Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In this installment he discusses why he doesn't like the Canadiens, his thoughts on the young guys on the team, life on the road and who is the best Secret Santa gift giver on the Bruins. -- As told to Louise K. Cornetta
I think we've been playing pretty good hockey, especially in November. Lately, we had a couple of games we would have liked to play better. But I liked seeing after the Detroit game that we responded pretty well. Hopefully we can continue to respond well after a bad game. I'd like to see our consistency be something we work on. We've been up and down a little bit too much. We'll have a good first period and then a bad second and then a good third. I think we have to make sure to be more consistent throughout games.
My line with Marchy [Brad Marchand] and Loui [Eriksson] was improving as the month of November went along. I think we can always be better. Especially when you don't get the wins that you want as a team, it's important for our line to contribute in any way we can. I think we've been doing that on both sides of the rink and we need to find more ways to keep improving and be better as the year goes along.
As you know, the Canadiens are our rival. It's huge every time we play them. It's always tough to play in their building. There is so much history between the teams that it's special to be a part of it. It's always a fun game. This year was a little different as we had to wait until December to play them. Usually we play them a lot earlier than that, but we didn't in part because now we have the new conferences and divisions.
What wasn't fun was seeing Johnny Boychuk go down like he did on Thursday in Montreal. That is tough to see. It's the last thing you want to see for anyone, but when it's one of your friends or your teammate, it's hard. It took the momentum away from us right away and put a dent in the start of our game. The good news is that he seems to be doing better and hopefully he can be back as soon as possible.
I've never been a Canadiens fan. When I was growing up, I was in Quebec City and was a Nordiques fan. It was always a rivalry for me growing up against them because of the Nordiques. Now that I'm in Boston that notion carried on. It's the same thing here. While I respect them and their history, I've never been a fan of them.
Growing up a Nordiques fan, I always would pretend when I was a kid that I was Peter Forsberg or Joe Sakic. They were great players in Quebec. Joe Sakic was the captain. So he was one of the guys I was always looking up to. He was humble and nice and contributed in the community. They were definitely two of the guys I liked to try to be like.
We have a lot of young guys on our team this season, and a few of them got to experience this rivalry for the first time this past week. Let's talk a little about some of the rookies and younger guys on the team. All of them are doing well, to be honest with you. Reilly [Smith] has stood out to me as someone who has raw talent. He's developing really well into a great player which is great to see for us. With Torey [Krug], the way that he is composed and poised on the ice and making plays really doesn't look like a rookie. Bart [Matt Bartkowski] is pretty fast and pretty slick. I think it's great to have these guys jumping in and being good right away.
So that's some thoughts on the younger guys on the ice, but if you asked me who stands out off the ice it's got to be Bart. He's the personality, for sure. He's a guy who is not afraid to talk. He's pretty funny also. He's vocal and lightens up the mood once in a while. He hasn't been very shy to talk, that's for sure.
After our Penguins game, we're headed out on the road for the next week. On the plane, I sit next to Daniel Paille and we watch movies. When there are long trips like that we try to go through a couple of movies or TV shows. It's a good way to spend the time. Oddly, we don't really have any video game players on this team. Some guys used to play. Johnny Boychuk plays once in a while on his iPad and [David] Krejci used to but now he doesn't anymore. Gregory Campbell or Johnny Boychuk are our guys that take care of the music. I like their tastes in music. Soupy [Campbell] is more hip-hop and Johnny is a little more dance and techno.
Back when I first started playing, you used to have to have a roommate on the road. Who that was changed a lot but I had Chuck Kobasew and Matt Hunwick and Brad Boyes. So I had a few but now I'm on my own. It's kind of nice not sharing a room with someone anymore.
We'll have a lot of dinners together when we're on the road. Every team needs an organizer for things like that. For us, it's Dan Paille. He's an organized guy who likes things set up in advance. He always takes care of making reservations. When the check comes sometimes we split it and sometimes we play credit card roulette where everyone throws their card in and one is selected. Little factoid about our credit card game: If your card gets selected once you may think you're off the hook to pay for future dinners but not true, your card still goes back in. You just have to cross your fingers the next time.
We're a pretty close group. I don't have one guy I always go to lunch with or anything. I do like going with [Dennis] Seidenberg. We're kind of on the same schedule. So we'll go together. But it's pretty much anyone, to be honest with you.
We bring a horseshoe that is hanging in our dressing room with us on the road. It's our lucky charm. We try to bring some luck with us. Yes, we need to work hard and all that but luck is also something we need on our side.
The holidays are upon us. We usually do a Secret Santa on the team. We haven't talked about it yet for this year. I don't know if we will or not because Andrew Ference was our organizer for that. We'll have to talk about that now that Ference isn't on the team anymore. Each year always seemed to have a little different spin on it. Sometimes it would be a gag gift, other times nice gifts. It was never really the same. One year we did bad sweaters.
I think guys liked pulling Marchy's name to be his Secret Santa because he's pretty funny and a few guys would like to get him back. I would like to say, though, that I would not like to get Marchy because I like him. You know who I would like to have as my Secret Santa is Loui. He seems like a pretty generous guy.
What do I want for Christmas is a good question. I don't want anything, to be honest with you. My family is coming down. So I'm just happy about that. What do I want for the team for Christmas? That is easier to answer as I want us to keep improving. Hopefully by the end of the month we stay up in the standings, around that first spot. We'd like to stay there and that's our goal. We want to be at our best consistently.