When Patrice Bergeron signed his new, team-friendly $52-million deal – one that will keep him in Boston until the 2021-2022 season – there was one particular thought in his mind.
“I want to retire as a Bruin,” Bergeron said on a conference call announcing the deal on Friday.
And the Bruins seem ready to make that happen.
“He embodies a lot of what the Bruins stand for,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “He’s a responsible player. He’s a hard player. He’s a leader. He’s a clutch player. And he’s just got a kind of classic way of carrying himself that I like to be part of and the Bruins like to be part of.”
Chiarelli admitted that Bergeron could have gotten more money had he gone on the open market. But he didn’t, deciding that staying in Boston – and still getting a contract that will pay him an average of $6.5 million per year – was more important than getting every last dollar.
“We love the organization, we also love the city,” Bergeron said. “It really feels like home now. We don’t want to go anywhere else. So it was an easy decision for me and my family.”
It was the same thought he expressed before he signed his last deal, a three-year, $15-million pact that was set to expire after the 2013-2014 season.
“There wasn’t any question that he would be able to get more on the open market here,” Chiarelli said. “So Patrice really helped us in the team building aspect too. I give a lot of credit to him because he sees what we’re trying to do here and the AAV is nice for team building and it’s something that helps us in future years.”
For now, Bergeron is restricted in his activities as he recovers from injuries he suffered during the Stanley Cup Final. Monday marks three weeks from Game 6, when he sustained a punctured lung and separated shoulder. Bergeron has been told by doctors not to get his heart rate up for four weeks because of the collapsed lung. He plans to start working out again at the end of next week, and expects to be ready for training camp.
“It’s more about the lung and making sure,” Bergeron said. “They put a hole through my rib cage to I guess get the air out and make sure that my lung was going back to its place and staying there.
“So now the four weeks is to make sure that everything heals and that it doesn’t collapse again. So it’s more for my lung than anything else. My shoulder and my ribs are feeling better. It’s still not 100 percent obviously.”