Bergeron Drama

BergeronPoor MAB, he cannot seem to get any kind of respect no matter where he is playing. Last year when we acquired him from the Oilers – fans in Edmonton were thanking the Islanders left and right for taking such a defensive liability off their hands. To our surprise, Bergeron brought exactly what the Islanders were looking for to the table – a booming point shot and a shot in the arm to our then struggling power play. It’s hard to argue that Bergeron’s presence on the point helped the team reach the playoffs when it came down to the wire.

Fast forward to the 2007-2008 season and you find a completely different sound coming from Islanders fans. No longer are they preaching praise for MAB, but are sounding awfully similar to those fans up in Edmonton last season. Understandably, Islanders fans have their right to call out a player who is directly responsibly for bad turnovers, passes, poor positional play and the time it takes him to wind up for a shot (Can you say telegraphed?) – but can you really place the entire blame on him? For all intents and purposes, I am beginning to feel like Bergeron has what it takes to be successful when he is completely focused. With a little bit of one on one coaching, Bergeron could get back to the form he was last year when he jumped to the lead in power play points. Bergeron has been a healthy scratch numerous times this season, in an attempt to make better aware of his poor play. What some find to be a negative in all respects, is how Bergeron was caught on camera talking back to assistant coach Gerard Gallant while on an abbreviated 5-on-3 power play Wednesday night. While I don’t condone a player giving a coach attitude, it shows me that Bergeron is passionate and does care about the success of his team.

While there have been posts popping up on Islanders message boards across the net calling for an immediate trade of MAB, posts in the blogs of both Newsday’s Greg Logan and the Islanders Chris Botta say otherwise. In fact – they both comment on how Coach Ted Nolan plans on handling the situation.

Botta claims the “Family Squabble” was handled with class and even compares him to Al Arbour towards the end of his post:

One of the many cool things about Ted: while Gallant and Bergeron smiled off Greg Logan’s questions about it yesterday after practice and said everything was coming up roses, Ted gave one of those answers that had Logan and Mears and King and the ITV crew and even the PR guy looking at each other like, “This is good.”

The head coach didn’t laugh it off or try to sweep it under the rug. He made it clear he was not happy with what transpired and he intended to talk to BOTH parties about it.

I really liked that. It’s so easy for head coaches to jump on players. Ted’s position was that he was going to get to the bottom of it but make no mistake – everyone was wrong. Of course, it this was Isiah and Eddy Curry, it might have bumped the latest faux-Yankees rumors off the back page.

Greg Logan always seems to find himself in the middle of the latest Islanders buzz, and thankfully so – as he is the beat writer after all. His take on the “incident” is similar to Botta’s:

When Islanders assistant coach Gerard Gallant sent out defensemen Chris Campoli and Bruno Gervais to man the points for a five-on-three power play in the third period of their 4-3 shootout loss Wednesday night in Atlanta, Marc-Andre Bergeron protested. Bergeron felt he should be on the ice in that situation to fire his booming point shot with plenty of space to get it through, and he let Gallant know in a heated exchange that was captured by FSNY’s cameras.

Gallant downplayed the incident with a smile this afternoon after the Isles practiced at BankAtlantic Center. “At the time, it was heated, but it was really nothing,” Gallant said. “It was just about the power play setup is all. It doesn’t affect anything.”

Head coach Ted Nolan will be the one to decide whether or not Bergeron’s outburst affected his playing status for Friday night’s game against Florida, and he didn’t sound as forgiving as Gallant. “Yeah, I do have a problem with that,” Nolan said. “That’s going to be rectified. There’s times to do it, and there’s times not to do it. Definitely, that wasn’t the right time. We’ll be addressing both individuals, and we’ll make some corrections.”

Greg also goes on to talk about the possibility of Berard dressing for tonight’s game against the Panthers, and how Nolan hasn’t decided to either scratch Bergeron or dress 7 defensemen as he has for some games this season. Head on over to Greg’s Blog to read the rest of his post.

Despite whatever is said to the papers or the media, you know Nolan will not stand up for something like this more than once. He cannot have a player lose control and lash out at the coaching staff because it becomes a distraction in the locker room. When a player becomes a distraction, coupled with their struggling play – it almost certainly leads to a decision to trade said player. Hopefully Bergeron can turn around his play and learn to utilize that wicked shot of his more, say off a one-timer?

Michael Schuerlein

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