BOSTON -- Most pro hockey players want to escape the NHL's grueling day-to-day schedule during the All-Star break and completely forget about the game for a few days.
Bergeron first visited the small town in upstate New York last April when the Bruins spent two days practicing there between Games 3 and 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens.
Bruins coach Claude Julien thought it was best to get out of Montreal during that time and wanted his team to focus in a quiet atmosphere, so he chose Lake Placid, the home of Team USA’s “Miracle on Ice” gold-medal victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
When the team was there last spring, Bergeron said he was focused on the playoffs and didn’t have time to get a real feel for the cozy town in the Adirondack Mountains.
When Bergeron, a native of Quebec who is known for his love of the outdoors, was thinking of places to relax during the five-day break, it didn’t take him long to choose Lake Placid.
He brought his skates, gloves and stick with him and laced 'em up for a little pond hockey, while also enjoying other outdoor activities. He was surrounded by kids on the pond, but said no one recognized him.
Bergeron needed to relax, but he also wanted to keep his focus.
“It is special,” he said of the small town. “Obviously it’s special for Americans, but in some way, it was special for us last year just to come down there for two days between games in Montreal. It seemed like it helped us stay focused.”
The Bruins were trailing the Canadiens 2-1 in the best-of-seven series last April, and the trip to Lake Placid was cited as one of the reasons Boston eventually won in seven games because it allowed the players to bond at a time when they normally wouldn’t, given what was at stake and the time of the year.
Since Bergeron had already been inside the Olympic ice rinks, he only walked by them during this visit.
“I just tried to do some different things I didn’t get to do last year,” he said. “I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun.”