First Olympic appearance for Bergeron

BOSTON -- With all of the appearances Steve Yzerman made at Bruins games the past few weeks, one might have thought he was becoming a backer of the Black and Gold.

But the Hall of Fame player and current executive director for Team Canada was, admittedly, watching center Patrice Bergeron, who just happens to be playing his best hockey since before the major concussion he suffered in October 2007.

On Wednesday, all of Bergeron's hard work to return to his previous form paid off, as he was named to the Team Canada roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver in February.

Bergeron, who leads Boston with 29 points (10 goals) this season, will be making his first Olympic appearance. Previously, he represented his home country at two world championships (2004 and 2006).

"As soon as I got the call I was very excited and it was hard to contain that joy," said Bergeron, who got the news via a voicemail from Kevin Lowe, associate director for Team Canada. "But at the same time, it's probably going to settle in tonight and I'll probably enjoy it more after the game." The Bruins host the Atlanta Thrashers Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Bergeron was the only member of the Canadian team who didn't attend last summer's orientation camp. In recent weeks, Yzerman explained that Bergeron's recent injury-marred seasons were the main reasons the 24-year-old wasn't invited to camp.

"I didn't get selected for summer camp, but at the same time I was worrying about the Bruins and playing my game and making sure I was giving the Bruins a chance to win every game," said Bergeron. "And that's what it's all about for me, it's about the team. And after that, well, I guess they liked what they've seen. And they said it too, after the summer camp, that it didn't mean that if you weren't on that roster that you weren't going to get the call.

"I worked hard. It wasn't only for the Olympics, but also for the Bruins and I'm very happy to get rewarded like that today."

The selection of Bergeron gives the Bruins four Olympians. Center David Krejci (Czech Republic), defenseman Zdeno Chara (Slovakia), and winger Marco Sturm (Germany) also have been named to their respective countries' squads. Goaltender Tim Thomas expects to learn on New Year's Day whether he has made the United States team.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.