Patrice Bergeron had a big night when the Bruins took down the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, scoring a pair of goals to help Boston continue rolling in its NHL-best start.
But it’s what Bergeron did before the game started that has drawn the praise of his opponent and their fans.
Shortly before puck drop at KeyBank Center, Bergeron greeted Buffalo center Tage Thompson at center ice and shared a few words with the young star. The interaction was clearly friendly, with the veteran sharing a couple of pats and stick taps with the youngster after doing most of the talking. As video made its way around, most thought it was just an instance of Bergeron floating some praise toward Thompson. What it ended up being was so much more.
As the Bruins and Sabres celebrated Hockey Fights Cancer Night, the Boston captain inquired about Thompson’s wife, Rachel, asking how she was doing after she had a cancerous mass removed from her right leg in January 2019. The question clearly meant a lot to Thompson.
“It’s big,” Thompson told The Buffalo News following Sabres practice Monday. “Obviously, he didn’t have to say anything. He kind of went out of his way to check on her and ask how she’s doing. It’s just the kind of guy he. He’s just a genuine guy, cares about other people.”
Bergeron got a positive update from Thompson, with the 25-year-old sharing she was doing well and has seen each of her bone scans since surgery come back cancer-free. Further monitoring won’t be necessary if her next scan in the summer of 2023 is clean.
The two share a connection beyond their five seasons playing in the same division, as back in 2004-05, a 19-year-old Bergeron was the teammate of Thompson’s father, Brent, with the Providence Bruins during the NHL lockout. According to a story shared to The Buffalo News by Thompson, Bergeron was a frequent visitor to the family’s home and even played street hockey with a 7-year-old Tage and his younger brother, Tyce.
That connection will surely continue to extend beyond their days as opponents.