Bergeron's legend grows with courageous Game 6 performance

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Bergeron's legend grows with courageous Game 6 performance

WASHINGTON If Patrice Bergeron has proven anything this season its that he is as tough as they come.

The Bs center and best all-around player fought off a pair of hard-hits from Saturdays Game 5 that dinged him up at TD Garden, and made certain he was in the starting lineup for Sundays Game 6 at the Verizon Center.

Bergeron was essentially playing right wing and allowed Rich Peverley to take face-offs in place of him for the game, but he still managed an assist and 19:41 of ice time while sucking it up playoff-style. Bergerons mere presence buoyed the Bruins and helped lead them to a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals that sets up Wednesday nights winner-take-all Game 7 at TD Garden.

Were an experienced group and we know what it takes, said Bergeron. Weve been through it before. Its not over until we get that fourth win, but that was a huge effort from us tonight.

Its pretty clear that an upper-body injury is preventing Bergeron from taking face-offs, but it also doesnt appear to be the concussion that most feared when he took heavy shots to the head from Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin on Saturday. So Peverley won 13-of-24 draws in the victory, and both factored heavily into Bostons first goal of the game in the first period.

The Peverley high tip of an Andrew Ference shot gave the Bruins their first lead of the series heading into the first intermission, and Bergeron actually originally was credited with the goal. But he went straight to the referees and made sure that Peverley was awarded with his team-best third goal of the series.

He competed hard and hes not taking face-offs because hes not 100 to take face-offs, but hes good enough to play through this whole game. He played a real solid game, said Claude Julien. It speaks volumes with this guy. Anytime we talk about this player theres always something new that comes up but that makes him an even greater player.

I think as much as hes extremely respected in the room somehow he became even more today.

He totaled 4:49 of power play time and 1:28 on the penalty kill, and didnt appear to have any limitations other than the face-off restriction.

I was planning to play yesterday after the Game 5 loss, said Bergeron. Peverley is a great player and we were just reading off each other. I knew he was going to be taking the face-offs, so we made the best of it.

Perhaps the best evidence that Bergeron was okay: he insisted on taking one defensive zone face-off in the third period at his right wing spot when Peverley wasnt out on the ice with him.

It was on my side of the ice and Peverley wasnt out there, so, yeah, I made the call, admitted Bergeron.

The Bruins are a better hockey club when Bergeron is on the ice making the calls, and hell be doing just that in the deciding Game 7 on Wednesday night.

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.