The Boston Bruins waited with bated breath this offseason for a decision from captain Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron ultimately put retiring on hold to rejoin the Bruins by a signing a one-year contract, a deal Boston made official Monday.
Whether this is a one-and-done year for Bergeron before he calls it a career for good remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the longtime Bruins center goes through a similar decision-making process after the conclusion of this upcoming season.
While that makes the future somewhat murky, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney believes Bergeron should be afforded the latitude on how he wants to approach his future in the game.
“That’s going to be Patrice’s decision, ultimately,” Sweeney told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday. “And I’ve said that all along, he dictates the time on how long do I play hockey. He can play for as long as he really wants to, to tell you the truth. In my opinion, from his impact in the game, he was pretty adamant that he’s going to take things year-by-year and re-evaluate.”
There’s no illusion that Bergeron, along with David Krejci, who the Bruins also brought back this week, are close to putting the finishing touches on their careers. The 37-year-old Bergeron is entering his 19th season in the NHL while Krejci, 36, isn’t too far behind, having played 15 NHL seasons before suiting up in his native Czech Republic last winter.
Even with both Bergeron and Krejci getting into the latter stages of their careers, they both have remained productive. Bergeron last season tallied 25 goals and 40 assists while Krejci notched eight goals and 36 assists in his last season in Boston.
With Bergeron and Krejci reuniting, this could be seen as one last attempt by two cornerstone pieces of the Bruins to make a final run together at a Stanley Cup. But Sweeney wouldn’t buy-in to that notion.
“I don’t think there’s any timeline about how long those guys want to play,” Sweeney told reporters. “I think they left it open ended. They are very much living in the moment and recognizing they’ve seen several of their teammates previously move on, retire. So, I think they’re honest about where they are, but they’re awfully really good players. So, I think that’s it and they’re driven to succeed and excited about playing with the group that we currently have.”