By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is an absolute treasure.
Now, there's a 99.9999 percent chance that you already knew that. From playing through almost every injury imaginable to leading the Bruins as the best two-way center in hockey, Bergeron is in true rarified air when it comes to Boston Hockey.
I mean, he's Patrice Bergeron. But we now have another reason to admire Bergeron, and it comes back to how he handles his communication with the organization's next wave of NHLers, specifically when they're handed the disappointment of not making the NHL squad.
Asked Bergeron today about prospects who are disappointed not to make varsity roster. He makes sure they all have his cell ## and connects with them if they want his counsel.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) September 30, 2019
"That's always something I try to do for them and be there," Bergeron said following Monday's practice at Warrior Ice Arena (courtesy of the B's website). "I've always said that. They have my cellphone. They can reach me at any time if they have questions. It's not always easy, especially at a young age to come in this league and having to go through the process of being up and down and having to develop as a player, but also as a person."
But this isn't a new thing Bergeron has worked into his leadership game. In fact, Gemel Smith, who was with the Big B's for a hot minute last season following a waiver claim from the Stars and is now with the Lightning organization, talked about how Bergeron helped him as a person during a dark period in his life last season.
Smith eventually did seek help, and that’s probably what saved his career. It’s why Smith is here now, as the relentless puck-hound is making a strong case to crack the Lightning’s opening-night roster. Before he got sent down by the Bruins on Dec. 18, Smith got a tip from star Patrice Bergeron, who suggested he reach out to renowned sports psychologist Max Offenberger. Offenberger, the Bruins’ team psychologist, has worked with athletes from many sports, including the Maple Leafs’ Jason Spezza and the late Ray Emery.
“This is a real common thing,” Bergeron told Smith.
Bergeron knew Smith for all of a few days, and still went out of his way to do what he could to steer Smith to comfort.
Patrice Bergeron Forever.