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Theory: Vancouver Canucks Fans Can’t Hate Bergeron

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Is it possible for hockey fans in British Columbia to like a guy who scored a Stanley Cup winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks? I say yes.

Then again, I’m a bit biased, having gotten to know Patrice Bergeron a bit over the years and in full appreciation of his personality, approach, and demeanour. He gave VHN a little exclusive one-on-one interview during Boston’s Covid affected visit back in December. In fact, he and a handful of teammates tested positive not long after leaving Vancouver.

{The video above is from part of a tour with Bergeron of his hometown back when he was 21}

This is a guy you want your kid, hockey player or not, to exemplify. Work ethic, kindness, humility. Not a bad starting point.

Announced Monday morning, Bergeron re-signed with the Boston Bruins for one season with a $2.5-million base salary and another $2.5-million in performance incentives.

Also announced, 2nd-line centre David Krejci has returned from a year in his native Czech Republic to play a season in Boston for $1-million plus incentives.

On June 15, 2011, Bergeron scored the Cup winner at 14:37 of the first period in Boston’s 4-0 win in Game-7. He added a short handed goal in the 2nd period. {Yes, you smell a little trivia question coming on … who were the other two players to score Stanley Cup winning goals against the Vancouver Canucks? (answer at bottom)}

This would make him, shall we say, not a popular character. Yet, he’s not the guy to hate. Like Henrik and Daniel Sedin of the Canucks at the time, he wasn’t a villain, their only crime was to score timely, skilled goals. Brad Marchand and Alex Burrows they were not, as in ‘shift’ disturbers.

And like any Cup Final, especially those that go six or seven games, there was plenty of hatred. It led to a remarkable rivalry, 25-hundred miles or four thousand kilometres apart that still lingers today.

Like the Sedins, Bergeron will be a first ballot Hockey Hall-of-Famer. He presently has exactly 400 regular season NHL goals and is 18 short of 1,000 career points. He’s a record five-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward and is one of thirty members of the “Triple Gold Club”, players who have won a Cup, a World Championship, and an Olympic Gold Medal, of which he has two.

So I reckon BC’ers could hate ’em, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. As Canadians, Vancouver Canucks fans, Montreal Canadiens fans (a team he despised as a kid), and Toronto Maple Leafs fans all have good reason to appreciate Patrice Bergeron, all while still hating his teammates and the spoked-B.

Just sayin’.

{Answer: Mark Messier scored the Cup winner for the New York Rangers in 1994 at MSG in Game-7 at the 13:29 mark of the 2nd period. Mike Bossy scored the Cup winner in 1982 at the 5:00 mark of the 2nd period of Game-4 for the New York Islanders}

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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