While rumors were already starting to swirl about a possible stay with the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron quickly dismissed the possibility on Monday.
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“No,” simply replied the 36-year-old veteran, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, when a journalist asked him during the end-of-season report if he saw himself playing elsewhere than in Boston. . So, it will be retirement or the Bruins for the four-time Selke Trophy winner.
It was Bergeron himself, somewhat in spite of himself, who opened the door to speculation. Saturday after the 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes which eliminated his Bruins in seven games, the Quebecer took the time to hug all his teammates on the ice at the PNC Arena. A few moments later, he hinted that a period of reflection will be necessary before deciding on his future.
"It's still too early right now," he said. It's still too cold."
Bergeron was praised once again on Monday, this time by Chris Wagner. The latter had a difficult season, but he believes that Bergeron greatly helped him to react well in the circumstances in order to be the best point guard possible.
After 358 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) with several different teams, Wagner was unable to keep his place in the Bruins' defensive squad, so he was cut early in the campaign.
Frustrated, he however received the support of Bergeron, who contacted him frequently to hear from him, and he did not hide that he was inspired by the actions of his teammate.
"He probably texted me once a month just to check in on me," Wagner said of Bergeron. I think you have to do that with the younger players. It's one thing to be in the arena, but you can experience difficult things outside.
“I think he does a good job with that. He doesn't pretend at all, he actually cares about everyone. That's one thing I want to take away from him."
Thus, Wagner took advantage of the encouragement of Bergeron, but also of his entourage, so that he totaled 15 goals and 27 points in 62 games with the Bruins of Providence. He did enough to earn an audition with the big club at the end of the season while the regulars rested, and he took the chance.
He now hopes that his good times at the end of the season will continue this fall. He will prepare with a view to landing a regular position in the team and he wants to be able to do it alongside Bergeron.
"It would be very sad for me [if he left], because I've been watching him since I was 14. Then I played with him, so I really hope he comes back."
The Boston Bruins have granted a two-year contract extension to defenseman Jakub Zboril, whose compensation will account for $1.137 million annually on the organization's payroll.
The 25-year-old hockey player made $725,000 this year and could have enjoyed full autonomy this summer. During the regular season, he had three assists in 10 games with the big club, having undergone surgery on December 2 for a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
A former Saint John Sea Dogs member of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Zboril played in 54 National League games in his career.
The Bruins suffered elimination following a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the seventh game of their series on Saturday.