Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron contributes heavily on the offensive end

TAMPA — Marc-Andre Bergeron's five-game points streak ended Saturday in the Lightning's 3-0 victory over the Sabres. He didn't even get a shot on goal.

But the Tampa Bay defenseman didn't seem to mind.

"Absolutely not," Bergeron said at the St. Pete Times Forum. "This is a team game."

But there still is room to acknowledge personal accomplishment, and no Lightning player has done more this season, relative to last season, than Bergeron.

He has a team-best nine points on two goals and seven assists, and after eight games he already is one point ahead of his total for the 23 games he played in 2010-11 after signing in January as a free agent.

He is tied among defensemen for the league lead in points, tied for 10th in the league overall and is averaging 18:47 of ice time, his most since the 19:07 he averaged in 2006-07 with the Oilers and Islanders.

"It's obviously a surprise," Bergeron said of his offensive outburst. "It's not something you expect or are focusing on."

"He's just playing with confidence," fellow defenseman Victor Hedman said. "He makes plays out there. He's poised with the puck, and he has one of the best shots in the league."

Bergeron, 31, always has been an exceptional offensive player.

In 2000-01, he had 42 goals and 101 points in 69 games for Shawinigan of the junior Quebec league. He has 79 goals (43 on the power play) and 211 points in 430 NHL games, and in 2009-10 he had 13 goals and 34 points in 60 games for the Canadiens before a crushing injury to his right knee ended his season and required reconstructive surgery.

Bergeron spent the summer of 2010 rehabbing and wasn't cleared to practice until December, so it wasn't surprising he struggled after signing.

Spending last summer in the gym gave him a foundation for this season's success, he said, and signing a new two-year deal in June gave him peace of mind.

Bergeron also received a commitment from coach Guy Boucher the team would work with him to improve his defense, which still is a work in progress (he is minus-1) but miles ahead of where he was last season.

Always a battler, Bergeron, 5 feet 9, 198 pounds, is more diligent about closing gaps on puck-carriers and is better picking his spots to engage offensively. That not only keeps him in better defensive position, it puts him in situations in the attacking zone with a higher chance of success.

"Consistency in doing simple plays" is what Boucher said he wants from Bergeron, "to wait for opportunities rather than trying to force them."

"I've talked with Guy quite a bit," Bergeron said. "He made me understand that there are things I need to do, and by doing those things, it's going to give the coaches confidence in me. I'm just trying to keep it simple and not force the play too much."

Ultimately, though, Bergeron is a points producer with a shot that can make you say "Wow."

"Points are something, but it doesn't always tell if you're playing good or bad," Bergeron said. "Some games you don't get anything and you're actually playing really well."

Still, he added, "It's better than being minus-15 with zero points."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron contributes heavily on the offensive end 10/23/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family


    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
  2. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) pumps his fist to the crowd after Tampa Bay's 29-7 victory over Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. The Bucs play at Minnesota at 1 p.m. Sunday. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Sorting through the Bucs' injuries


    Greg Auman sorts through the Bucs players sidelined with injury and illness in the latest edition of our Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Kwon Alexander left the Bucs' game against the Bears with a hamstring injury. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. College football week 4: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions


    The Times' college football coverage team makes its picks for week 4 of the college football season:

    USF coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls face Temple in a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at Raymond James Stadium. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting


    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]