Thursday, January 7, 2021

Bruins Preview: Patrice Bergeron Jersey Card

This will likely be the preface to all of this year's Season Preview posts: 2020 is a different beast and requires adaptability; in my case, it means the joint posts with my "main/personal" blog will not be in the "player here/analysis there" format but rather the entire scope of the analysis will take place here and the player will have some sort of direct connection to what's written. Caveats: at this point, despite the season being set to start in Mid-January, several impact players haven't found a team yet and quite a few teams are currently above the salary cap, which means there is much maneuvering left to do.

One team that saw its situation get more problematic with the realignment this year is the Boston Bruins, who go from being one of two powerhouse teams in the Atlantic with the Tampa Bay Lightning and be nearly assured of at least one round of home ice advantage in the playoffs to joining the Metropolitan with perennial division winners Washington Capitals, contenders Philadelphia Flyers, the NHL's best-coached team (the New York Islanders), recent two-time Stanley Cup winners Pittsburgh Penguins, two teams that are nearing the end of their rebuilds in the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres, and the New Jersey Devils. With Brad Marchand possibly still suffering from a serious injury to some extent and Rocket Richard Trophy co-winner David Pastrnak set to miss six weeks (i.e. close to half the season), the Bs will be fighting for their spot all year.

What makes their odds look good:
They still have the best goaltending duo in the league in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, for starters, so regardless of the team in front of them, they will always be in the game; Patrice Bergeron is still a two-way wonder, the middle-six is a solid if unimpressive blue collar-type of mix that always seems to fare well in Boston, and Bruce Cassidy has done a masterful job since taking over behind the bench in 2017.

Question marks:
With Bergeron still on board, I don't really fear a leadership "void" with the absence of Zdeno Chara on the blue line, as the giant's role had diminshed a lot in recent years with the steady play of Torey Krug and the rise of Charlie McAvoy, but don't sleep on Brandon Carlo, who is effective when on his game. Still, this is a defense that compares more with that of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets than the Flyers'. And Pastrnak's goals will be hard to replace.

The Flyers and Capitals are in a zone of their own, the Devils are a mess, theSabres' goaltending will sink them, the Rangers are clmbing and Pens are falling, which leaves the Bruins and Isles as the above average teams that should make the playoffs. But missing them and obtaining a high draft pick in a contract year for Rask that would bring his value down and getting back at it next year while essentially riding Pastrnak's injury out wouldn't be the end of the world, either.

Fourth in the Metro.

What was the sense since 2006 until concussion issues derailed his early career and Chara took the actual "C" actually came to fruition today when Bergeron was named the team's 20th captain, and only the fourth Quebecer to earn the title after Sprague Cleghorn (1925-27), Léo Boivin (1963-1966) and Ray Bourque (1985-2000). Here he is wearing the Bruins' white jersey on card #TS-BE from Upper Deck's 2012-13 Artifacts collection and Treasured Swatched sub-set:
It features two matching game-worn jersey swatches. I got it in a trade a couple of years ago.

At this point, Bergeron is tied with Bob Gainey with four career Selke trophies, the award for best defensive forward. He looks poised for a Hall Of Fame nod at the end of his career.

No comments:

Post a Comment