It’s time to really appreciate Patrice Bergeron. … Or lose it?

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron is not just a hockey icon, but a sports icon and it’s time the Boston sports landscape recognized him more than they did because they might be running out of time.

The Boston Bruins captain scored twice on Sunday night in a 5-3 win for the Bruins over bitter rivals the Montreal Canadiens after a moving and incredible tribute to the Canadiens legend and hall of famer. Guy Lafleur who died of cancer last Friday.

Patrice Bergeron is expected to be an unrestricted free agent in July, and while it may seem obvious that he will sign a one-year contract with the Boston Bruins or retire a Bruin, there is that small chance, the The 36-year-old former future Hockey Hall of Famer could test the market if his teammates don’t help him pursue another serious run for his second Stanley Cup in the next two months.

Multiple sources have told Boston Hockey Now that if Bergeron reaches NHL free agency on July 13, obviously a plethora of teams will be chasing him and leading the way will be the Montreal Canadiens. Bergeron’s longtime agent, Kent Hughes, was named general manager of the Montreal Canadiens in January. Previously, the Canadiens hired former Boston Bruins interim general manager and assistant Jeff Gorton as executive vice-president of hockey operations.

The reading here is that Bergeron, who is as loyal and as classy as it gets, would never go to the dark side and sign with the hated Habs, but could you blame him if he gives it one more ride with a legitimate Stanley Cup contender – something the Bruins may not be in future seasons – only to end his career with a sip of Lord Stanley?

Lafleur ended his legendary career with the team Bergeron grew up with, the Quebec Nordiques, in 1991 and it was only fitting that Bergeron, a native of L’Ancienne-Lorette, a suburb of Quebec, would be the shining star. of a night dedicated to ‘La Fleur’.

Before that incredible moment above and his clutch performance, Bergeron expressed his appreciation for a legend he never saw play but saw many highlights of his growth. As a childhood Nordiques fan, Bergeron didn’t care too much about the “Habitants”, but he understood the greatness of Lafleur and what he meant not only to the game, but also to the province and the culture of the Quebec.

“He finished his career in Quebec with the Nordiques and that’s kind of what I remember,” Bergeron said of Lafleur, who will be honored with a state funeral May 3-4 at the Bell Centre. “I was too young to remember his days in Montreal. But I remember his last game in the NHL in Quebec and the ceremony in Quebec. It’s vague in my memories but I still remember it. He was my dad’s favorite player growing up.

So I heard a lot about him when I was playing hockey and some of the stories, some of the things he was able to do in his career. He was an icon and someone who was, whether you were a Nordiques fan or a Montreal Canadiens fan, it didn’t matter. He was an icon. He was someone who was hugely respected across the province and I think in Canada as well, so it didn’t matter that he was on the other side of the rivalry.

Bergeron went on to praise Lafleur not just for the hockey player he was, but for the man he became and eventually the building block of the Montreal and Quebec community.

“The sport of hockey in Quebec and Canada has a huge impact on the lives of many people,” said Bergeron. “I think it makes a difference. It helps people deal with different things in their respective lives. I think what Guy and some of the other Montreal greats, the Beliveaus and the Richards, I think the impact they’ve had beyond the game of hockey, being able to connect with people and the community , left a mark obviously and it’s something people remember.

Although too many people may not realize it, Bergeron did the same not only in the Boston hockey community, but in the community as a whole. Like Lafleur, he never said no to an autograph request, but more importantly to any charity the Bruins brought him and his own charity program,’Patrick’s friends

Bergeron is now fourth in goals (397), assists (578) and points with 973 all-time for the Boston Bruins. He’s proven himself a player time and time again and if you can’t see that well then go back and watch the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Remember this?

Bergeron had already helped the Boston Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years in 2011, but it was in the spring and early summer that Bergeron and the Boston Bruins helped the healing process after the attacks on Boston Marathon in 2013. The Bruins ultimately lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but after nine goals and six assists in 26 games, Bergeron asked yours truly to hold him up as he spoke to the media with a dislocated shoulder, punctured lung and broken ribs he had played with for two games. Talk about guts!

Tom Brady had plenty of heroic moments, but he went for what, for now, turned out to be, greener pastures; David Ortiz loves retirement and the Boston Celtics seem to be creating new icons of the Boston sports scene as they humiliate the named Kyrie Davis who is the complete opposite of the classy Bruins captain. So now there is only Bergeron.

The province of Quebec and the city of Montreal know the greatness of hockey and when they knew how much to play in this game, for Guy Lafleur, and with his parents in the stands destined for Bergeron, they flooded my Twitter feed much more than those of Boston. It is the love and affection that Patrice Bergeron deserves because, as Guy Lafleur carried the torch of greatness after Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard and Jean Béliveau – to whom Cassidy compared him to Sunday – Bergeron holds the torch that was passed from Bobby Orr to Ray Bourque for him.

Cherish what awaits you in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, because that may be all that’s left for 37 in Boston.

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