WILMINGTON, Mass. Everyones greatest fears were realized Saturday morning as Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced to the gathered media that center Patrice Bergeron would miss at least the beginning of the Tampa Bay series with a mild concussion.This weekend's brain injury is Bergeron's third concussion during a promising NHL career for the 25 year-old that's beenmarred by the NHL epidemic.He went into the Quiet Room after he was hit, was assessed by our doctors, took the NHL-modified SCAT II test and was deemed unable to return. But what Im told is that the concussion is mild, said Chiarelli, who said he hadnt checked in with Bergeron again as he was still sleeping on Saturday morning. When I spoke with him after the game he was a little despondent, but he was quite lucid. He was despondent having suffered another concussion. It was just okay.Thats where that stands. We have an injury now, so well see how our depth gets tested.Bergeron went home after the game and didnt stay overnight at the hospital given the mildness of the head injury, and the fact the Bs center was relatively clear-headed after the game. He still has yet to visit with a neurologist and get a diagnosis from any kind of specialist.With a mild concussion theres a minimum of 7-10 days missed by the players, so Bergeron would miss at least the first couple of games against the Lightning, after posting 12 points in 11 playoff games and winning over 64 percent of his face-offs during the postseason.The Bs two-way center and their best player during the playoffs was felled by a late Claude Giroux hit in the opening minutes of the third period during Game Four at TD Garden when the two teams were still battling in a 1-1 tie game. Bergeron took three strides after passing the puck away in his defensive zone before Giroux leveled him with a shoulder to the head area, and the center slammed his head hard against the ice after the collision. Chiarelli admitted that he felt the Giroux hit was a shade late, but given the speed of the game and the level of competition in the playoffs that it was something the Bruins would have to live with. Its tough to tell. I did have a brief discussion with the league on it, and it was a tough one to gauge that speed, said Chiarelli, who doubted there would be any supplemental discipline against Giroux.Chiarelli said that the latest concussion didnt grade out as severely as the one suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes on a Dennis Seidenberg hit during the 2008-09 season that kept Bergeron out of the lineup for a month. But the Bs center was expected to miss at least the first couple of games against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.Youre obviously missing a key character component and a key leadership component in Bergeron, but theres been a growing element of leadership from a lot of different places in the room, said Chiarelli.
Its likely Tyler Seguin will be inserted into the lineup in Bergerons absence after not having taken a single shift since an April 10 loss to the New Jersey Devils in the regular season finale, and Chiarelli said its up to the 19-year-old rookie to fill the void after sitting out the first two rounds of the playoffs.Its a discussion that weve had with the coaching staff and our group, said Chiarelli. We feel Seguin deserves a chance and hes been working quite hard in practice. Well see where he fits in the lineup. Hes really put his nose to the grindstone in practice and watching from above hes picked up the intensity and tenacity of the games. Plus hell give us an offensive boost also.Bergeron missed nearly the entire 2007-08 season after suffering an October concussion against the Flyers when Randy Jones crushed him in the corner on a vicious hit, and then missed time a year later when a collision with Seidenberg gave him his second career concussion.The Bruins have really hit their first injury adversity of the playoffs with Bergeron going down, and the response against the Lightning will be telling.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs