Bergeron says he will retire or return to Bruins next season

Asked Monday if he could see himself playing elsewhere, Bergeron said: “No.

“I’ve been here my whole career. Obviously, it’s a special place for me. Like I said, it’s not on my mind. Right now, I just need to take some time and regroup.”

It has been two days since the Bruins lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference First Round to the Carolina Hurricanes, in what could be the captain’s last game with the team he has played with for 18 seasons. Bergeron will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and has maintained throughout the season that he would wait until the team decides.

That decision will not be to look for another team.

But, as Bergeron reiterated on Monday’s split day, he has yet to make the final call, and he’s not sure how long it will take and how exactly he will make it.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Bergeron said. “I think it’s just more time. Right now, it’s only been a couple of days. All I did was really enjoy the family at home. I’m going to need some time, just to think about a lot of things and think about the family.” best decision for me and my family.

Bergeron, who is in the final season of the eight-year, $55 million contract he signed on July 12, 2013, will turn 37 on July 24. He’s the oldest player on the Bruins, but he’s still one of the best, and he’s a likely bet for what would be a fifth Frank J. Selke Trophy, a record as the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. Finalists for the award will be named on Tuesday.

He said the Bruins haven’t given him a timeline or deadline to make his decision.

“Obviously it’s a family decision,” Bergeron said. “It is a moment that I need, a decision that I want to get right. As for the team, I have always believed in what this organization has done.

They have always made sure to put the best team up front and on the ice. I think they will do that in the future as well. So I’m not necessarily worried about that, and I think there are some great players in this locker room, most of whom are coming back. So for me it’s not necessarily something that worries me. It’s more just taking the time to make the right decision for me and my family.”

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Bergeron remained relatively healthy throughout the 2021-22 season, scoring 65 points (25 goals, 40 assists) in 73 games. He finished the season scoring a hat-trick against the Buffalo Sabers on April 28, his third goal counting as his 400th career goal. He has 982 points (400 goals, 582 assists) in 1,216 games.

Bergeron is third in Bruins history in games played, behind Ray Bourque (1,518) and Johnny Bucyk (1,436); fourth in goals (Bucyk, 545; Phil Esposito, 459; Rick Middleton, 401); fourth in assists (Bourque, 1,111; Bucyk, 794; Bobby Orr, 624); and fourth in points (Bourque, 1,506; Bucyk, 1,339; Esposito, 1,012).

“Good. I feel good. The body feels good,” Bergeron said. “There are some … obviously this year I had the nose and the elbow and all that. But that’s the normal routine of the season. But otherwise nothing to report.”

His teammates hoped the decision would be even easier, getting the team to the Stanley Cup Final, winning the Cup, allowing Bergeron to rise to the top, as teammate Mark Recchi had been able to do after the Bruins won the Cup in 2011.

It wasn’t meant to be.

But those same teammates, especially brad marchand, they are left with the hope that they can have at least one more opportunity for that to be the case. Marchand, who has been by Bergeron’s side for more than a decade, spoke about what started as a business relationship and turned into a friendship, a relationship that likely transformed the career of the left.

“I got to see one of the best in our game do his thing on and off the ice and how he takes care of himself and trains and prepares. How much he cares. Then we became really good friends,” Marchand said. “I owe him a lot of what I have been able to achieve. Not only for playing on the same line with him, but just for what a great leader he is, what a great person he is.

“To be able to learn day after day from a guy like that, I don’t think I really understood how much it meant and how good it is for the players to have a guy like that, not just him and [Zdeno Chara], but a lot of guys who have come. It can have a big impact on your career.”

He credited Bergeron, and Chara, for that matter, with the progress of players like Charlie McAvoy Y David Pastrnackknowing how much the players want to match Bergeron and want to impress him and not let him down.

“I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done,” Marchand said. “Incredible, incredible teammate, leader, captain and friend. He is a special person.

“Losing Bergy, when the time comes, that’s a hole we’ll never fill.”

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