Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In this installment he talks about winning a gold medal, how to cure jetlag, what he's like off the ice, and how the team's schedule will actually help them in the playoffs. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta.)
Since my last diary I've been to Sochi and back. With this Olympics, I was able to go to a lot of the events, unlike Vancouver where all the events were far away from one another. This time the Olympic Park was pretty close to the village. I went to curling, women's hockey and speed skating. I enjoyed watching the other athletes compete.
This was a special Olympics. I went over there just thinking I wanted to help the team out any way that I could. I wasn't expecting to get as much playing time as I did even though I was ready for anything to happen. While I've played before at the Olympics and World and Junior Championships with Sidney Crosby, this was different. We played on the same line, which was a great experience. I think he's the best player in the world. The way that he plays, his speed is something that makes him special. He creates a lot of plays by just the way he skates. His vision is amazing. It was fun playing with him and I tried to learn as much as possible. It was a great experience.
My roommate was Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks. You may be wondering if one of us brought up last year's Stanley Cup finals, but the honest answer is no. We've never really talked about in Sochi because we talked about it over the summer since we saw each other in the offseason. This time was really just about getting to know each other a little bit more on a different level and getting ready for the games because everything over there was a quick turnaround. Pretty much our roommate situation was about catching up on sleep and talk about a few things, but the Cup never came up.
When we won the gold medal and you hear the Canadian national anthem and are being awarded the medal it's an amazing feeling. In Vancouver, it was great winning there and to have the chance to relive that in Sochi. But I feel like I was even more involved this time, which made it even more special. It was a great two weeks for me and something I'll never forget. What made it even better was being rewarded with the ultimate prize.
It took us a few games for the team to get clicking again after the Olympic break. I think it was just about getting back to our system. We were lacking a little bit of urgency in the first few games. Guys weren't quite playing the way we were used to or playing with layers. It seemed like we were playing perimeter hockey. We were letting the other team have possession time with the puck in our zone, which usually we try to close as quickly as possible to get back on offense. There were a lot of things that made us not ourselves. But we were aware of it and I thought we turned things around pretty quickly. It took a few practices and we're back at it.
I also was battling jetlag. It really affected me quite a bit and more so coming home then going over there. Coming back here was really tough and it was a quick turnaround as I got home in the afternoon and the next day I was leaving for Buffalo. I couldn't really catch up with my sleep especially being away from home still. I'd say it took me a good week to really feel like my sleeping habits were back to normal.
My suggestion for anyone trying to battle jetlag is sleep. Sleep and try to go for walks in the daytime as much as possible. You need to let your body know that it is daytime and not time to sleep yet.
Then right after the Olympic break was the trade deadline. We added two new faces with Andrej Meszaros and Corey Potter on defense. Andrej scored a goal in the first game he played with us. I think he brings a lot of offense as a defenseman. I think he's offensive-minded and will be great on the power play. From what I've seen from here, but also before, that's what I think he is. I think he's also a guy that skates well and has good vision. So far, so good.
We're a very close locker room. So I can see how someone new coming into this team might wonder how they fit in. But for a guy like Andrej who has already played with Z [Zdeno Chara] and [Chris] Kelly before, I'm sure it helped him. For us, it helps to know what kind of guy he is already so we can try to make him feel comfortable right away. He's not necessarily a shy guy. He's pretty outgoing. So far he's been fitting in really well.
We're also still close to guys that used to play on this team too. I was out to dinner with my teammates when we got the news about Rich Peverley having a cardiac event. Obviously some guys have twitter and it was blowing up with the news. Honestly, I was sick to my stomach that first night I heard about it. I couldn't wait to get some news from either Tyler [Seguin] or Rich but I knew he needed to obviously take care of himself. It was tough to watch it. It obviously put a huge dent in our dinner plans as we were so worried about him and trying to find out what was going on.
Tyler was kind enough to reassure us with texts letting us know that Rich was stable and at the hospital. The next day, Rich directly texted me. So that felt very comforting that he was doing better and was able to text me. It was good to hear from him. You think about his family. Hockey becomes really secondary. It was just all concern about his health.
Even what I experienced in the Stanley Cup playoffs last year with my injuries makes you realize how much you do put your body at risk in this sport. It's something that you're aware of when you play sports like we do. That being said, you put things into perspective when things happen like that. Especially for Rich, he's got two beautiful kids. I was just thinking about his family and him and want him to come back healthy.
Let's lighten the mood a bit now. I realize you are used to seeing me on the ice. I figured this diary might be a good place for you to know a little bit more about my likes off the ice too. So I'll answer some questions:
Am I a morning or night person? I'd actually say I'm an afternoon person. I'm definitely not a morning person. I don't go to bed that late either. If I had to choose between the two, I'd say night, but really I'm an afternoon guy.
Cat or dog person? Dog. I have a Maltipoo, a small little guy. He's my wife's dog named Wilson.
Do I prefer odd or even numbers? Odd because I wear 37.
Biggest superstition or pregame ritual? Taping my sticks in front of my stall.
No. 1 question I get asked most by the media? Question I get asked the most is, "What happened on that play?" Doesn't matter what game, but I'll usually get "tell me about that play."
TV or movie guy? I love TV shows. Currently I'm watching "Vikings," "The Following," "Shameless," and "Game of Thrones."
Would my wife say I'm a romantic guy? I don't know if she'd say yes or no, but I'm trying. The effort is there, like for Valentine's Day preparing dinner with flowers and everything.
Most embarrassing song on my playlist? Miley Cyrus, "I Can't Stop"
My favorite sport to watch other than hockey? Football. I like watching the Patriots.
A couple more items before I wrap this up. I know my name may be mentioned as someone who has a chance to win the Selke Award but that's not anywhere near as important to me as winning the Stanley Cup. I know we're far away from that, but to me, it's not something I'm thinking about.
Something the fans can watch for the rest of the season is who will end up with the most goals on the team. We have a tight race with Looch [Milan Lucic], Jarome Iginla, and Marchy [Brad Marchand] and I know I'm not too far behind them. If I had to pick which one I'd like to see take the title, taking myself out of it, I'd go with Marchy because he's my linemate. I've been playing with him for so long that I wish he gets it but it's tough to pick because they're all my teammates.
We beat Montreal last week which was great as we hadn't been able to all season. It was a team effort. It showed that if we play our game, we're able to beat them. They are a great team. It's always a fun game against them and lot more fun when you win.
We have lots of travel coming up in the homestretch of the regular season. Seven of our last nine games are on the road. It's a challenge when you have to travel so much. But it's also a challenge you face during the playoffs. We might as well get ready now.
The goal for rest of the season is to stay consistent. It's the motto we've had all year. As we get closer to the playoffs, it's even more important. Having the best record in the Eastern Conference would be a great goal of ours right now to shoot for, but it's really about getting better and making sure we're ready for the long stretch.