Julien: 'You can never say enough' about Bergeron

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Julien: 'You can never say enough' about Bergeron

BOSTON -- There was little doubt Patrice Bergeron was going to insert himself into Saturdays win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The two-way center finished Bostons 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers with 21:02 of ice time, and was involved in nearly every game-winning play. He was winning one-on-one battles in all three zones and won 12-out-of-17 face-offs to keep the puck on his teams stick, and he created the teams second goal when he fed Tyler Seguin cutting toward the net.

Claude Julien was attempting to recognize the entire team for their group effort following the victory, but he couldnt help but credit Bergeron after the center managed four shots and a pair of blocked shots.

Its not fair to point out just one guy because Bergeron sticks out a little more because of what he brings to the team, and I think everybody did a pretty good job. But Bergie is one of those guys that, Ive said that numerous times, you can never say enough about the player, said Julien. You can never say enough about the person because hes great at both ends. Hes a real good team player, good person. You never see a negative thing come out of his mouth, and if he gets mad, hes mad at himself."

He demands a lot, and he expects a lot out of himself. I dont know that theres that may players that take as good of care of themselves off the ice as he does. He really cares about his job, and he wants to be the best every day. He comes to practice, and he wants to be the best guy on the ice on practice day; he wants to be the hardest-working guy, and those guys end up getting rewarded for that. Those guys stick out in times of need. You see them bring their A game to the table, and theyre always one of the best players on the ice.

But the true capper came in the shootout when Bergeron followed successful scoring shots from David Krejci and Tyler Seguin, and won the game for Boston with another successful shot over Ilya Bryzgalovs glove hand. The fact that hes done it all while playing through significant pain in his left knee made it all the more impressive.
Bergeron actually came up with the game-winning shootout attempt while firing stick-side after both Krejci and Seguin had luck going glove-side high on the Flyers goaltender in the shootout.

I asked David Krejci before and he said the blocker side wasnt open, but still when I went in I thought it was open. I was actually thinking about glove side when I was going in at first for the first couple of strides because they told me it was glove-side open, said Bergeron. But when I got in I thought he cheated more to his glove side maybe because he got beat there twice. I felt like the hole was on the blocker side so I went with it.

The Bruins coach is always fond of stating that his teams best players have to be at their best in the biggest games: Bergeron was that and then some as the Bruins finally broke free of their season-worst four-game losing funk.

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

There will be some that will absolutely crucify the Bruins for losing Colin Miller in Wednesday night’s expansion draft, and rail against an asset that was lost for nothing. Those people will also miss the absolutely essential point that the whole raison d’etre for an expansion draft is to remove assets from each of the 30 NHL teams, and do it without a cost for the benefit of the new franchise opening up shop in Las Vegas.

It could have been much worse for the Black and Gold as some teams were shipping first round picks to Vegas to shelter their own players from expansion selection, and other teams were losing essential players like James Neal, Marc Methot and David Perron from their respective rosters. The B’s didn’t entertain overpaying simply to avoid losing a useful player, and clearly, they did lose a talented, still undeveloped player in the 24-year-old Miller, who now may be flipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a side deal with Vegas.

But let’s be honest here. A whole lot of people are vastly overestimating a player in Miller that’s long on tools and very short on putting them together, and they’re also vastly underestimating Kevan Miller. The younger Miller can skate like the wind and has a bazooka of a shot when he winds up and fires his clapper at the net.

But despite those clear offensive talents, Colin had the same number of points as stay-at-home defenseman Kevan this season despite the bigger, stronger and older Miller playing three less games this season. Kevan also had more goals (five) and more points (18) than Colin did two years ago in his rookie season for Boston.

This isn’t to say that Colin doesn’t have more discernible offensive skill than Kevan when it comes to moving the puck or creating offense. He does, but all that talent hasn’t manifested into real points, real offense or anything else for the Black and Gold over the last couple of seasons. At a certain point, a prospect like Colin needs to put all the tools together into production on the ice if he wants to become the sum of his hockey parts, and that hasn’t happened in two full seasons in Boston.

Instead, Miller continues to struggle with decision-making with the puck, consistency and finding ways to turn the quality skating and shot package into any kind of playmaking on the ice. Miller had his challenges defensively and he was never going to be the most physical guy on the ice, but those could have been overlooked if he was lighting it up in the offensive zone on a regular basis.

Plain and simple that wasn’t happening, and over the last season 20-year-old Brandon Carlo and 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy passed Miller on the organizational depth chart for right shot defenseman, and either Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller would slot in as the third pairing D-man on the right side. It’s clear at this point that Colin Miller needs more time and patience if he’s ever going to develop as a late-blooming defenseman at the NHL level, and he wasn’t going to get those opportunities to develop in Boston.

So how good can Colin Miller really be if he was about to get buried on a Boston defensive depth chart without much hope of being in the starting six every night unless he was able to magically transform himself into a top-4 guy on the left side?

Clearly, there is risk here as Miller could move on to Toronto, develop into the player that posted 19 goals and 52 points in the AHL a couple of seasons ago and torment the Bruins for the next five-plus years. It would become another arrow in the quiver of those critics looking to hammer GM Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely at every turn, and it would generate massive “Why can’t we get players like that?” homages to the legendary Bob Lobel all across New England.    

But there’s just as good a chance that Kevan Miller will still be throwing hits and soaking up heavy minutes of ice time for the Bruins three years down the road, and that Colin Miller will be out of the league after never harnessing together his considerable talent. Perhaps Sweeney could have been better about securing an asset for Miller ahead of the expansion draft if he knew he was going to lose that player for nothing to Vegas.

The bottom line is that the Bruins were going to lose somebody to Las Vegas in the expansion draft, and the Golden Knights weren’t going to do them any favors by taking on misfit toys like Jimmy Hayes, Malcolm Subban or Matt Beleskey. They did instead lose a player with plenty of raw talent in Colin Miller, but it’s not exactly somebody that’s going to be missed in Boston once Carlo and McAvoy start showing just how bright the B’s future is on the back end starting next season.