With Bruins’ star Patrice Bergeron out for two weeks, the Bruins went out added veteran depth to their roster.
Gionta returns home
In 2001, Brian Gionta played his last game as a Boston College Eagle. Seventeen years later, he now returns to his former home city, but this time to hit the ice as a Boston Bruin.
After stepping out of the 2017-18 NHL season to prepare for his role at the USA men’s hockey captain in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, the 16-year veteran is ready to start fresh in the NHL with a one-year, $700,000 contract with Boston.
“They’ve got a great team and to be a part of it, whatever role I can play, I’m excited to be here…joining a great team, a team that hopefully, I can complement.” Gionta told NHL.com
Gionta’s veteran presence is exactly what Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was looking to add to the lineup nearing the final months of the regular season. When it comes to playoff experience, he puts forth an extremely complete resume.
“From the standpoint of depth and veteran leadership and a player that is highly motivated, it wasn’t that he didn’t have the opportunity to play this year, he made a family decision along with an opportunity to play in the Olympics,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told NHL.com.
Sixteen years of professional hockey, 289 goals, a Stanley Cup, a captain’s title for the USA Olympic men’s hockey team and a franchise record of 48 regular season goals for the New Jersey Devils in the 2005-06 season are just a few of the right-winger’s achievements in his professional career.
“I’m just here trying to help out in any way I can,” Gionta said when asked by NHL.com about coming into a well-developed team as a veteran. “[Boston’s] got a great group. I just want to come in and blend in, fit in how you can.”
Two weeks without Patrice Bergeron is an adverse circumstance for Boston. Understandably, news that the alternate captain and first-line center would be out for at least two weeks, was not taken lightly. The end of the regular season is crunch time, and losing an essential member could severely hurt the team’s standings in the regular season.
Positivity in the veteran’s morale will be the key to a quick recovery.
“Patience is the key word right now so it can heal quickly – and lots of prayers,” said Bergeron told NHL.com “I want to be out there as quick as possible….right now, patience is the key word…I’m gonna work on it, it’s probably not one of my qualities.”
The acquisitions of Rick Nash and Brian Gionta were possibly the most logical solutions to this issue, however, the situation is still not ideal. Though, if any team knows how to handle inconvenient injuries, its Boston – they’ve been doing it all season.
“We’ve been through this a bit earlier in the year where we’ve had to other guys step up. We don’t expect one person to replace Bergy.” Cassidy told NHL.com “It has to be done by committee and that includes his linemates, [Brad Marchand] and [David Pastrnak], as well.”
A late goal from veteran Ron Hainsey put the Maple Leafs ahead of the Bruins in the third period, resulting in a 4-3 loss for Boston Saturday. Boston could only sneak one shot by Buffalo’s Chad Johnson, causing them to fall 4-1 in Buffalo, Sunday. A fruitful two-on-one in overtime put Boston ahead 4-3 against Carolina, Tuesday.
Next 7 Days at a Glance
Thursday, March 1 at 7 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Saturday, March 3 at 5 p.m. vs. Montreal Canadiens
Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. vs. Detroit Red Wings