Patrice Bergeron, who recently won his sixth Selke Award as the top defensive forward in the NHL, announced his retirement with a message from the heart on the message from the heart on the Boston Bruins website.
There had been speculation that Bergeron, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Monday, would not return to the Bruins but after scoring 27 goals and helping Boston to their best regular season in franchise history, there was still some hanging onto hope he would return.
“For the last 20 years, I have been able to live my dream every day,” Bergeron wrote on the Bruins’ site.
“I have had the honor of playing in front of the best fans in the world, wearing the Bruins uniform, and representing my country at the highest levels of international play. I have given the game everything that I have physically and emotionally, and the game has given me back more than I could have ever imagined.
“It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player.
“As hard as it is to write, I also write it knowing how blessed and lucky I feel to have had the career that I have had and that I have the opportunity to leave the game I love on my terms. It wasn’t a decision that I came to lightly. But after listening to my body and talking with my family, I know in my heart that this is the right time to step away from playing the game I love.”
Bergeron, who has served as Boston’s captain the past three seasons, was originally a second-round pick of the Bs in 2003 and ends with 1,294 career games with 427 goals and 1,040 points.
He also had 50 goals and 128 points in 170 Stanley Cup playoff games — being part of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship and a total of three Boston teams which reached the Final.
A Hall of Fame career ended on April 30 in a 4-3 loss to the Panthers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Bergeron missed the first four games of that series against the Panthers due to an injury he aggravated in a game at Montreal — his last game, it turns out, in his hometown.
He ended up scoring a goal in Game 5 upon his return but that was the only point he recorded in the series.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Eetu Luostarinen will remain with the Panthers for the next four years after signing a three-year contract extension worth $3 million annually on Tuesday.
Luostarinen, who is signed for $1.5 million this coming season, will be an unrestricted free agent following the end of this deal.
— Sportnet.ca came out with its mid-summer power rankings and do not have the Panthers in their top 10. Where are they? Not far from No. 10.
— Vladimir Tarasenko is still available as a free agent and there have been some rumblings the Panthers be tempted in trying to sign the talented winger.
— One year ago, the Panthers pulled off a mid-summer blockbuster by sending Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to Calgary in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk. Not a bad first year.
— Aleksi Heponiemi will not be playing for the Panthers this season — or the Charlotte Checkers, either — after signing a one-year deal in Switzerland.
— Oliver Ekman-Larsson says he is healthy after breaking his foot twice in the past year and he will be walking into a great opportunity with the Panthers.
— Ryan Lomberg says his broken thumb, the one which needed surgery during the opening round against the Bruins, is all healed and he is ready for camp to get going.
NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Bergeron has had a number of great moments with the Boston Bruins — and here are five of his finest.
— Sidney Crosby had some very nice things to say about Bergeron upon news of his retirement.
— By the way, say hello to Carolina Hockey Now!
— A lot of teams are looking forward to 2024 when it comes to the salary cap, but the Detroit Red Wings should be set up real nice.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- Now: Free agency period is open
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Sept. 25: Preseason starts; Doubleheader v. Nashville @ Sunrise
- Oct. 7: Preseason ends; v. Tampa Bay Lightning @ Sunrise
- Oct. 12: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season at Minnesota Wild
- Oct. 19: 2023-24 Home Opener vs. Toronto Maple Leafs