Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Bergeron is Bruins’ Best

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The Bruins’ best player is Patrice Bergeron. After years of watching Bruins games, it has become evidently clear to me. No one on the Bruins produces and helps the team in the capacities that number 37 does.

Some will argue Zdena Chara, the 6’ 9” behemoth on the blueline, the Norris-winning, hardest slap-shotting player in the world, is. Some will argue that Tim Thomas, of Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy fame is, after a record-setting regular season and playoff run. Maybe the more daring will argue their leading-scorer and resident tough guy Milan Lucic is. But no, they are all mistaken.

An easy mistake to make is to be beholden by statistics. Baseball’s beauty and majesty have been ruined by the rise of the sabermeticians, who sully the worth of wins, batting average, and runs batted in. Hockey’s only has a few statistics that people care about: wins, save percentage, goals, assists, and points. But hockey is not a sport that can be judged solely through numbers.

Only through watching, can such a judgment of the breadth of a player’s skill be accomplished.

That brings me back to Patrice Bergeron, who as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, joined the Bruins in 2003.  Bergeron may never lead the Bruins in goals or assists, but his game is something to behold. One of the most respected players in the league, Bergeron does it all. He is called upon to kill penalties and grind out the opponent’s top forwards night in and night out. He is constantly one of the league leaders in faceoff percentage, with the majority coming in the defensive end, where it is paramount to gain possession.

He rarely commits mistakes with the puck, and almost never takes bone-headed penalties. He never lets his emotions get the best of him in the heat of battle, all while he presents a necessary physical presence. And when need be, he steps up and scores goals, typically north of twenty a year.

It’s easy to say that Chara or Thomas are the best the Bruins have to offer. Bergeron brings supreme play to all three zones. He is routinely among the league leaders in plus/minus rating. Admittedly, I’m not a sage. I’m not even close to the first person to notice this. Heck, he was on the Canadian National Hockey team that won the Gold Medal at the Vancouver Olympics, so he was one of the best 20 players from the best hockey country in the world. He is one of only twenty-two members in the history of hockey to gain entry into the Triple Gold Club (Winning the Stanley Cup, Olympic, and Hockey World Championship), at age twenty-five.

Patrice Bergeron exemplifies what every hockey coach wished a hockey player could be—scorer, defensive wizard, leader, and above all else, a winner.

Mark Bruso can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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