Reality Check: Patrice Bergeron’s Retirement Leaves Boston Bruins With Unanswered Questions
On Tuesday morning, the Boston Bruins shared a heartfelt post written by their longtime centerman, captain, and great, Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron started his note by detailing just how lucky he's felt being able to lace up his skates for twenty years for the Bruins and for his home nation of Canada. He followed that with a simple paragraph:
"It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player"
With that, the Boston Bruins and their fans will have to move on from one of the greatest players in franchise history. Bergeron was never flashy, just consistent. He spent most of his career on the ice, on the Bruins first line, scoring points, playing defense, and leading without fanfare.
Bergeron's departure from professional hockey is bittersweet. The Bruins had a record-breaking regular season last year, only to flounder in the playoffs. The Bruins front office, helmed by former players Cam Neely and Don Sweeney, seemed to understand the nature of the season and pushed the chips all in. The results were unquestionably disappointing.
Now, the Bruins face an identity crisis. Bergeron's departure leaves the Bruins severely shorthanded at center. The Bruins operated during this offseason as though they hoped for a Bergeron return. With that off the table, the B's will have to name a new captain for the team. The Bruins will also be looking for a stabilizing force both on and off the ice.
The Bruins are likely to see what they have for the first few months of the coming season. Don't be surprised if Bergeron's retirement has a domino effect when it comes to player movement. Players like Charlie Coyle and Brad Marchand could be entering their final season in a Bruins sweater as well.
Eventually, number 37 will make its way into the rafters of TD Garden, and Patrice Bergeron will almost assuredly be humble while accepting the honor. For the Bruins, a new era is upon the franchise, whether they are ready or not.