Bergeron signs with HC Lugano of Swiss League

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Bergeron signs with HC Lugano of Swiss League

Its officially a mass exodus of Boston Bruins to the European hockey leagues. Just hours after it was confirmed that team captain Zdeno Chara was headed to the KHL, CSNNE.com has confirmed that Patrice Bergeron has signed on with HC Lugano of the Swiss League on Tuesday afternoon. The team's web site had the initial report.

According to Chris Johnson of the Canadian Press, a portion of Bergerons salary will be funded outside the team and is likely going toward the sizable insurance policy needed to play overseas.

Bergeron will be reunited in Switzerland with former Bs teammate Glen Metropolit, who is tied for the team lead on Lugano in points scored. He'll leave the states on Friday, and is set to play fellow Bruins teammate Tyler Seguin, also playing in the Swiss League, on October 20.

Bergerons agent, Kent Hughes, had indicated to CSNNE.com over a week ago that Switzerland was the leading suitor for the Bs alternate captains services. But Bergeron waited to play in the opening game of the Quebec Caravan League last week in a match that pitted the hockey stars of Montreal vs. Quebec City, and then opted for a Swiss League that will pit him against linemate Tyler Seguin.

Its standard operating procedure in Europe for teams to hit up local companies or the ticket purchasing fans for additional funds if theres a certain standout player the team is interested in acquiring. Bergeron is the seventh Bruins player to sign a European contract joining Chara, Tyler Seguin, Andrew Ference, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin overseas while the NHL sits in neutral due to the lockout.

Like all of his Bruins teammates, Bergeron has an out clause in his contract with HC Lugano that will allow him to return to Boston ifwhen the NHL lockout ends and the regular season begins.

Lugano's web site also indicated that Bergeron will be reporting to Switzerland for duty in the coming days.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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