Difficult eras to compare: Patrice Bergeron and Bruins close in on 1976-77 Canadiens

Hard times to compare: Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins close in on the Canadiens of 1976-77


The Bruins became the fourth team in NHL history to claim 60 regular season wins. With five games to play, they will have the opportunity to beat the 1976-77 Canadiens mark, which had 132 points. For Patrice Bergeron, however, comparisons are difficult.  

At the time, the Canadian, by virtue of a record of 60 wins, 8 losses and 12 draws, had accumulated 132 points. The current edition of the Bruins, with its record of 60 wins, 12 losses in regulation and 5 more in overtime or shootout, shows 127 points with five games to play. 

It is therefore likely that the record will fall after 46 years, but many factors make comparisons difficult. 

In 1976-77, the NHL consisted of only 18 teams, 13 of which were not managed to win more than 34 games. The schedule was two games less and a point was not awarded for overtime losses. 

“Teams were maybe even harder to beat because the talent was less diluted. Right now, we have points for a win in overtime or a shootout. The fact remains that I was not in the world and it is hard to compare. What the Canadiens have done is exceptional and what we are doing is not often seen either,” said Bergeron during a videoconference with the Quebec media. 

A great enthusiasm

One thing is certain, the Bruins forward doesn't need to step outside for long to feel the enthusiasm of Boston fans at the heart of this historic season. 

“We don't talk a lot. I feel the enthusiasm, whether it's when I take my children to school or take walks in town. It does not go unnoticed, ”he noted. 

The author of 27 goals and 57 points in 74 games this season is not fooled. He knows full well that despite the great enthusiasm that floats among the fans, the wall can arrive quickly in the playoffs. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning is one of four teams in history to record at least 60 wins in a season. The Florida team also shares the record of 62 wins with the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96. 

The common point between these two clubs is that neither ne other has completed his career with the Stanley Cup in his hands. The Lightning had even been bowled over in four games in the first round by the Columbus Blue Jackets, against all odds. 

“I played against Tampa in 2019 and I know that as a team we watched their season in awe. On our side, we want to stay down to earth. Yes, we won the President's trophy, but that's not the one we want,” insisted Bergeron. 

The momentum of 2011

Anyone who has crossed the 1000 career point mark has too much experience to get carried away. After all, when he lifted his only Stanley Cup in the spring of 2011, no fewer than six teams had edged the Bruins with 103 points overall. 

Since then, the Bruins have had four seasons of points higher than in 2011, but have never been able to repeat their exploits. 

“In 2011, what set us apart was the character and the perseverance that we demonstrated in series with three number seven games to ultimately win the Stanley Cup.

“We are trying to write our history this year. Our season record shows it's a better team this year (than in 2011), but you can't compare the years. We have a special group, but as long as you don't accomplish your goals in the playoffs, that means nothing,” reiterated the center player. 


Appreciated newcomers

At the trade deadline, the Bruins didn't move heaven and earth, considering the chemistry within their roster, but still grafted some important pieces. Forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway, as well as defender Dmitry Orlov play an important role. “It's going really well. Don Sweeney and his team have done their homework on acquired players. They dug to find out what kind of individuals they were. Everyone sees the impact on the ice, but off the ice, they've adapted really well to the team,” said Bergeron. 

A changing culture

Despite all the scandals that have plagued the hockey world in recent months, Patrice Bergeron remains optimistic and believes that the sport is heading in the right direction. “There is always work to be done, whether in hockey or in life in general. In 2023, we just want people to feel comfortable being who they want to be. There are improvements. There are a lot of players who are for acceptance, inclusivity and diversity, whether it's your skin color, your beliefs, your beliefs or your sexual orientation. It's important to do it because it's such a beautiful sport and we want it to be open to everyone,” he pleaded. 

Difficult for the Quebecers

In recent weeks, Quebec players Derrick Brassard and Kristopher Letang have reached the symbolic plateau of 1,000 games played in the NHL. However, for the first time, no player from Quebec was present at the all-star game. As a veteran of the group, Bergeron is not overly worried. “You want to have as many Quebecers as possible. It's always special and you want to encourage these young people who are pushing to become star players in the league. I'm thinking of a guy like Thomas Chabot. Sometimes it's waves that leave and come back. I don't think we need to be too alarmed. There may be changes to be made, but I don't think Hockey Quebec should tell itself that there is a shortage or a lack. It goes and it comes back.”