For nearly two decades, the Bruins could count on having Patrice Bergeron as one of their top-two options at center.
That changes this season.
As Boston enters into the 2023-24 campaign, it does so without the services of their longtime center and captain. Bergeron announced his retirement from hockey over the summer, electing to hang up the skates after 19 seasons in the league, all with the Bruins.
The Quebec native is a future Hall of Famer, retiring as not only one of the greatest Bruins ever, but arguably the greatest two-way forward in NHL history. Bergeron is the all-time Selke Trophy winner, coming off his record sixth win in 2023.
Bergeron finishes his career with 1,294 games played while recording 427 goals and 1,040 points. He also has a Stanley Cup to his name, helping the Bruins defeat the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
With no Bergeron, it leaves a hole on the top line for the Bruins. Boston utilized a number of combinations during the preseason, rotating Pavel Zacha, Charlie Coyle and rookie Matthew Poitras into the center role while flanked by Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on the wings.
The Sporting News explains why Bergeron decided to retire this season.
Why did Patrice Bergeron retire?
The decision to retire was not one that Bergeron took lightly. As a free agent this past summer, he originally said that he would make his choice before July 1, the first day of free agency.
However, that date came and went with nothing from Bergeron. It wasn’t until three weeks later that he made the announcement that he was retiring.
Bergeron stated that the main reason for calling it quits was the toll it was taking on his body. At the end of the 2023 playoffs, it was revealed that the Bruins center had a herniated disk in his back, which caused him to miss part of the postseason. While he was still performing at a high level on the ice, Bergeron said the preparation for games was slipping.
“It was taking a lot longer now,” I couldn’t just put the equipment on and jump on the ice,” Bergeron said.
You couldn’t tell anything was bothering Bergeron by his play. He won the Selke Trophy, given to the league’s best defensive forward, for the second consecutive season, giving the center a record six total in his career.
“I wanted to play the game at the highest level that I could, and felt like I wanted to kind of leave on top of my game,” Bergeron said. “I just knew it was time.”
How old is Patrice Bergeron?
Bergeron turned 38 years old over the summer. He was born on July 24, 1985.
Who is the Bruins’ new captain?
With Bergeron hanging up the skates, the Bruins named a new captain heading into this season.
Brad Marchand was named the 27th captain in team history in September. The winger has spent all 15 years in the NHL with the Bruins. He had worn an “A” for a number of seasons in Boston, making it a fairly easy choice for the organization.
“I am extremely proud of Brad and the hockey player he has become,” Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said in a statement. “Brad has been a Bruin for over 15 years and had the opportunity to learn from great leaders in Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. He is ready for this opportunity and our whole team will learn from his competitive nature and tenacity. I am confident he will represent our organization with heart and grit.”