Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron can reach the 1,000-point plateau on Monday night in Tampa Bay when the Bruins kick off a two-game Florida road trip against the Lightning.
Anyone who’s familiar to Patrice Bergeron knows that when he reaches this milestone, Bergeron will be grateful and proud, but what has, does, and will always matter most to him, is the success of his team.
Speaking recently on the Raw Knuckles Podcast – hosted by former Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins winger, and West Roxbury, MA native Chris Nilan – Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes revealed that Bergeron once passed on likely way more money to play for the Bruins’ bitter rivals, the Canadiens, to stay with the Bruins and win more Stanley Cups.
After already keeping his promise to take less on his third NHL contract (three years, $15 million), Bergeron was in prime position to cash in on the open market prior to the 2014-15 season, and Hughes told him to swing for the fences with the Bruins, because he had already taken one for the team.
“His next deal came up and he said ‘What do you think I’m worth?’ and I said highest paid player I think at the time was $8.5M. …I think it was [Corey] Perry and [Ryan] Getzlaf at the time actually and I said you’re. …you’re $9.5M and he said ‘How did I become $9.5M?’ and I said well, because you’re better in my opinion, and because there’s a team four-and-a-half hours northeast of here who is your team’s greatest rival. They’re dying for a first line center; they’re dying for a captain. …and there’s just a premium. And he said ‘Yeah, well, if I make that kind of money, we’ll never win, and I wanna win, I want six-and-a-half’ and I was like six-and-a-half, you gotta be kidding me!
So, I said that’a great but the problem is, you can’t make everybody else take less, and he always said ‘All I can always do is lead by example. I’ll do my part and it will be up to everybody else whether they want to fall in line or not.”
As Hughes pointed out to Nilan, having a player like Bergeron in the salary cap era can be a saving grace for an NHL GM. …oh and by the way, the Bruins can thank Bergeron for all that Brad Marchand has brought them.
“That type of character. …there’s a reason why the Bruins have had that much success,” Hughes said. “And Brad Marchand refused to take more than Patrice Bergeron.”