BRIGHTON, Mass – Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is obviously a leader of men by virtue of the letter ‘C’ on his Black and Gold sweater.
But the 35-year-old Bergeron was one of the best leaders in pro sports long before he was named to the Bruins captaincy this season after Zdeno Chara moved on to the Washington Capitals team that the B’s will be playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs starting this weekend. And he showed it again at the end of Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena while making a point of giving every single one of his teammates a stick tap during the practice-ending stretch at center ice.
He’s one of the best leaders in pro sports and he was that way long before he ever got the “C” on his sweater. PB37 truly gets it on every level. https://t.co/Nckehutb6W
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) May 13, 2021
In a season where team-bonding has been severely curtailed by the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols, it’s little things like Bergeron’s stick taps that can go a long way. It might seem like a small, simple gesture, of course, but the message from Bergeron is also unmistakable when it comes to every single player on the roster holding special importance as they enter the postseason fray.
“I think we have a leadership group that’s been around and has some experience, so I don’t feel like I’m alone in this,” said Bergeron. “I’ll kind of help guys and be there for them, but at the same time I want to make sure everybody enjoys themselves and make sure they are in the moment at all times. Just like the regular season there will be adversity and ups and downs, and it goes back to taking charge of that moment you’re about to play.
“You don’t need to look too far ahead or everything else that’s going on, it’s more about your game and how you can play and respond as a team, and the way you want to compete.”
Bergeron finished with 23 goals and 48 points in 54 games in his first season with the full captain responsibilities, and it’s almost appropriate that Bergeron and Co. will see the former captain Chara in the playoff’s first round. It’s time to see exactly what kind of identity the Boston Bruins will have under Bergeron’s leadership and that’s off to a promising start with his subtle actions at the end of practice.