The Boston Bruins have been plagued by injuries this year. With the season just 10 games old, they have already lost playmaker Marc Savard to a broken foot, which will cause him to miss 4-6 weeks; and Milan Lucic with a broken finger, which will also cause him to miss 4-6 weeks.
With all these injuries and the Bruins not off to as hot a start as they wanted, there have been some major changes to the team.
Chuck Kobasew was traded to the Minnesota Wild and Daniel Paille was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. There have also been some call ups from the Providence Bruins. These include forwards Brad Marchand and Vladimir Sobotka and defenseman Johnny Boychuck.
With all these injuries and call ups the Boston Bruins have many new faces on the team. They are also in need of a player who can step up and prove to be a leader.
While this usually falls on the captain's shoulders (and Zdeno Chara has done an excellent job by any standards), there needs to be another guy everyone can look up to. He needs to be a guy who can score that game-changing goal and dish out that huge hit.
That guy, ladies and gentlemen, is Patrice Bergeron. Through 10 games this season, Bergeron has three goals and four assists. He had the game-winning shootout goal against the Ottawa Senators and the game-tying goal against the Nashville Predators.
Bergeron is playing in just his fifth season for the Bruins, and only his fourth season if you exclude 2007-2008, when he was knocked out for the season with a concussion and a broken nose.
In his second season with the Bruins, he led the team with 31 goals and was second on the team with 42 assists.
Bergeron began to emerge as a leader towards the end of last year, specifically in the final regular season game against the Montreal Canadiens.
With the game tied at 4-4 in overtime, Bergeron made a check to keep the puck in the zone and then gave a cross ice feed to Mark Recchi who put the puck in the back of the net for the 5-4 winner.
Patrice has picked up this year right where he left off last year. He has continued to come back into the form he showed before he missed almost the entire 07-08 season.
He has shown that he can step up when called upon including playing center on the top power-play unit, a spot that was help by Marc Savard until his injury.
While Patrice is not known much as being a very vocal guy in the locker room, his play sets him apart from his teammates.
He's the kind of guy who can score the momentum-changing goal and make the huge hit that will the get the crowd into it and his team going.
He will even occasionally fight if called upon to do so. He also is a two-way player who can join the rush after making the defensive play and come right back if the puck is turned over.
Bergeron will see more playing time as he shows he is a guy the Bruins can count on to come through.
Expect him to continue to put up more points, but he won't be worried about that. He is more worried about how the team plays and how they can improve than his own stats.