Bergeron to be honored, will miss two games


Bergeron to be honored, will miss two games

By Joe Haggerty 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.

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Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

BRIGHTON, Mass – While the NHL debut for Charlie McAvoy is a matter of “when” rather than “if” at this point after agreeing to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Boston Bruins, the jury is still out on Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and University of Notre Dame winger Anders Bjork become pros. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says that Forsbacka-Karlsson has yet to make a “final decision” on his status for next season after BU’s elimination from the NCAA hockey tournament, and Bjork is readying for the Frozen Four this weekend along with the rest of his Fighting Irish teammates. The 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Terriers and posted 14 goals and 33 points in 38 games with a plus-11 rating, and has not given the Bruins any firm word on his plans for the immediate future. 

The urgency perhaps isn’t there for the Bruins to lock things up with Forsbacka-Karlsson right this second, because he wouldn’t be a factor for this year’s NHL team. 

Meanwhile the Bruins can’t do anything with the 20-year-old Bjork until at least the end of next weekend, but have been mightily impressed with a player that’s posted 21 goals and 52 points in 38 games for Notre Dame this season. Bjork had three assists in the game that propelled Notre Dame into the Frozen Four, and there would be a great deal of urgency for the Bruins to lock up a talented forward that might be able to help them right now. 

“I’ve been able to see [Bjork] a few times including the regional [in New Hampshire] last weekend, and he was outstanding. He played every other shift, he set up goals in the game and he’s had a really nice progression as a college player this season,” said Sweeney of the explosive Notre Dame junior, who was far and away the best player at B's development camp last summer. “They’ve done a fabulous job with their team, and hopefully they get to the Finals on Saturday against Harvard, and we get the best of both worlds seeing how our prospects play in the final game. He’s had a tremendous college career to this point, and we’re excited about his development.”

McAvoy is the front-burner issue for the Bruins at this point, but it would surprise exactly nobody if both Forsbacka-Karlsson and Bjork join him in Providence in the next couple of weeks as they wrap up their AHL season.