Bergeron on injury: 'It's very disappointing'

Bergeron on injury: 'It's very disappointing'

BRIGHTON, Mass – The book on Patrice Bergeron’s toughness and a high tolerance for pain has many chapters, and another one was written last weekend as he essentially played back-to-back games with a fractured right foot.

The Bruins center was hit in the foot with a clearing attempt in the first period of the loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday. He played the rest of the game and the loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday before getting a full diagnosis. An X-ray in Toronto Saturday didn’t reveal any fracture, so Bergeron and the B’s assumed it was a bone bruise or a bad contusion. A CT scan of his right foot on Monday revealed a fractured right foot, and No. 37 will miss at least two weeks, and possibly more, as the Bruins prepare for the final six weeks of the regular season.

Riley Nash is expected to take Bergeron’s spot in the lineup between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak as he did at the morning skate on Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena. Newly acquired Tommy Wingels will be added to the lineup for tonight’s home date against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

For a player in Bergeron that was in the middle of his best NHL season and vying for Hart Trophy consideration, the injury is a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

"It's very disappointing, to say the least,” admitted Bergeron as he maneuvered the Bruins dressing room with a pair of crutches. “It was tough news to hear [on Monday] night. In the first period [in Toronto] on a clearing attempt [the puck] hit my ankle and I wasn't expecting it.

“You never want to step away from it. You always want to feel like you’re a part of it and you’re contributing. It’s going to be tough tonight to be on the sidelines and to not be out there with the guys. I have two weeks where there’s not much I can do. Patience is the key word and heal quickly with lots of prayers. So that’s what is going on with me.”

As first reported on, Bergeron walked out of the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night wearing a protective boot, and that was the first sign that something might not be quite right with the B’s franchise center. Still, he gutted through Sunday while clearing moving around gingerly on the right foot. Bergeron said it was a bad sign that the pain continued to remain intense even after a couple of days.

“Yesterday it was still pretty sore. Usually, things like that go away after a little bit, and it was there with me [on Sunday] the entire time. I spoke to the doctors and we decided to take another image, and it revealed that it was fractured,” said Bergeron. “We’re going to reassess in two weeks and see what comes out of it. I want to be back out there as soon as possible.

“I want to make sure I’m back and fully healthy. Our goal is to get into the playoffs and have a long run. Obviously [Don Sweeney] has made that statement as well with the acquisitions he’s made. It’s my goal as well. Time will tell. I want to make sure I’m healthy and ready to go, and able to help my team. But at the same time, I want to get back out there as quickly as possible.”

This will be nothing new for the Bruins after they endured a wave of injuries at the beginning of the season, including Bergeron for the first couple of games. They know the drill when it comes to grinding through the adversity. It won’t be easy without their best player, but they will need to find a way in the final 22 games of the season.

“He was in the discussion for the MVP of the league, so obviously [the absence] is going to hurt. But we were through this earlier in the year where we needed different guys to step up,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “We don’t expect one person to replace [Bergeron]. It will be done by committee, and that includes his linemates in [Marchand] and [Pastrnak]. They’ll need to understand they need to tighten up a little bit. 
“They’ll need to do their part in the 200-foot game. On the power play [David] Backes will probably play the bumper, so it’s not falling all on Riley Nash. And then we’ll go from there. [Tommy] Wingels has [penalty] killed, so we add him to the mix and Rick Nash has killed as well. We’ll make it up with those two players for the most part. That’s how we plan on doing it.”

It won’t be easy, of course, and it’s too bad that Bergeron’s brilliant season will be interrupted by an injury. Still, both Bergeron and the B’s are fortunate this type of thing happened with six weeks to go in the regular season rather than two weeks to go. The expectation is that a fully healthy No. 37 will be ready to go well ahead of the postseason after a little late-season  R&R that might not turn out to be the worst thing in the world for him.  


Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.