Patrice Bergeron might look different next season, but don’t expect him to act much different.
The Boston Bruins named Bergeron the captain Thursday following the departure of Zdeno Chara. The 35-year-old getting the “C” was a long time coming — especially once Chara left — but Bergeron was quick to emphasize how important it is for him to just be, well, Patrice Bergeron.
“To me, it’s (important) to be myself,” Bergeron said Thursday over Zoom. “I think leadership is all about making sure you’re able to surround yourself with great people, and also being able to connect with guys and be able to speak from the heart when needed, lead by example and I don’t think I’m going to change any of that stuff. I think I’m going to try to communicate and make sure we connect as a team and we create something special moving forward.
“But with that being said, I think there’s a culture that’s been established here for many, many years and there’s been tremendous and amazing leaders and captains over the years. And Z obviously was one of those guys, where there’s been a culture that’s been in place and I’m going to try to carry that on.
Chara isn’t the only NHL legend to wear the “C” for the Bruins. Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, Wayne Cashman and Joe Thornton — the list goes on and on — all have had the honor. Many are icons not just in Boston, but the sport altogether.
And while it’s deserved company for Bergeron, he’s going to try to keep it in perspective.
“There’s been some tremendous captains and leaders on the way and some legends of the game,” Bergeron said. “And like I said, it’s an absolute honor and I’m going to try to keep bettering myself and keep learning and leading by example — but also trying to be me. I think that’s all I can really do (in addition to connecting) with my teammates.”
We’ve already gotten a staged look at Bergeron with the “C,” but we’ll see it in action next Thursday when the Bruins open their season against the New Jersey Devils.