Bergeron ready to win again for Team Canada

Bergeron ready to win again for Team Canada
February 11, 2014, 6:45 pm
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Patrice Bergeron returns to Olympic competition as one of the grizzled, experienced champions, something he should be used to after winning at nearly every level of elite competition he’s ever played. One must forgive the two-way center for not winning a Memorial Cup or Calder Cup in his single seasons playing for the QJMHL and AHL, but he’s won a World Junior championship, a Stanley Cup championship and a Gold Medal at the Olympics.

The whole winning and team success thing seems to follow him throughout his career, and that’s not a coincidence. The high intensity atmosphere around these highest levels of hockey brings out the best in the 28-year-old center, and that’s not a coincidence either.

“That’s something I’ve noticed in Vancouver. Right from the first game was playoff intensity, and the speed picked up another level from [NHL regular season games],” said Bergeron. “So it is different, and for what’s at stake it’s obvious it’s going to be tough games to win.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m really excited. Now I can think about it a lot more, that’s what is ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Bergeron only had a single assist and three shots on goal along with a minus-2 in the seven games for Team Canada on their way to Gold, but the Selke Trophy winner became a checking line center and face-off specialist that did all of the little things for a star-studded team. It’s a role that the B’s center specializes in with the Bruins along with 25 goals and 60 points that you can set your hockey watch to.

Claude Julien will be an assistant coach for Team Canada, and he knows exactly what he’s got in the player he’s coached, and watched grow into one of the Faces of the NHL over the last seven years.

“He’s always been that guy that’s that perfect fit. He’s as reliable defensively as he is offensively,” said Julien. “He’s going to give you a fair amount of production and a fair amount of points, yet he’s going to give you that same kind of comfort feeling in your end of the ice as well. Those guys are hard to find and when you have them, like I said, you try to hold onto them.”

Bergeron was playing the right wing along with center John Tavares and left wing Jamie Benn in Team Canada practices, and will once again play the bottom-six role to a ‘T’ for his country. The willingness of players like Bergeron to serve in limited roles for the greater good of the team is exactly why Canada is a favorite to once again take home a medal in Sochi.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings for Team Canada courtesy of Pro Hockey Talk:

Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Jeff Carter

Rick Nash-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp

Jamie Benn-John Tavares-Patrice Bergeron

Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf-Patrick Marleau

Extra skaters: Matt Duchene, Marty St. Louis

Duncan Keith-Shea Weber

Drew Doughty-Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Extra skaters: Dan Hamhuis, P.K. Subban