Patrice Battles the Pressure
Thursday, 11.2.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
By John Bishop, BostonBruins.com
Whenever Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is asked about pressure, he a-matter-of-factly says the same thing -- everyone has pressure in their jobs.
Maybe so, but not everyone has television cameras, print reporters, radio broadcasters and web media recording their every move.
Not to mention that not every job has 17,000 spectators watching every move you make, waiting to react, hopefully in the positive (sometimes in the negative), and then going home to devour all the news fit to print, post or broadcast.
And lastly, not everyone has the pressures of a different language, a different culture and the absence of family and friends at the ripe old age of 21-years-old to deal with on a regular basis.
As the Boston Bruins prepared to meet the Buffalo Sabres on Thrusday, Patrice Bergeron, Boston's own francophone phenom, looked forward to hitting the TD Banknorth Garden ice again and blocking out the pressure he feels to put the Black & Gold back into the playoff race.
Bergeron just wants to play hockey.
"Yah, I do [feel the pressure]," said Bergeron. "I'm just trying not to think about it."
Bergeron believes that if you think too much your skills will diminish, and instead of reacting the way you are taught and the way you are trained, you will fail.
"You squeeze the stick on the ice," he said, using an age-old hockey euphemism for over thinking the game.
"I want to think about my game and obviously the team, to do well [on the ice]," said Bergeron. "Yah, there's pressure. But I'm trying to [use it] as an advantage, rather than putting more pressure on myself."
Bergeron says that means channeling the nervous energy into momentum, just like when you were a child at play, with lots of energy to spare.
"I mean, [you] just go out there, try to have fun, and play as hard as you can to help the team to win," said Bergeron of his primary goals. "I think it's following your instincts."
To focus himself on the game Bergeron imagines his childhood hockey contests in Quebec. It is that idyllic setting that brings him the calm he needs in order to perform at the highest level for the Bruins.
"That's the image that I [try to] have, when I am thinking about the game," he explained. "[I Remember myself] playing hockey as a kid on a pond outside with my friends. Having fun, skating forever. That's the image that I am looking [for, so I] ust to go out there and follow my instincts," he said.
And if things go the way Bergeron plans, new memories will replace the old.
"When things are going well, you want that to [continue]," said Bergeron of the feeling in the locker room after a win. "You want the same thing to happen the next game.
"So you kind of have that [wonderful] image of after the game…the guys are happy and smiling and listening to music. You're looking forward to it, so that gives you the energy to 'see' that image again," he said.
Bergeron admits that the Bruin's start hasn't been what the team would wish for, but he truly thinks better times are ahead.
"We all believe in ourselves right now and we know we can do it," said Bergeron. "We know we can be better. And we know we have some stuff to [fix in order to] be better as a team, but we know we have the talent in the room.
"That's why we are still confident in ourselves," he said.
Finally, Bergeron was asked, are the Bruins looking forward to testing the mettle of the NHL best Buffalo Sabres again, remembering last weeks 6-2 loss?
"Yah, we are," said the Bruins assistant captain, fully admitting that Buffalo is a very, very good team.
"They are playing some great hockey," Bergeron said. "But I think we're also a good hockey club.
"You know, we might be the underdogs, but we feel confident."
See you at the Garden tonight.