Patrice Bergeron Embraces Leadership Role With Bruins

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Patrice Bergeron Embraces Leadership Role With Bruins With the launch of NESN’s all-new Big Bad Bruins Show set for Oct. 23, our crew ventured out to Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena on Wednesday It was the team’s first practice since returning home from their European vacation, and the team seemed to be relaxed and having fun on the ice during the session.

Afterward, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron joined me for a lengthy conversation for the premiere episode of the new show.

Now, I’m not going to give away all the details of the conversation, but let’s just say there are some things you may not know about the B’s 25-year-old veteran — such as who he would like to portray in his favorite show, Family Guy. And you?ll never guess what recent music concert in New York City left him speechless.

Much of our conversation focused on Bergeron’s impressive resume. Entering his seventh pro season at the young age of 25, he’s already won a gold medal at the Olympics in Vancouver for Team Canada and is the first Canadian to play in a world championship (2004) before a world junior championship (2005). He’s also played in a Winter Classic, the NHL playoffs, and recently opened up the season with the Bruins in Prague. Oh, not to mention the two-way forward just inked a new three-year contract worth $15 million — a contract that the humble centerman would rather not discuss.

That’s just the type of guy Bergy is. He remembers all of his former teammates by name. He even knows where they are all playing. When I asked him about his 2004-05 teammates from Providence during the NHL lockout year, Bergeron can tell you something about each and every one of them.

“The team chemistry was unbelievable,” Bergeron said. “I mean just naming those guys brings smiles to my face because it was so much fun and I liked everyone on that team.”

His new deal ensures that Bruins fans will get to witness Bergeron’s impressive style of play for a long time to come. It also ensures that the Bruins organization can rely on his leadership through 2014. Over the years, Bergeron has learned from some of the best in the game and, in turn, has taken ownership of a similar responsibility over the team.

“I think all those years helped me so much, to learn that leadership and get that role,” Bergeron said. “That first year with Martin LaPointe — he was such a great leader on our team. We had so many older guys that year that I’ve learned from. Joe [Thornton] was there, Sean O’Donnell, who I think is still playing, was there. There were so many guys, and I?ve learned a lot.

“Then the second year … it was a little different. I was back with younger guys, and the chemistry was a little different, but I was able to get to know all the guys a little bit more. But I think all of the experience I’ve got — all the experience in the playoffs, the experience with each and every team — helped me in establishing that leadership, and I’m trying to take pride into it and also trying to improve and get better at it.”

Bergeron’s leadership role is visible on the 2010-11 team. At 18, Tyler Seguin is the same age Bergeron was when he was in his first year with Boston. Jordan Caron, another youngster that the B’s hope will develop into a full time NHLer, also is among the group that looks up to Bergeron.

“Jordan reminds me of me when I came in,” Bergeron said. “Obviously, he’s actually a lot better than I was with English back then, but he’s doing real well. His first NHL game on Sunday was awesome. I was happy for him to have such a great game. But like I said, these two guys are handling themselves real well. They don’t really need us or me to tell them what to do, but at the same time, I’m there if they need anything.”

Bergeron will sport the “A” on his sweater this season as he should. The symbol represents the alternate captain of a hockey club, and Patrice Bergeron personifies the “A.” I wouldn’t be surprised if, one day, he is named captain of the organization that drafted him in 2003.

Bergeron deserves to play his entire career with the same organization, something so few professional athletes have the chance to do. Hopefully, everything works out that way, because Bergeron’s fingerprints are all over this organization.

He is the essence of what it means to be a Boston Bruin.

To see the entire conversation with Patrice Bergeron, including his expectations for this year’s team, his perspective on the game and his thoughts on life since suffering a career-threatening concussion in 2007, be sure to check out The Big Bad Bruins Show with Kathryn Tappen. The premiere episode airs Saturday, Oct. 23 on NESN, before and after the Bruins 7 p.m. start against the New York Rangers.

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