BOSTON -- For the second straight year, the Bruins might be without their best player to start the regular season.
Patrice Bergeron wasn’t on the ice for Wednesday’s run-through practice at TD Garden, and is questionable for Thursday night’s season opener against Nashville after staying off the ice in three of the last four days. Bergeron’s only appearance was at Tuesday morning's practice, when he had to cut things short midway through because of a lower body injury. Ryan Spooner stepped into Bergeron’s spot between Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork on Wednesday.
“There is [a question mark] simply because he didn’t skate today,” coach Bruce Cassidy said Wednesday. “He’s still day-to-day. I can’t predict tomorrow how it’s going to be. We hope it’s a minor setback, but there is concern simply because he doesn’t skate today. We’re rather him do whatever he can . . . take the extra day and try to get him ready for tomorrow. Taking some more time off is fine, but we’ll have a better idea in the morning obviously.”
As most Bruins fans will remember, Bergeron missed the first three games of last season with a lower body injury that eventually required sports hernia surgery following the season. Last season’s initial injury was believed to be an ankle problem that eventually led to the sports hernia, and negatively impacted Bergeron’s explosive skating ability throughout the season.
Bergeron said his current injury isn’t related to his offseason surgery, and that’s good news on one level. But one has to wonder if the 32-year-old is beginning to break down a little bit physically after 14 seasons of heavy-duty usage.
David Backes was also missing from Wednesday’s skate because he was feeling under the weather. The sense is there’s a better chance of seeing Backes than Bergeron on Thursday night, but there will be a better update after morning skate on Thursday.
Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday morning’s practice: