Brad Marchand explains why Patrice Bergeron is NHL's best leader 'by far'

Marchand explains why Bergeron is 'best leader in the NHL by far' originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron will play through difficult injuries in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and this season provided yet another example.

The veteran center missed the first four games of his team's first-round series against the Florida Panthers because of a herniated disc. He returned to the lineup for Game 5 and played through the injury the rest of the series, which ended in a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 7.

Scroll to continue with content

Bruins roster reset: List of 2023 free agents, salary cap update

Bergeron displays leadership in many ways, whether it's communicating with teammates, his strong work ethic, playing a complete two-way game, etc. He also does it by showing a willingness to fight through physical pain to help the team achieve its goals at the most important time of the season.

“Yeah, I mean, he’s such a special player," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said Tuesday during the team's breakup day, when asked about Bergeron's herniated disc injury. "... I mean, you hear that over and over about Bergy, the way that he plays through different injuries and ones that guys would be out for months for. That’s part of why everyone has so much respect for him, and everyone loves him so much, is because he’s the most selfless guy to ever walk through this room and everything he does is for the betterment of the group.

"He sacrifices so much of his body and years of his life to help other guys achieve success, and try to build something special here. He’s the kind of leader that is born, you can’t teach it. Once in a generation, the best leader in the NHL by far. To have a guy like that, and watch him continually play through the pain where most people can’t function -- it’s pretty impressive. And guys rally behind that, so it’s tough to see him struggle through it, but again, it’s another reason why he’s a legend."


Disastrous end to Bruins' 2022-23 season will haunt the franchise forever

Perhaps the best example of Bergeron's toughness came during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks when he played through torn rib cartilage, a broken rib, a separated shoulder and a punctured lung. Just one of those injuries would've kept many players out of the lineup.

Bergeron's future with the franchise is uncertain. He is 37 years old and his contract will soon expire. He has played 19 seasons in the NHL for a total of 1,464 games including the playoffs. When asked about his future, Bergeron reiterated Tuesday that he will take some time and talk with his family before making a final decision.

It would obviously benefit the Bruins tremendously if he comes back for another season. In addition to being a world-class leader, he's still an elite center despite having played almost two decades.