BOSTON – When a player has been in the NHL for long enough, it seems that the milestones come pretty regularly and that goes double for somebody that’s been with just one team like Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.
The 36-year-old center returned to the Boston Bruins lineup in Saturday afternoon’s 6-3 win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden after missing the previous four games with an elbow infection, and in doing so played in his 1,200th NHL regular season. Bergeron was just the 120th player in the long and storied NHL history annals to hit that milestone and celebrated it with an assist and a plus-2 rating in 15:38 of ice time in the impressive victory.
“I guess I’ve been around for a while,” said Bergeron, who has 17 goals and 46 points in 57 games along with a plus-16 rating for the Boston Bruins this season. “That’s probably the one thing. It’s been a long road, but it went fast for the first 1,200. It’s kind of crazy to think…I guess I appreciate the moment, [and try to] be thankful for everything I’ve been able to go through.
“Being an Original Six team and a storied franchise [it’s special]. Being around and having the chance to meet those guys, Bucyk, Bourque, [Bobby] Orr, and all the greats. To me, it’s an honor and something I don’t take lightly to be a Boston Bruin. It definitely is special.”
Bergeron ranks a distant third on games played in the Boston Bruins Original Six history with a few seasons to go if he hopes to catch up to Ray Bourque (1,518 games played) or Johnny Bucyk (1,436 games played) on the all-time list.
Big day for Bergie https://t.co/tuIIIe40Yd
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) March 26, 2022
The Bruins top line center, of course, is in the last year of his current contract with the Black and Gold and has been very quiet on his plans beyond this current season, but the Boston Bruins obviously hope he takes at a run at the rest of the Boston Bruins all-time games played leaderboard.
“I told [Bergeron] ‘We need you around for 1,300 and beyond.’ Credit to him, to play for one organization that long tells you a lot about both sides. He loves it here, we love having him,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “Listen, we’ve talked about what he does for the team all day long. Both sides of the puck, leadership on the ice, in the community. Him and [his wife] Steph, when new wives come to town, they always welcome them.
“It’s up and down the list. I can’t thank him enough for how he’s helped me. Real happy for Patrice and happy to have him back in the lineup.”
The Boston Bruins will now hope that Bergeron is in the lineup to stay for the rest of the season after getting a bit of a breather over the last couple weeks now that he’s returned to Boston for his milestone moment.