Bergeron Reflects on Decision to Play Final Game Despite Outcome

Published August 30, 2023 at 9:51

Patrice Bergeron had a feeling last summer that the 2022-23 season might bring his storied career to a close. Over 81 games, it became not only a memorable ending but a historic one, with the Bruins setting new NHL records for wins and points.

However, things didn't wrap up as Bergeron and the Bruins had hoped. A herniated disk from the final regular-season game in Montreal kept Bergeron out for four playoff matches. Ultimately, the Bruins bowed out to the Florida Panthers in a hard-fought seven-game series during the opening round.

Recently, on The Greg Hill Show as part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance, Bergeron was asked if he'd make the same decision to play in that pivotal game against the Canadiens if given another chance.

"Absolutely, I would," Bergeron confirmed. "There's this idea that I played because it was Montreal. Whether against Philly or any other team, the plan was for the entire roster to be on the ice. Coach Montgomery had that strategy from the start. I'd taken four games off earlier to recover physically. It wasn't about one injury. I was in good shape. Hindsight is clear. Naturally, you wouldn't play if you knew the outcome.

"Analyzing things afterward is easy, but at that moment, I was fit. As a team, having the full roster on the ice to prep for playoffs was vital. That's what happened. It's unfortunate, but I couldn't have done anything differently. No warning signs indicated an injury before the game."

Bergeron acknowledged that the Bruins' surprising exit in the opening round gave him pause about his retirement decision. It wasn't the ending he had in mind. However, he remained convinced that he had made the right call.

"Throughout the season, various factors led me to that decision," Bergeron said. "But ending the regular season with the best record ever, you're optimistic for the playoffs. Obviously, the ending was disappointing for everyone, especially us players who went through it.

"So, for a while, I had doubts. Yet, there were too many signs. Health comes first, considering all the games and years. It all led to the right choice for me and my family, to retire. I'd love to play forever, but I find peace in my decision. I know it's best for me."

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August 30   |   147 answers
Bergeron Reflects on Decision to Play Final Game Despite Outcome

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