Bergeron out, still helping Bruins vs. Panthers ahead of Game 4

SUNRISE, Fla. — It’s easy to imagine Patrice Bergeron sitting on his couch in his suburban family room watching TV, phone in hand. Notice things mere mortals wouldn’t notice. And, having noticed those things, picking up that phone to send an idea or a thought or an X or an O to Chris Kelly, his former Boston Bruins teammate and assistant coach.

It’s so Bergeron.

With the Bruins’ captain having stayed in Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference first round against the Florida Panthers due to injury, texting was about the only way he could get away with it. have an impact on the series. And so he tried to do just that.

“You could tell he was pretty pumped up the way we were playing,” Montgomery said of the text message he received during the Bruins’ 4-2 win over the Panthers on Friday. “That was the first thing that came out. And I think it’s just – you feel helpless. It’s like the first time you retire and become a coach, you have no impact on the ice, so how do you help?”

So he texted. He shared. He did what he could as the Bruins won and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. And he could find himself doing the same in Game 4, which is scheduled for Sunday at FLA Live Arena (3:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SN1, TVAS, BSFL, NESN).

“He’s a superstar player who’s a superstar because of the details he has about his game,” Montgomery said. “And to be that thorough you have to study and he’s a student of the game. So naturally he sees things quickly.

(RELATED: Complete coverage of the Bruins vs Panthers series)

“Bergeron is so thorough that in all three areas he can help anyone. He can help anyone. He can help a power-play player, he can help a fourth-line center, a winger and he can help a defenseman. knows the responsibilities of everyone within our structure.”

Bergeron is not the only one from whom Montgomery would take advice of this nature. There are a handful of other people in the game who he tells to text him if they see anything, if they have any ideas that might help.

But with Bergeron usually on the ice, he’s usually not one of them.

“It must be hard for him”, striker Brad Merchant said. “He’s a playoff player. He thrives at this time of year. And it must be hard for him having to watch, not being in the mix. But that’s why he’s such an incredible leader. because no matter what position he’s in, he’s always trying to find a way to help, let the guys use his experience to feel good about their game.”

So do you think Bergeron is a genius?

“Yes, I know that,” Marchand said. “What I think just separates him from other leaders, part of what makes him such a good leader is that he has a natural gift of observation. He’s always watching. When you go day to day , a lot of people are focused on what they do and what they have going on and what they want to accomplish, but he has much bigger aspirations for our team.

“He does everything so well and he’s so prepared. But he’s always worried about how I help you and how I help you and how I help the next one.”

Montgomery said Bergeron was skating in Boston, still progressing toward a potential return in Game 5, which he previously deemed “likely.”

And it will be double good news for Montgomery who, for now, is much happier coaching Bergeron on the ice than hearing footsteps coming for his job.

When asked what he thought Bergeron would do as a coach, Montgomery replied: “Excellent. Glad he made a lot of money. I hope he doesn’t want to make any more. “

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