Todd Bergen had everything it took to be a great hockey player, except for one thing - desire. That was taken away by a young Mike Keenan - the controversial tyrant of an NHL coach.
The following season Bergen was playing with the Flyers farm team in Hershey, averaging a point a game. Late in the season Bergen was called up and was the talk of the league, setting the NHL on fire. Bergen scored 11 goals and 16 points in just 14 games! He worked really well with 50 goal man Tim Kerr on the power play, notching 3 of his 11 goals on the power play. Another 3 of his goals were game winners! The 6'2" center had a good shot and outstanding hockey sense. He was above average defensively for a player of his experience, and good on faceoffs as well.
Bergen continued his strong play into the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had an outstanding first playoff, especially considering this year wouldn't count as his rookie year! He scored 4 goals and 13 points in 17 post season contests. He helped the Flyers get deep into the playoffs, and left the fans and team excited about there new found star.
However that would prove to be Bergen's only stint in the NHL. He was suspended the following fall when he refused to report to training camp for "personal reasons." Speculation was that Bergen did not like demanding head coach Mike Keenan.
During his short but spectacular stint in Philadelphia, Bergen suffered a lower abdominal pull.
"When I came back, I was ordered to do extra workouts, then practice, then work on weights and on
the exercise bike. The problem is, I'm not sure Mike Keenan thought I had been legitimately hurt." said Bergen.
"After that, there wasn't a day went by when that man didn't have something sarcastic or ignorant to say to me. I think he might have done that to different players, too, but in the last 33 games, I was the guy. It bothered me. I never used to sleep much at night. "
"When the playoffs started, I led the team in scoring against the Rangers and I only played the first two games. I had three goals and two assists. Then I only played three shifts in the third game. Keenan said to me before that game that I had the worst warm-up he'd ever seen. There was no other explanation given. Then I never played at all against Quebec or Edmonton. And Keenan drilled me in the press...he told me that my offensive game didn't fit in with the team's defensive game. "
During Bergen's holdout, he pursued a career in professional golf. There was much speculation that Bergen was just demanding a trade to get away from Keenan, to which general manager Bob Clarke replied "Who am I gonna trade him for - Lee Trevino?"
Eventually Bergen was traded with Ed Hospodar to Minnesota for Dave Richter and Bo Berglund in 1985. However Bergen never played for Minnesota. He was felled by a groin injury and later the same painful abdominal injury before even getting into one game. He did appear AHL in 1986-87, playing just 27 games, but soon gave up hockey to concentrate on golf.