work on as much, as well as my quick release,” he said. “I think D’s, and even forwards from other teams, are so fast and so quick on back pressure and all that stuff that you have to get your shot off quicker. And yeah if that helps me getting a few more goals, I’m definitely going to take them. But I don’t want to set goals like that. Like I’ve said before, it’s always about helping the team. I know offense is part of my game but it’s also about the two-way game again.”
It was hard to blame Bergeron for the Bruins’ demise against the Montreal Canadiens in the Eastern Conference second round last May. But the Bruins could’ve used more than just two goals from him (he didn’t score in the last four games) against the Canadiens to make up for the lack of production from other key players. Nonetheless, the page has been turned and Bergeron is looking forward to a new season.
He said time feels like it has flown since he was an 18-year-old rookie who took Boston by storm and earned an NHL job straight out of junior hockey in 2003. He admitted feeling old when he heard the Bruins drafted Ryan Donato, the son of Bergeron’s former teammate Ted Donato, in the draft in June.
The first names of the Donato men in the Bruins organization change, but one thing that remains the same is Bergeron’s presence as a focal point of the team.
The Bruins’ season has only ended according to Bergeron’s plan once since his career started, so the veteran has experience with how the Bruins have to approach the upcoming campaign in the aftermath of last spring’s early demise. The Bruins have something to prove.
“Of course. I think you’ve got to do that every time. Every time you don’t achieve the ultimate goal you have to prove something all over again,” he said. “And that’s definitely on our minds this year that [we’re] starting all over, starting training camp, have a good camp and have a strong start to the season and go from there. We definitely can’t look past that, but still we definitely are looking forward to the season. And we all know that we’re going to have to bring more. All the teams are getting better.”
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com and also contributes to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.
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