Patrice Bergeron has received plenty of advice throughout his 17-year NHL career, but a message from former teammate Mark Recchi continues to resonate with the Boston Bruins captain.
“Mark Recchi told me one time, ‘Just speak with your heart,'” Bergeron recalled in a recent interview with NHLPA.com. “When it’s time to say something or whenever you want to say something, if your gut is telling you it’s time to do that, trust that feeling and speak with your heart. I think that’s the one thing that really stuck with me. I also had other people tell me to just be myself, to not overthink things. That only really helped me too.”
Recchi spent parts of three seasons with the Bruins, including the 2010-11 campaign that ended with Boston defeating the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final. He was a stabilizing veteran presence on that championship-winning team, and clearly he made a profound impact on the Bruins’ core players, including Bergeron.
Recchi retired immediately after hoisting Lord Stanley with the B’s and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame a few years later. Bergeron since has solidified himself as one of the best players in Bruins history, with an excellent two-way game to go along with an admirable level of professionalism.
Bergeron just received the 2021 Mark Messier Leadership Award, given annually to a player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team both on and off the ice during the regular season.
“It’s one of those things where you realize how much support you have from your teammates and from your leadership group,” Bergeron told NHLPA.com. “It’s been great to be a part of that. Learning from them and working to achieve our goals together has been a great experience. It’s humbling and it’s accepted with a lot of humility. There are a lot of people that have helped me receive this award.”
The honor comes on the heels of Bergeron’s first season as Boston’s captain. The 35-year-old center took over the “C” after Zdeno Chara left in free agency last offseason, but he has been a true leader for as long as he’s donned the Spoked-B.