Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Mar 28, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) eyes a loose puck against the Nashville Predators during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s your latest reminder that professional hockey players are a different breed.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron showed up to his locker for his postgame media scrum with five fresh stitches in his right ear, thanks to taking a second cheap shot in three games on Thursday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Bergeron took a crosscheck up high from the Jackets’ Lane Pederson, which caused Bergeron’s own stick to snap back and cut his ear open at the base of where it connects to the side of his head.

Most mortal humans would probably need to take the rest of the night to rest after that. Some aspirin, perhaps. But not Bergeron. The captain got stitched up and kept playing. Channeled his inner Mick Foley. Pretty standard NHL stuff, but always a sight to behold when you see it up close.

  • Pederson was originally assessed a five-minute major penalty, but officials reduced it to a two-minute minor after review, in light of the fact that Bergeron’s own stick caused the bloodshed. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said they “got it right” after the game.

    But it was still a high crosscheck to the captain. Fans weren’t happy, and neither were the Bruins themselves. So they decided to teach Columbus the hard way not to take shots at the captain.

    Pederson answered the bell, squaring off with Trent Frederic right off a faceoff later in the game, and got dropped with one punch. Efficient.

  • “We always say that we’re there for one another,” Bergeron said. “Obviously it means a lot for him [Frederic] to do that after that play.”

    “There’s a lot of guys that would do that for Bergy and pretty much anyone on the team,” Frederic said. “It just had to be my turn.”

    The original spark really came from Jakub Lauko, who scrapped with the Jackets’ Billy Sweezey in the second period when the Bruins were still down one goal. Five minutes later, the B’s cashed in on the very power play they got off the Bergeron-Pederson incident.

  • Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) celebrates with center David Krejci (46) center Pavel Zacha (18) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 30, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (59) celebrates with center David Krejci (46) center Pavel Zacha (18) and defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

  • It had been about four and a half periods of subpar hockey against vastly inferior competition, but the second period restored the Bruins to the wildly entertaining brand of hockey they’ve played for most of the 2022-23 season. They’re still not playing at the level they’d like to be at heading into the playoffs, but Thursday night felt like a possible awakening.

    Not ideal that their captain has to keep taking cheap shots for things to ramp up. But Bergeron leads by example as well as any player of his era, and he said all that needed to be said by getting his stitches, getting back to the bench and going on with the game.

    It won’t be the last nick, cut, bruise or bump the Bruins take this season. What matters is they protect each other. They provided another strong example of that on Thursday.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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