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Berglund's Plan Working Out for the Best

Blues rookie Patrik Berglund has found a home in St. Louis this season

Monday, 01.12.2009 / 11:37 AM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com
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Berglund\'s Plan Working Out for the Best
After being unsure of himself and his pro career, Patrik Berglund came to camp confident, and it's showing in his game. (Photo by Mark Buckner).
Just like a child who needs training wheels before he can ride a bike, St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund needed training camp before he could ride the NHL roller coaster.

Berglund experienced camp with the Blues prior to the 2007-08 season, but the shy Swede had the mindset that he would be returning home come early October. He came back for his second go-round this past fall, this time with an outgoing personality and the intention of starting his NHL career.

The latter, Berglund believes, would never have happened without the former.

"Even if I had it in my mind to make the team (in 2007) I don't think I was ready," Berglund told NHL.com. "I needed to put on a lot of weight and grow into my position as a centerman. It was good for me to come here and then go home, have huge responsibility on my club team and have a great World Juniors. The game plan for me was pretty good."

Although the Blues would have liked him to believe he belonged last season, in hindsight Berglund knew best. He entered this season with the feeling that he is good enough for the NHL and he has fit right in. Due to the infirmary the Blues have been building at Scottrade Center, coach Andy Murray also has handed Berglund extra responsibility.

It hasn't stunted his growth one bit.

"Bergie's got scary skill," Blues captain Eric Brewer told NHL.com. He's third on the Blues and second among all rookies with 27 points on 13 goals and 14 assists through 35 games. On a team that has surrendered 18 more goals than they have scored, Berglund is remarkably a plus-12 and he has only 12 penalty minutes.

"I remember him two springs ago when I met him. He was the typical Swedish player," Murray told NHL.com. "I said to him, 'What are your plans here?' He said, 'Well, I hope to play in the NHL in four or five years.' So, I said, 'Then you’ll be good for the next coach here, but I'd like you to speed that process up.'

"It's a little bit of the Swedish mentality that they are going to go home and take their time, but he has definitely matured mentally, socially and physically in particular. His play last year at the World Juniors made him feel pretty good about himself."

Berglund put up 7 points in six games for the silver-medal Swedes in the Czech Republic last year. He totaled 54 points in 46 games for his club team, Vasteras, in Sweden's second league.

 Berglund a 'YoungStar'
Blues rookie Patrik Berglund was selected to participate in the NHL YoungStars Game on Saturday, Jan. 24. The game pits some of the league's best rookies against its best sophomores. Tune in at 5 p.m. on VERSUS on Jan. 24.
He then came right to St. Louis raring to go.

Berglund paid his own way to work out at the Blues' complex for three weeks in June and moved to St. Louis for good in August. A month later, he was a dominant player for the Blues at the Red Wings prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich.

Berglund told NHL.com in Traverse City that he came to St. Louis early in order to gain some weight, mature and figure out how to live on his own in the United States. He lived on his own in Sweden for one year, but that was still his comfort zone.

"In the beginning you just compare everything to Sweden. Even the rink isn't like what it is in Sweden," Berglund said. "You have to get used to things. I want to live here for 10 to 15 years so I have to do the best I can to feel comfortable."

Berglund credits his teammates for helping him in that department.

During the summer, he was taken out to dinner by some of the veterans who trained with him, and this season he has leaned on guys like Keith Tkachuk and injured forwards Andy McDonald and Paul Kariya.

"First of all, I'm a European and we kind of sometimes don't play as hard as we have to, so they are telling me to always keep up the intensity, never stop skating, be smart, and help your teammates with support," Berglund said. "It's those things that I never really thought about back in the day, to help out teammates and come with the support and stuff like that. They have also told me to have a good head, to always think you're going to win every battle you go into. That's been key for me, to have that with me when I go on the ice. I really think I'm going to win every battle now."

Berglund's development has been a bright spot in a dreary season. The Blues are in last place in the Central Division, and already six of them -- Kariya (hip), Brewer (back), McDonald (leg), Erik Johnson (knee), Chris Mason (appendectomy) and D.J. King (elbow) -- have been on the operating table.

"You don't like to be a loser," Berglund said. "Even if you play good in a couple of games, we're still losing so you can't enjoy it. I haven't gotten any satisfaction yet."

Maybe not, but he is content with his ice time.

The injuries, particularly to McDonald and Kariya, have enabled Berglund to average around 16 minutes per game, including more than three minutes on the power play while skating with Tkachuk, Brad Boyes, David Perron and Carlo Colaiacovo.

"You get used to much more when you have a lot of minutes on the ice," Berglund said. "I have to keep going as I am right now and when the guys come back we can be really good. We can have three really good scoring lines."

Until then, Berglund will continue to ride through his new terrain. He played in a career-high 52 games combined last season, but he has already played in 35 this season. As long as he doesn't catch the injury bug he will wind up playing in north of 70 games in the greatest league in the world.

His production could wane in the second half, but Berglund knows he belongs now, which means he's already conquered one important challenge.

"Sometimes when we have back-to-back games you feel tired, but it's up in your head that you need to be thinking strong and thinking it's going to be fine," Berglund said. "I never played an 82-game schedule so I can't say anything about it. Right now I feel good and I'm going to keep going as hard as I can the whole season.

"I'm not just happy to be an NHL player. I want to be one of the best."




1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56


V. Tarasenko 77 37 36 27 73
A. Steen 74 24 40 8 64
J. Schwartz 75 28 35 13 63
D. Backes 80 26 32 7 58
T. Oshie 72 19 36 17 55
P. Stastny 74 16 30 5 46
A. Pietrangelo 81 7 39 -2 46
J. Lehtera 75 14 30 21 44
K. Shattenkirk 56 8 36 19 44
P. Berglund 77 12 15 -2 27
B. Elliott 26 14 3 .917 2.26
J. Allen 22 7 4 .913 2.28

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