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Milbury: For Boston Bruins, ‘It’s Time To Move On’ From Bergeron



Boston Bruins

It’s unsettling enough for Boston Bruins fans to think about Patrice Bergeron’s contract uncertainty at the end of this season. But now some hockey insiders believe it’s time for the Bruins to even entertain trading their 37-year-old captain as the Black and Gold continue in fits and starts to begin this regular season following a 2-1 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

Mike Milbury was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Thursday morning and entertained the thought of the B’s potentially dealing away Bergeron, and even Brad Marchand as well, as they clearly face the end of their Stanley Cup playoff window. According to Mad Mike, if the Boston Bruins believe they aren’t going to push into the playoffs this season they should think about dealing away aging assets and rebuilding a prospect cupboard that’s gone bare in the last few years.

The Bruins currently sit three points out of a playoff spot with multiple games in hand against both the Red Wings and Penguins ahead of them, so it’s not like they’re in a precarious playoff position ahead of the Christmas break.

Clearly Milbury is taking the “business is business” Belichick approach to the Boston Bruins roster, but it’s hard to envision any scenario where the Boston Bruins would take the PR trading away a beloved, lifelong True Bruin player that’s always said he wants to be a Boston Bruins player for life.

“It’s possible that it could be a playoff team, but if you look at the standings the first six spots are gone. They’re not going to catch any of those teams ahead of them, so there’s a couple of spots available and there’s some pretty good competition. The fact they might not make it is a real possibility. What do you do in that situation? Bergeron is 37,” said Milbury of Bergeron, who has logged 18 NHL seasons dating back to his 2003-04 rookie season in Boston. “Does he want to go play in Montreal for the last couple of years of his [hockey] life? I don’t think so because they suck right now. If he’s going to go anyplace it’s somewhere where he might win a Stanley Cup.

“This is a question that good teams face all the time. They run through a cycle, they have Bergeron and they an affinity for him. They love the guy. But if you’re really going to do business in the right way then it’s probably time to move on. To be honest with you, it’s time to move on. Go to him and have the conversation. To take it a step further, although it would be really hard to trade [Brad] Marchand as well, it’s probably worth the discussion. If you’re going to retool then you need assets to retool. You need great draft position and some great prospects, and both of those guys are going to bring that kind of stuff. If you think your time is up with this run, then it’s time to move and make some really hard decisions.”

We love Mad Mike, but this is exactly the kind of scattershot thinking that turned the New York Islanders into a raging dumpster fire when Milbury was making the hockey decisions on the Island.

There is interesting food for thought about Montreal wooing the Quebec City native, particularly as they’ve shown interest in Bergeron’s agent Kent Hughes as their GM, but it’s highly doubtful Bergeron would actively want to leave Boston for anywhere but a theoretically revived Quebec Nordiques franchise in his home city.

Bergeron has nine goals and 19 points in 22 games with a plus-2 rating and averaging 18:18 of ice time this season after scoring the only goal in Wednesday night’s shootout loss, and clearly has something left in the tank. So there’s no doubt Bergeron would get big time value as a trade asset to a Stanley Cup Contender that can still absolutely play at the highest level, but this humble hockey writer believes it’s crazy talk to even entertain trading the captain.

There are some players that transcend ordinary value or rules of the road when it comes to roster building as the New England Patriots saw when they allowed Tom Brady to move on. It would be a crime if Bergeron becomes just another one of those great Boston athletes that finished his career in a different uniform after doing everything perfectly for close to the last 20 years.

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