Following their gutsy 5-1 win in Game 6 that forced a Game 7 back in Boston on Wednesday night, numerous Boston Bruins players credited a pregame speech by alternate captain Patrice Bergeron for allowing them to not only have the focus they needed to stave off elimination again but also to embrace and enjoy the moment. After learning that his former teammate addressed his team prior to faceoff, former Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg — who won a Cup with Bergeron and the Bruins in 2011 — wasn’t surprised.
“He rarely does that, but when Patrice Bergeron talks, you listen,” Seidenberg told BostonHockeyNow. “He’s a man of few words and really leads by example. The way he leads on and off the ice, his commitment to the game and his team, creates this presence and this greatness around him, so when he does speak up and offers advice, you listen.”
Bergeron is a coach’s dream, arguably playing a 200-foot game better than anyone in the NHL, and putting the same effort he puts in games, into every practice. Seidenberg could see that even before becoming a Bruin prior to the 2009-10 season.
“He never really talked much on the ice, he just played hard,” Seidenberg recalled. “So when I became his teammate, I kind of expected him to be a quiet leader and that’s what he was. He would really only talk when he knew it was absolutely necessary. He knew how to pick his spots, and he always picked the right ones.”
Facing the strong possibility that he and his teammates may lose a golden chance to win the Stanley Cup – Bergeron’s second – Bergeron decided Sunday night was the right time to remind his teammates, especially the younger ones, why they were there and of the opportunity that they still had if they wanted it.
“Patrice stepped up big time tonight,” defenseman Charlie McAvoy said of Bergeron’s words to his team prior to faceoff. “It’s within us, the gist of [what he said]. But it was exactly what we needed. It was an element of what the dream is. Growing up every one of us shares the same dream, and it was kind of bringing us all to where we were all little kids once and we all wanted this so badly. I think it was just an element of savoring this moment and not letting it end. It was exactly what we needed. He stepped up. I mean, when he talks everybody listens. That’s the presence that he has. It was when he needed to say it.”
“He was everything that you want in a leader tonight,” McAvoy added. “He is every night, but especially tonight. He rallied us in a way that was needed. He has a knack for saying the right thing at exactly the right time, and that’s leadership ability. It’s something that you grow over time and he obviously has it.”
Seidenberg had the pleasure of watching Bergeron become that leader that McAvoy raved about and he’s thrilled that his friend and former teammate has a chance to win another Stanley Cup.
“We a strong leadership group on that 2011 team and ‘Bergy’ embraced that and learned from it,” Seidenberg said. “He took everything in and now he’s using it to lead his team. He deserves all the praise he gets. He’s one of the best players and people I played with. I hope he gets another one.”