BOSTON — Patrice Bergeron’s contributions in his team’s 6-3 home-opening win over the Ottawa Senators were many. Bergeron notched his fourth career hat trick to go with an assist.
But Bergy’s impact extends far beyond his efforts during Monday’s matinee against Ottawa. Bergeron’s leadership and dedication to maximum effort two-way hockey has already helped linemate Brad Marchand become not only a superstar but a key leader on the Bruins. And as head coach Bruce Cassidy pointed out, Bergeron’s been having the same effect on his other linemate David Pastrnak.
Pastrnak had a four-point game as well with two goals and two assists but Cassidy was more impressed with the complete game his 22-year old budding superstar has been playing and the leadership qualities he’s now displaying thanks to being around Bergeron so much.
“Well, you know Bergy’s [Patrice Bergeron] going to lead. He’s been around this league a long time,” Cassidy said. “Marchy’s [Brad Marchand] growing into that. The guy that’s become more of a leader is Pasta [David Pastrnak] in his all-around game. He’s very responsible.
Pastrnak was party to a bad gaffe when the B’s sent out his line but he remained on teh bench. But his coach Bruce Cassidy took the bullet for that one.
“We’ll omit the line change like I said I’ll take the hit for that, but the other night he had a great back-check early in Buffalo to break up a scoring chance. Things like that he’s doing more of. Getting scored on matters to him more, and I think as you get in the league as a young guy – especially wingers – they’re thinking about scoring a lot, and that’s the mentality we need to bring.”
Cassidy now sees that leadership trickling down go other players as well.
“I see it with Jake [DeBrusk] more now, Danton [Heinen] last year, and now we need to bring it more into [Ryan] Donato’s game and [Anders] Bjork’s game,” Cassidy pointed out. “And they’re going to watch a guy like Pasta because that’s who they’d like to be in a couple of years, a guy that can score on a regular basis but watch him play the 200-foot game and the trust he’s earned from a coach and his teammates. So, that’s the one that I’ve noticed the biggest improvement.”
As mentioned above, Marchand has also been a beneficiary of Bergeron’s play and leadership. Playing alongside Bergeron has helped turn him into one of the best two way players in the game. Marchand now sees Bergeron’s wisdom and leadership rubbing off on Pastrnak now.
“That’s what you get when you put him with a guy like Bergeron who is hard on his linemates and expects guys to be accountable,” Marchand said. “You know, we play hard minutes against top lines and you can’t slack off against them, so you’re starting to see that in his game – the backchecking, and the defensive side of things, even his positioning in the neutral zone, offensive zone. You know, when you add that with Pasta’s playmaking ability, he’s a special player.”
Bergeron feels the same way about Pastrnak and couldn’t be more thrilled with the emphasis the Czech winger now puts on his defensive game.
“Those are small details that go a long way,” Bergeron said of Pastrnak. “That back-check in Buffalo could have changed the whole momentum of the game you know. To clear a clean two-on-one and comes out of nowhere. So that’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed by us and he’s making those little details on a regular basis and we’re not surprised to see him do that. He’s learning a lot.”
Pastrnak has been more than happy to be a sponge absorbing all that the future hall of famer passes along on and off the ice.
“Just making the right decisions around the ice and going back and playing good on defense,” Pastrnak said Of his linemate’s influence. “Obviously that’s my biggest weakness and I’ve been working on that, playing with great players like Bergy [Patrice Bergeron], a Selke winner. So I have a lot to learn from him and he’s helped me a lot on the D-zone and I feel way more comfortable in the D-zone with the puck and can see the right plays coming in my head. There will be breakdowns, but so far I’m happy.”
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