As coach Jim Montgomery shaped the Boston Bruins, ‘my first phone call’ was to C. Patrice Bergeron

BOSTON – Jim Montgomery has a lot of work to do in preparation for his first season as Boston Bruins coach.

He knew where to start: contacting captain Patrice Bergeron to make sure the five-time Selke Award winner returns to the Bruins in uniform for the 19th season.

“This was my first phone call,” Montgomery told a news conference Monday, meeting with local media 10 days after Bruce Cassidy, now coaching the Vegas Golden Knights.

“If he comes back, I don’t have to go to the locker room. It was the main street,” Montgomery said. “He has good control over what is happening and how to lead.”

Three years after Stanley lost in the seventh game of the Cup final and two years after reaching 100 points in the epidemic-short season, the Bruins eliminated Cassidy after a first-round playoff defeat. Since then, top defender Charlie McAvoy and top scorer Brad Marchand have undergone surgery that will keep them out for the first two months of the season.

But much attention has been paid to Bergeron, 36, who has not committed to playing a second season (i.e., if he returns, it will only be with the Bruins). He then told the team he was ready to go back, but that has not been confirmed. He was awarded the fifth Celke Trophy last month.

“I still feel like I have a lot of time ahead of me, I think, to make that decision,” Bergeron said after Boston’s elimination. “I want to make sure I get the time I need to fix this.”

“We’re still waiting for Patrice’s word,” said team CEO Charlie Jacobs. Although the news is positive. We’re getting some positive feedback. “” So, fingers crossed that he will come back and lead our team again next year. “

Montgomery, 53, was fired from his first NHL head job with the team in the 2019-20 season for unprofessional behavior by the Dallas Stars. He later called the decision “appropriate” and a “wake-up call” and announced that he was going to a rehabilitation facility for alcohol abuse.

Montgomery, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant for the St. Louis Blues, said he has learned from his mistakes.

“Everyone’s life is going up and down,” he said on Monday. And I think, if you learn from it, grow up, you’ll be better. “” I think, if you are willing to accept change and change, a person can achieve good things in life. “

Montgomery said he is excited to face a team that has won 51 games last year; The Bruins also entered Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2019 and set the league’s best record next season. But that was not enough to save Cassidy’s job.

One of the complaints about Cassidy – whose last season ended with a seven-game defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes that the Bruins could not win on the road – was very harsh on the young players. Montgomery, who said he has already reached almost half the roster, is known to coach players – but only to a limited extent.

“I think you have to listen. And I like to listen before I speak,” he said.

Sitting with his family in the front row of the TD Garden Legends Room, Montgomery said he has already found a place to stay and visited Fenway Park, where he saw the Red Sox lose to rival New York Yankees.

“So things have started well here in Boston,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have this big fan base in this great city, Boston. Be part of the Bruins family. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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