Should Boston Bruins veteran superstars Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand be on the 2022 Canadian Olympic team?
On Wednesday, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney was named as an Assistant General Manager for Hockey Canada for that team. Sweeney, fellow Assistant General Managers Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers) and Ron Francis (Seattle Kraken), and Associate General Manager Ken Holland (Edmonton Oilers) will all work under General manager Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues).
Sweeney will likely push for his captain and alternate captain to be on the Hockey Canada team but as far as TSN Insider and Director of Scouting Craig Button is convinced, Sweeney won’t need to push hard. Despite the fact that Marchand will be 33 and Bergeron will be 36 when the NHL returns (COVID-permitting) to the Winter Olympics in Beijing exactly a year from now, Button believes it’s a no-brainer for Hockey Canada to reunite the line that was golden at the 2016 World Cup and have Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who will be 34, centering Marchand and Bergeron.
“Why do we worry about age? Why don’t we just look at performance?” Button asked back when asked if an over-30 line like that would be a concern for Hockey Canada. “Those three players are performing at a high level. There’s been no drop off! Hey listen, if we continue to watch and we see a dropoff, we can reconsider, but at this point in time – a year out – there is no reason to talk about age. It’s all about performance and those three players are elite performers!”
Despite the fact that the league is a much younger and faster league, Button is absolutely correct. Does Tom Brady being a 43-year-old change the fact he’s arguably still the second-best quarterback in the NFL and playing in his tenth Super Bowl with a chance at his seventh Super Bowl ring on Sunday?
No one will argue that God forbid Bergeron or Crosby suffers another concussion or Marchand goes down with another major injury that requires surgery, then this argument changes drastically. As Button pointed out though, we can only deal in the present when projecting these teams because if you’re choosing this team and you assume there will be an injury or this trio will suddenly take a major dip in production and play, you’re doing a disservice to Hockey Canada and your country.
As this is written, all three players are easily top ten players in the league, with Crosby and Bergeron potentially in the top 5. Considering their last five seasons and starts to this season, nothing indicates that a rapid decline is coming this season or next.
Marchand is currently riding a seven-game point streak with five goals and six assists during that span. He has six goals and eight assists in ten games this season. Marchand is two seasons removed from 100 points in 79 games and has hit the 30-goal plateau in four of his last five seasons. With 28 goals playing in all 70 games last season, he surely wouldn’t have missed that 30-goal mark if the season wasn’t paused due to COVID on March 10, 2020.
Bergeron is coming off a four-point (1g, 4a) night Wednesday when he scored the overtime winner to complete a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Washington Capitals. He leads the Boston Bruins in points with six goals and nine assists in ten games. Like Marchand, the Bruins captain has also scored at least 30 goals in four of his last five seasons and won the Selke Trophy twice during that span.
Meanwhile, Crosby has four goals and four assists in ten games this season. He scored 44 goals as recently as the 2016-17 season and led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup that season and the one before, winning the Conn Smythe after both Cup runs. Crosby has lit the lamp 30 times or more in three of his last five seasons.
With five Stanley Cup rings between them and no signs of stopping right now, Sweeney and his Hockey Canada colleagues would be making a huge mistake if they don’t reunite this trio for a shot at their third straight Olympic Gold when NHLers are playing.