A quick reminder that this all came about thanks a question from none other than 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruin Daniel Paille:
Did Bergy pass him yet?
All stats grabbed via the hockey-reference.com Play Index, which is wonderful.
Patrice Bergeron is well known as being a guy who will do whatever it takes to win. Sometimes that's a wildly successful defensive play, sometimes it's a goal, sometimes it's pickpocketing some oaf rolling through the neutral zone. Sometimes, as we saw in NHL36, he leads a relatively low-key off-ice life and gets a good night's sleep every night. And sometimes, he passes to a player in a good scoring position and that player buries it. He's notched 344 assists. His most in a season is 48, so here are the players he could pass if he reaches that level again:
- Ken Hodge was traded to Boston in 1967 with Phil Esposito and Fred Stanfield, and the three of them helped lay the foundation for 2 Bruins championship teams. The early 70s Bruins teams were a force to be reckoned with, as those three joined Bobby Orr and a few other folks. Even though he racked up enough assists to cement himself in the top ten all-time, he was only fourth on the Bruins during his time here. It's no shame, however, as the three ahead of him were all hall-of-famers. He also scored an overtime playoff goal against Toronto in 1974, just for comparison's sake.
- Adam Oates only took 6 years with the Bruins to tally 357 assists. He did that, and put himself in the top-10 all-time in assists, in fewer games as a Bruin than Andrew Ference or Daniel Paille. He nearly doubled now-GM Don Sweeney's assist total, and ArmagedDon played over a thousand games as a Bruin. For 5 of his 6 years as a Bruin, he was a Lady Byng finalist but never won. He played 18 years in the NHL, and only 6 of them involved the Bruins, but boy howdy did he make beautiful music with Cam Neely.
- Bill Cowley "Cowboy" was an assist-making menace in the 30s and 40s for the Bruins. His first season was with the St. Louis Eagles, but then he came to Boston and remained for the duration of his career. At the time of his retirement in 1947, he led the all-time assist and point scoring total lists. He was a top-5 finalist for the Lady Byng five times in his career, but had to settle for two Stanley Cups (1939 and 1941) and two Hart Memorial MVP trophies (1941 and 1943, finalist in 1944 and 1945). Bill Cowley was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1968. He also helped found the OHL's Ottawa 67s, who Nick Boynton played for before joining the Bruins.
- Milt Schmidt is, well, he is the (black and) gold standard that we hold all Bruins to. His name has come up many times in this series, and it's not even close to a mistake or a weird coincidence. He was Patrice Bergeron before Patrice Bergeron was Patrice Bergeron. Go ahead and tell me that you can't envision a big "37" instead of "15" here:
Bergeron's notched a lot of apples in his day, but the biggest bunch of them came in 2006-07, when he was dishing to Marco Sturm, on a powerplay with Marc Savard and Marco Sturm, and even notched an assist on a P.J. Axelsson short-handed tally:
Official Stat line on that is "18:26 BOS SHG - P.J. Axelsson (7) ASST: Patrice Bergeron (17), Zdeno Chara (12)"
Be still, my heart. Anyways, it was during this year that Patrice Bergeron had his highest-scoring game ever, a 5-assist romp over the eventual Eastern-conference champion Ottawa Senators. They certainly weren't Eastern Conference champions that night in December, as you can see. Of note: Marco Sturm scored a hat trick that night! Whatta guy.
I miss Marc Savard and Marco Sturm. Harrumph.