Bergeron taken long road to be one of NHL's best

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Bergeron taken long road to be one of NHL's best

LAS VEGAS, NV -- It's difficult to believe that five years ago some wondered if Patrice Bergeron's career might be over, or at the very least severely compromised because of a concussion that forced him to miss nearly an entire season with the Bruins.

But Bergeron has come back stronger than ever, and he was among the NHL's best at the Wynn Resort and Casino on Tuesday afternoon for the NHL Awards press availability.

Bergeron was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy, given to the NHL's best defensive forward, along with St. Louis forward David Backes and Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk. It's stiff competition, but Bergeron stands a good shot at his first award after dominating in the face-off circle and finishing among the NHL's top-5 in plusminus this season.

Add that to 20-plus goals and 60-plus points for Bergeron, and it appears that No. 37 is finally ready to move onto the league's radar. He's gone from the NHL's most underrated player to it's most respected two-way center in the span of a year.

All that being said, Bergeron will never place too much value in an individual award whether he wins or loses.

"It's a great honor to be here and the Selke is something that I've always held in high regard," said Bergeron. "But I also don't get too hung up on these awards. I'd take a Stanley Cup over an award any day of the week."

Bergeron battled through a strained oblique during the playoff series loss to the Washington Capitals, and that underscored just how important the center's health is to the team's success. Bergeron couldn't battle at full strength and he couldn't take face-offs, and the Bruins were a lesser team for it.

B's Captain Zdeno Chara has had an appreciation for Bergeron's impact on the team while watching him grow over the years.

"A player like Bergie is somebody that I have the ultimate respect for," said Chara, "He has the kind of ability to be one of the top offensive players in terms of points, but he also understands the importance of playing a two-way game.

"His individual offensive game might suffer a bit while he pays attention to detail on defense, but it's all done in order to make a stronger team. That's what we're all about."

Bergeron has the best chance of any Bruins player to bring home hardware after last season. That's truly saying something given just how many wondered whether Bergeron would ever be able to reach his potential after the course of his career changed so drastically five years ago.

Bergeron ties it, Marchand wins it for Team Canada in World Cup final

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Bergeron ties it, Marchand wins it for Team Canada in World Cup final

Team Canada has the Boston Bruins -- two in particular -- to thank for a championship.

Patrice Bergeron tied the game on a power play at 17:07 of the third period, and Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal with 43.1 seconds left to win it as Canada defeated Team Europe, 2-1, Thursday night and won the World Cup of Hockey title.

Click here for the complete story.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston.