Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was non-committal when asked about his future after he and the Bruins lost Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Bergeron, 36, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and chose to wait until this season concluded. While that moment came Saturday night in Raleigh, Bergeron, as expected and with another playoff exit so raw, was not in a state of mind to discuss his future.
“No, it’s too early right now. Not after … it’s too fresh right now,” Bergeron said. It still stings from a hard-fought series. We came up short. Obviously I’m going to have to think about it but I’m not there right now.”
The fact that the Boston Bruins captain has let this uncertainty go this far though, means that while he may not be at the point where he’s ready to make a major life decision and potentially retire, he’s most definitely contemplating it more than ever before. After 1,216 regular season games and 167 playoff games, it was clear in not just Bergeron’s answers and tones, but also his longtime linemate and good friend Brad Marchand’s words and emotions following Game 7.
“That’s why this one probably hurts more, the unknown for next year with him,” Brad Marchand said of the the Bergeron cloud of uncertainty that has been hanging over him and his teammates. “He’s done so much for this group and sacrificed so much that it would have been nice to make a good run for him. So it’s disappointing.
He’s the backbone of our team. Obviously the biggest part of our team. We want him to come back. But whatever happens he’s earned the right to make whatever decision he wants, and take the time that he needs. I guess time will tell.”
It should be noted that after Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy addressed the media about 15-20 minutes after the game ended, there was at least another 20-minute wait before Bergeron came out from what obviously was melancholy Bruins dressing room. Patrice Bergeron, as expected, was dejected, but not as telling about the magnitude of the moment as Marchand. As Marchand’s media session went on, he clearly became choked up and emotional when discussing his buddy’s future. The third question Marchand fielded was about Bergeron and he became so overcome that Bruins media relations guru Travis Basciotta had to call it on the session.
For those that continue to thinks the question marks surrounding Bergeron’s future are media-driven or click-bait attempts, is Marchand looking for clicks here or maybe knowing there’s a very real chance this was Patrice Bergeron’s last game?