BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins didn’t use the “setback” word, but it appears that Patrice Bergeron isn’t closing in on a return for the Black and Gold.
The Bruins center has missed the first two games with a mysterious lower-body injury suffered in practice during training camp, and was absent from practice again on Tuesday afternoon. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Bergeron has been ruled out for Wednesday night’s game against the Avalanche, but the hope is that he’ll be able to return by the weekend with back-to-back games against Arizona Coyotes and the Vegas Golden Knights.
It feels like it would be asking a lot of a player just getting over an injury to play in back-to-back games, so that would leave Sunday in Vegas a vague target date for Bergeron’s return. All that being said, the updates coming from Cassidy about Bergeron’s status don’t really sound all that encouraging in terms of the 32-year-old getting back into games soon.
“Obviously [Bergeron] didn’t skate today and he’s out [vs. Colorado], but we’re aiming for the weekend. I don’t know ‘it’s gotten worse’ is the right way to put it, I would guess that it hasn’t responded well to treatment would be a good way to put it,” said Cassidy. “We want to be cautious, but we don’t want it to be him chasing it all year, so let’s give him the appropriate amount of time. As you know, that could change if the urgency level of everything goes up. We’re not trying to hide anything here. It’s just, he’s not 100 percent, doesn’t feel ready, so we’re going to give him the time that’s needed.”
The absence is certainly having an impact on the Bruins, who have tried both Ryan Spooner and Riley Nash in Bergeron’s center spot between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Clearly, No. 37 has also been missed during special teams play where they don’t have anybody that can adequately play his bumper position on the power play, or kill with Marchand while utilizing their hard-earned chemistry together.
Worse still, Marchand has just two shots on net in the first two games of the season without Bergeron, and is having difficulty generating his own offense without old, reliable No. 37 by his side. Bergeron’s return could have a positive impact on many of these areas, but it all depends on his health level and just how long of a time period the Bruins have to go without their best all-around player.