Patrice Bergeron is at the time in his life where he is going to take things as they come. But upon reflecting on his 18 years in the NHL and what the next chapter would hold, the Boston Bruins captain knew his competitive spirit still burns too strong.
“There was a few,” Bergeron said during a video conference Monday when asked about the determining factors which led him back to the Black and Gold on a one-year agreement.
“Probably the first one is I spoke with my wife and for her, it was basically my decision and (she) was supporting of whatever choice I was going to make,” Bergeron said. “That was great that the family side was taken care of. The kids obviously love Boston and feel like it’s their home as well, so that was a non-issue there.
“After that, it was more making sure that I wanted it, that I wanted to work out. I felt like when I was getting up, I missed the game again. When I had those feelings, I felt like it was time and I needed to play one more year and come back,” Bergeron said. “It was more just letting my body and my brain mentally know what I wanted and really listening to that. Once I felt, you know, the desire and passion was there and coming back and getting excited to work out again and want to skate and whatnot. That, to me, is the indicator you need to keep playing.”
Bergeron came to an agreement with the Bruins to play his 19th season with the organization, as revealed Monday. He will play on a team-friendly deal with the ability to earn $5 million during the 2022-23 season.
Bergeron, 37, did have some time to think about what his post-playing days would look like should he step away from the ice. He played out the final year of his eight-year deal in 2021-22 before he became a free agent this offseason. Bergeron, though, acknowledged the Bruins would be the only organization he played for.
It led him to push off retirement for at least one more season, a decision he knew before NHL free agency started last month.
“To me, it was more the family side of things. The one plus is you’ll have more time at home with the family, with the kids,” Bergeron said. “That being said, I think the fire, the desire, the passion was too strong for me to take that path right now. Obviously, my family is always going to be my priority, try to make that work and spend as much time with them like I’ve had over the last few years since (the kids have been) born.
“That being said, I’m not ready, I guess, for the next step of my life,” he added. “I still have some in the tank and some to give.”
Given that Bergeron won the Selke Trophy last season for being the NHL’s best two-way forward, that’s quite an understatement.