By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON -- Patrice Bergeron will miss both preseason games against the Montreal Canadiens over the next two days while his No. 37 jersey is retired by the Acadie Bathurst junior hockey team for which he starred back in the 2002-2003 junior hockey season.
He's gone to Bathurst. He's going to meet us in Montreal, said Claude Julien. He's a guy that I don't plan on playing the next two games. That's why I played him the first two: because he was going there. But he will be at practice with us on Monday morning in Montreal.
Bergeron potted 74 points in 74 games for Bathurst in two seasons for the Quebec Major Junior League team as a 16- and 17 year-old out of the Quebec City area, and was expected to return after he was drafted in the second round by the Bruins in the 2003 draft.
But Bergeron showed all of the toughness, skill and hockey sense as a teenager that now make him such an exceptional player, and he made a playoff-caliber Bruins team as the youngest player in the NHL during the 2003-04 season. The rest is history for Bergeron, who has battled concussions to become one of the best two-way centers in the league. He has reached the pinnacle with Olympic Gold for Team Canada and a Stanley Cup with the Bruins over the last two years.
So Acadie Bathurst is retiring Bergeron's No. 37 jersey on Sunday afternoon at the K.C. Irving Recreational Centre prior to a QMJHL game for the Titans, and will miss the Sunday game in Halifax against the Habs entirely. Bergeron will meet up with the team in Montreal at the Bell Centre for a Monday practice, and will likely appear in at least one of the final two preseason games leading up to their Oct. 6 season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that US democracy still works even there are extreme factors that our founding fathers couldn’t possibly have imagined.
*Edmonton Oilers reclamation project Zack Kassian continues his journey from villain to hero in the eyes of the Oil Faithful.
*Old warrior Chris Neil is weighing NHL offers right now along with a number of other older veterans still waiting for the right situation to present itself for next season. Many of these veterans are probably going to have to report to training camps on tryout agreements and beat out younger players for jobs, and that may be exactly what happens with a grizzled, tough old bird like Neil. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins bring in a veteran or two on PTO agreements in camp, and that could be the ultimate fate for guys like Neil, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and even Thomas Vanek.
*The Vegas Golden Knights are still looking to inspire with a developing locker room message as their maiden voyage still awaits this season.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has longtime Habs defenseman Andrei Markov leaving for the KHL after he couldn’t come to an agreement to stay in Montreal with the Canadiens.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Kennedy has a prospects mailbag at this quiet point in the summer, and he’s very, very high on Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat.
*The Hockey News details why somebody needs to step up and sign the legendary Jaromir Jagr as one of the aforementioned veteran forwards still looking for a job.
*For something completely different: Solid Steve Lattimer reference in this Pro Football Talk story about performance enhancing drugs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates.
*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations.
*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them.
*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.
*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas.
*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name.