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Bergeron lifts lid on decision to retire: 'I have no regrets on anything'

Boston Globe / Getty

Patrice Bergeron is walking away from the NHL with his head held high.

"It was always important for me to be a good example and lead that way on and off the ice. ... I think the one thing I'll definitely say is I left everything out there," he said during a press conference on Wednesday. "I have no regrets on anything, and I gave my all."

Bergeron decided to hang up his skates Tuesday and leaves behind an illustrious legacy that features six Selke Trophy wins and a Stanley Cup championship.

Despite the fact that there was no perceptible slippage in his performance ahead of what would've been his 20th NHL season, Bergeron reiterated that he "just knew it was time" to step away, adding that he was getting bogged down by pregame preparation.

"I felt good on the ice, felt good skating, felt good making plays and whatnot," he said. "I felt like the game was still slowing down when I had the puck, and it's not like I felt like I had no time and space. ... It was more the preparation. It was taking a lot longer now. I couldn't just put the equipment on and jump on the ice."

He added, "I didn’t necessarily need to leave on top of my game, but I am glad I am."

Bergeron, 38, put up 27 goals and 58 points in 78 games in his final NHL campaign, playing on a one-year pact with a team-friendly $2.5-million cap hit.

The Quebec native conceded that he entered the 2022-23 season with the knowledge that it'd likely be his last.

"There wasn’t a particular moment (that made me retire), he said. "I think it was over time that it kind of came to me as the year and the summer went on. ... I was trying to let the dust settle and see, like, is there a part of me that is going to want to come back?

"It was never really the case."

Now, Bergeron is looking forward to spending time with his family and getting some rest following his 19-season career.

"Hockey brings you a lot of pressure and stress. ... So, it will be a nice change to just be able to be the Uber driver for the family for a little bit and just relax and that's it," he said.

Bergeron's departure leaves a big hole in Beantown's roster and locker room, but the beloved former captain is certain the Bruins and their tight-knit team culture will do just fine without him.

"I know these guys will be great. ... They're in great hands with all of these guys in leadership," he said. "Like I said, it wasn't me (who built the culture), it was also (my teammates) and the guys before me like (Zdeno Chara) and the rest of that crew."

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