July 12, 2013

Bruins sign Bergeron to 8-year, $52 million extension

"We don't want to go anywhere else and so it was an easy decision for me and my family," the Bruins alternate captain says.

By Howard Ulman / The Associated Press

BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron was just 22 years old when a serious concussion jeopardized his career.

click image to enlarge

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron talks with reporters in the team locker room on July 2, 2013, in Boston. Bergeron played through multiple injuries including a broken rib, separated shoulder and hole in his lung during the Stanley Cup Championship.

AP

Now, less than two weeks before his 28th birthday, one of the NHL's best two-way forwards is under contract for the next nine seasons and hopes to retire with the only team he's played for, the Boston Bruins.

Bergeron signed an eight-year, $52 million extension Friday that starts once his current three-year, $15 million deal expires after next season.

"We don't want to go anywhere else and so it was an easy decision for me and my family," the Bruins alternate captain said in a conference call.

Bergeron's extension came two days after the Bruins re-signed goalie Tuukka Rask, a restricted free agent, to another eight-year contract. It's worth $56 million even though he just completed his first full season as the team's No. 1 goalie.

General manager Peter Chiarelli was eager to keep two core players who were instrumental in Boston's run to the Stanley Cup finals.

"We want to try and get these guys locked up," he said, "the pillars of the team."

Chiarelli acknowledged the danger in such long-term contracts, knowing that performance can diminish and injuries can increase.

"You accept a lot of the risks," he said, "but with a person of Patrice's character ... who we've closely monitored his recovery over the years — and it's not without risk. But Patrice is a terrific character guy and he's shown his resiliency. So we're comfortable with the risks."

Bergeron learned early how a promising career can be put in peril.

He was off to a strong start in 2007-08 with three goals and four assists in 10 games. But he didn't play again that season after sustaining a grade-three concussion and a broken nose when he was checked into the end-boards by Philadelphia defenseman Randy Jones.

Bergeron said he didn't think much then about how the concussion might affect his future.

"It never really crossed my mind at that time," he said. "I was really just trying to stay in the moment and try to get back on my feet and get good again. I wasn't really thinking about the future and long term."

Now he has one Stanley Cup championship, in 2011, and one bid that fell just two wins short when the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the title in six games on June 24.

The prospect of contending for another Cup was "a huge factor" in his decision to stay in Boston.

"You want to keep doing it, keep reliving the moment, the way that we felt in 2011 after winning the Cup. Those are the memories that you never forget," Bergeron said.

He was outstanding throughout his 22 playoff games, tying for the team lead with nine goals, including two winners in overtime.

The second-line center played the last game of the finals with a broken rib on the left side and a separated right shoulder. After that 3-2 loss, when Chicago came from behind with two goals in the last 1:16, he was hospitalized with a punctured lung. He was released two days later.

Doctors have told him he could resume working out on July 22, four weeks after the injury. He needs that time to heal from the procedure in which a hole was put in his ribcage to allow air out and let the lung re-inflate.

"It's really more of my lungs than anything else," Bergeron said. "My shoulder and my ribs are feeling better."

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

Clearing the Bases - Friday
Pitching, pitching, pitching

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos