Blog Entry

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

Posted on: April 18, 2009 10:25 am
Edited on: April 20, 2009 5:02 pm

     During his brief stay with the Penguins, Marian Hossa meshed well his superstar Sidney Crosby. Burying crisp passes as Pittsburgh came within two games of Hockey's Holy Grail. The outcome was heartbreaking. But when Hossa chose not to resign with the Penguins, it was only a partial disappointment. Good riddance to anyone who doesn't truly want to play here. And, on a slightly more distant note, the subconscious relief of not seeing the player whose accidental stick, all but ruined one of my personal favorites, Bryan Berard.
    Born in the New England town of Woonsocket,Rhode Island, Berard dazzled scouts with his skills. From an early age, you could tell he was something special. Whose limits would only be determined by his will. Desire. And fate. He was the lone sparking gem in an underachieving '96 U.S. World Junior Team. Whose futility was summarized by a fifth place finish. A medal of any type was not to be.

     The Ottawa Senators wisely took him first overall. But Bryan Berard refused to play. The lone action of his which I disagreed with. When the news broke, I rolled my eyes in disgust. I knew it was a mistake. He would regret it down the road. Needless to say, Mike Milbury featured him as the centerpiece in an Islander Renaissance. A Calder Trophy followed. Stabilty did not. Berard's stay on Long Island was slightly longer than that horrendous Fisherman Logo. Milbury shipped him off to Toronto for fading Felix Potvin. He seemed somewhat lost as a Maple Leaf. While his defensive play improved, the explosive offensive threat vanished. Where's the Bryan Berard who engineered 48 & 46 points respectively? The star I emulated while skating on frozen Abington ponds? Where did he go? Shortly after the horrible eye injury insued. An accidental stick follow-through by Ottawa's Marian Hossa. My heart sank. The loud shattering of my dropped glass summed up the occasion perfectly. 

    Berard went through many frustrating moments. Numerous painstaking eye surguries. Yet. He still found the time to answer my fan letter, by sending me an autographed photo. Perhaps that's what they mean about hockey players being a different breed. In an age characterized by Scrooge-like greed and selfishness, Berard showed character by returning his insurance settlement in favor of an unlikely, comeback attempt. He's had limited success. His best season was with the Chicago Blackhawks, when he was awarded the Bill Masterson Trophy. But aside from Columbus' two-year contract, clubs have been relucant to offer any kind of contract security. A pattern which will likely continue.

     Strange how destiny works. Had Berard committed himself to the Ottawa Senators, his future would've probably been brighter. Though the pressure to succeed would be higher, the opportunity was perhaps richer. The pieces were there: Alexander Daigle, Daniel Alfredsson, Alexei Yashin, Shawn McEachern, Steve Duchesne & the late Sergei Zholtok. One can only imagine the endless possibilties. With so many tools at his disposal, Bryan Berard would have undoubtedly surpassed the 48 points he recorded as a Islander. Savvy veteran Duchesne would've served as an excellent mentor.

     As Wade Redden's tenure with Ottawa finally came to a close, one can't help but wonder. What different path Bryan Berard's career would have taken?What would he have accomplished in eleven years? His mouthwatering skills and dedication would have meshed beautifully, with the host of Stars that have came to wear a Senator's jersey. Certainly a perennial All-Star selection. And perhaps even on track to the Hall Of Fame. One can only, sadly wonder.



Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: June 9, 2009 1:58 am

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

I have always wondered if his eye injury had anything to do with his being the first hockey player to test positive for steroids. You always hate to see the freak injuries.

Since: Nov 4, 2006
Posted on: May 21, 2009 11:54 pm

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

But at least he honors a free autographed photo request.

Since: May 7, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2009 9:19 am

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

does the jinx only apply to hockey and not the nfl? cause there are several cases where nfl draftees refused to play where they were drafted and endud up winning super bowls

Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2009 3:58 pm

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

He never lived up to being such a high draft pick.  He was solid at best before the eye injury.

Since: Sep 12, 2008
Posted on: May 18, 2009 11:49 am

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

Had Berard stayed with the Senators, his career would have either mimicked that of Wade Redden's. He would have been an avg defensemen putting up roughly 40 pt/season. He wouldn't have lasted long though if his +/- was as atrocious as it was through most of his career. On a sidenote, Alexander Daigle should never be the piece of anything, was the worst 1st overall draft pick in all of professional sports.

Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: May 14, 2009 1:46 pm

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

Easy does it there and your reckless talk about Felix Potvin fading, he was on top of his game at the time of that trade.  Damn CuJo, total fraud.  Long live The Cat!!!

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: April 18, 2009 5:51 pm

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

Refusing to play where your drafted sure seems to work out alright in football haha. 

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: April 18, 2009 11:34 am

Bryan Berard, What Might Have Been

No rookie should ever be allowed to refuse to play where he is drafted.  He jinxed himself just like Lindros did when he refused to sign with the Nordiques.

I'm jealous of Detroit too (you know you are) because they can get stars like Hossa to take pay cuts to play there and win cups.  I was a Hossa fan, but I'm a bigger Heatley fan.  Equally gifted players, but I'll take the Canadian kid any day.

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