October 8, 2010

Cup-Aspiring Bruins Ink Bergeron to Three-Year Extension

News of the Boston Bruins signing Patrice Bergeron to a three-year contract extension went somewhat ignored in the early morning, with the NHL season’s first few games coming to an end on the same night. However, there is little else that is as deserving of fans’ attention, considering the significance of the move.

Certainly there is Edmonton Oiler Jordan Eberle’s incredible goal from last night that sticks out like a sore thumb in a sea middle fingers, which, as it happens, is exactly what the Calgary Flames got care of Edmonton fans in the 4-0 home-team win at Rexall Place. There’s also Philadelphia Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who led his team to a 3-2 win over their state rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, proving in the process the Flyers just may not need a big-name netminder to be a legitimate contender after all. Of course, it would help matters if the name of that netminder evoked respect rather than thoughts of a ballet dancer doing pirouettes in the crease.

However, the signing of Bergeron provides the Bruins with the kind of long-term stability those potentially one-night wonders can only hope to replicate over the lengths of their respective careers. Bergeron will never be a legitimate number-one center, making his $5 million price tag a bit of an overpayment, but, with inflation what it is, especially in the NHL, where a certain 42-year-old fourth-liner will be making $4 million per year with the New Jersey Devils in 2025, this deal can certainly be forgiven.

"Do I want to make an average of $5 million in each of the next three years? I don't know..."

The deal is made all the more important considering the uncertainty surrounding Marc Savard, his health, his overbearing long-term contract with seven years remaining, and his ultimate desire to stay with the Bruins after it became a very well-known secret that he was about as wanted in Boston as Yale graduate George W. Bush trying to educate Bostonians on the proper way to enunciate.

Bergeron, who made it into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003, was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Now the Bruins are set at center well into the foreseeable future with or without Savard, with the 24-year-old David Krejci set to only become a restricted free agent at the end of the next year, and Tyler Seguin waiting in the wings for greater offensive responsibility. Prospect Joe Colborne is seemingly also destined for greatness at center, making the Bruins very rich indeed at the position in question.

The Bruins also have similar amounts of depth to go around their entire line-up, making them a favourite to at least enter the playoffs as a Stanley Cup favourite. Thanks to this extension, they will likely remain one for years to come.

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