For a second straight season, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron skated off the ice uncertain of his future in the NHL.
Just as he did last season at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina when the Boston Bruins lost in Game 7 to the Carolina Hurricanes, Patrice Bergeron hugged every single teammate as they walked off the ice at TD Garden following the Bruins’ 4-3 overtime loss in Game 7 to the Florida Panthers on Sunday night. The 37-year-old center finished the hug line with an especially long embrace with longtime linemate and teammate Brad Marchand in tears, and then saluted the Bruins fans in what could very well be his last game.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand embrace as the Bruins leave the ice.
Bergeron salutes the crowd in what could be his final game. pic.twitter.com/AlBvjreLV2
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) May 1, 2023
When he finally emerged from what was surely a somber and emotional time with his teammates, Bergeron struggled to put his emotions into words and admitted the uncertainty surrounding his future.
“Right now, it’s hard to process anything. Obviously, we’re shocked and disappointed,” said Bergeron who revealed he was dealing with a herniated disc that kept him out of the first four games of the series. “It hurts right now so I’m going to have to step back and give it some thought with my family.”
When asked about that postgame hug, Marchand, as he did after Game 7 against the Hurricanes last season, choked up and expressed his uncertainty about Bergeron’s future as well.
“Yeah, it’s emotional, you don’t know about the guy’s future,” the Boston Bruins winger said. “It’s tough, we were hoping to make a good long run here all together, and it’s tough for everybody.”
Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery, who leaned on Bergeron’s advice and leadership all season was grateful and just hoping this wasn’t the last season for the potential hall of famer.
“Incredible experience, you know, just because his awareness, his maturity, his ability to communicate, his ability to listen as part of that communication and then just how great a hockey player he is — learned a lot from him this year, hope to learn more next year,” Montgomery said.
The Boston Bruins had no media availability on Monday, but were expected to announce their end of the year session at some point in the day.