Yesterday, I happened to run into Dan Paille on the street as I was going for a walk. I stopped and we talked for a few minutes. I told him about the PJ Axelsson comparison when he first showed up, and mentioned that Per-Johan is in the top ten Bruins all-time in games played. His response?
Did Bergy pass him yet?
To which I replied that no, I didn't think he had. I checked and no, he has not. But he's threateningly close to doing so - Patrice Bergeron's 740 games put him less than a full season away from topping the Swedish Hero's 797. So, I got curious and decided to investigate just where Patrice Bergeron's career stats sat in Bruins history. All stats grabbed via the hockey-reference.com Play Index, which is wonderful. This will be a short series which should get us through part of August. We'll start with the original inquiry: Games played.
740 Games Played
Due to the horrific concussion that Bergeron suffered in 2007-08, he hasn't played as many games as we would like. However, he's been pretty damn steady since. He's only missed a handful of games. If this keeps up, he could pass any or all of the following players, all of which are major figures in the history of the Bruins:
- Per-Johan Axelsson is still a part of the Bruins, scouting amateur players across Europe from his home base in Sweden.
- Milt Schmidt is Mr. Bruin - he was part of the "Kraut Line" way way back in time, and coached, captained, and general-managed the Bruins over time. He still makes appearances at games occasionally, including a Milt Schmidt Night in 2010, celebrating 75 years of service to the Bruins. He is the oldest living former NHL player, having celebrated his 97th birthday just last March. He won a plethora of awards, and his number was retired in 1980. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.
- Woody Dumart was on that same "Kraut Line" with Schmidt. After playing, he coached the Bruins Alumni Association team for many years. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
- Mike Milbury is still famous to this day. He played for the Bruins, captained the team, and for two years was head coach and assistant GM. He would have eventually have been GM of the Bruins, but the Islanders stepped in and took that bullet for us. You can see him on TV now on NBC's main studio broadcast team. Oh, one time he went into the MSG stands and smacked a Rangers fan around with his own shoe.
The longest game Bergeron's played? a playoff loss against Chicago. I'm not going to show the highlights of that because ketchup belongs on hot dogs and nobody likes flyover country. Here is his second-longest game, with over 30 minutes of icetime. Oh, and the gamewinner. OWEN WHO?
We'll be continuing the series so check back for more Patrice Bergeron coverage!