Al Praeg, Hampton, N.B.
I hear a lot of folks suggesting Steven Stamkos belongs on Team Canada and rightly so, given the great start to the season he’s had.
But for my money the guy that needs to be given a long hard look is Patrice Bergeron.
After two lost seasons he has regained his offensive touch, leading the Bruins in scoring, but it’s the other aspects of his game that would make him a valuable addition to the national team and a key contributor to Canada’s gold medal aspirations.
I’ve watched almost every Bruins game this year and he has been the best player on the ice in almost every one; he might be the best two-way player in the game today. He wins faceoffs at an alarming rate, is fantastic on special teams and is always on the ice at key times and in critical situations.
Most importantly, his play absolutely exemplifies that special characteristic or trait that is most often emphasized by those making the selections: namely that he can excel at whatever task is asked of him.
When the Bruins offense was hit with injury problems, he stepped into a first line center role and put up points; when everyone (more or less) is available, he is almost always on the ice against the other team’s top lines.
When you also consider his past experience and success playing for his country, I will be surprised and disappointed if we do not get to see him in Vancouver next year.
He is exactly the type of player, from both a skill and character perspective, that that team needs.
Patrice is back and it will be Canada’s loss if he doesn’t crack that lineup.