Bruins

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 NBCSportsBoston.com, 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.  

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EA Sports trolls Bruins' Brad Marchand for bad shootout attempt vs. Flyers

EA Sports trolls Bruins' Brad Marchand for bad shootout attempt vs. Flyers

Will anyone ever forget Brad Marchand's horrible shootout attempt against the Philadelphia Flyers from January? Probably not.

EA Sports is the latest to get in on the fun of trolling the Boston Bruins winger, and they couldn't have done it in a better way. In their NHL 20 update version 1.6.0 patch notes, EA Sports fixed an issue for every player in the game besides Marchand. 

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"Fixed a case where players other than Marchand would lose the puck at the start of a penalty shot," the patch notes said, according to gamerevolution.com.

That's pretty comical, and it seems that just about everyone is getting their jabs in at Marchand amid the coronavirus outbreak. In their last game before the NHL hit pause on the season even Gritty, the Flyers mascot, took the opportunity to bash Marchand. 

If the B's pesky winger gets word of EA Sport's latest update, it'll be interesting to see if he chirps back via Twitter.

Hagg Bag mailbag: How to restore hockey when it's safe to come out again

Hagg Bag mailbag: How to restore hockey when it's safe to come out again

We are now entering our second month of social distancing and self-quarantining and there isn’t a hockey game to be seen on the horizon. 

Maybe the NHL will start up again in June or July if things go exceedingly well. Maybe they will gather all healthy and tested players, officials and essential personnel in one location for a controlled playoff tournament that would be pretty amazing? 

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

At this point, there is no way of knowing what the NHL is going to do and when we will next see hockey, but the Hagg Bag mailbag is still here to entertain and answer any questions.

As always these are real questions from real readers on Twitter using the #HaggBag hashtag, real messages to my NBCS Facebook fan page and real emails to my @JHaggerty@nbcuni.com email address. Now, on to the bag:  

Bruins opening night roster for next season? Stay safe Haggs!

--edmarshall723 (@edmarshall723)

JH: We’re already moving on to next season, eh? I kid. I kid. I suspect it won’t be all that demonstrably different from what we saw when the season was put on pause. I’m going to run under the assumption that Torey Krug isn’t going to be back based on the salary cap numbers likely dropping instead of rising next season with a chunk of this regular season canceled. It’s not a done deal by any means, but I just don’t think the Bruins are going to have a lot of cap space to deal with. And they still have to sign their own restricted free agent in Jake DeBrusk. So, here’s my stab at opening night lineup for next year:

Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Kase

Bjork-Coyle-Ritchie

Blidh-Kuraly-Wagner

 
Chara-McAvoy

Grzelcyk-Carlo

Moore-Lauzon

 
Rask

Vladar

I don’t think Joakim Nordstrom will be back, and Kevan Miller, in the last year of his contract, may not ever return to play after being out for about a year. I suspect the Bruins are going to want a younger option in Vladar, 22, backing up Tuukka Rask to gauge whether he might be the future No. 1 guy for the B’s should Rask decide to ride off into the sunset after the 2020-21 season.


Just curious but if they don't finish the season how would they determine draft standings? Would they still have a lottery? Would they just go by the last days standings? Will they even have a draft? What's gonna happen to teams that give up draft picks for rentals who would be RFAs?

--Al Volante (Message via NBCS Facebook fan page)

JH: They would have to hold a draft. I’d imagine they would go by winning percentage on the last-day standings before the season was paused, so the Bruins would have the final pick in the first round. 

It’s not really perfect by any means, but it’s probably the fairest way to do it while still holding a lottery for the bottom 10 teams. All of the little details would need to be ironed out with the draft and free agency most likely pushed back into the summer, but it’s all a fluid situation right now. 

The most optimistic plan for the NHL would be holding a playoff in July and August, pushing the offseason to September and October and then kick-starting the 2020-21 regular season sometime in November with a fairly normal regular-season afterward. That would be the absolutely best scenario if everything falls into place across our country. I’m not even sure that’s going to be possible at this point, though.

Here's my take - we are in an unprecedented time and in an effort to primarily avoid having a 1-month offseason and then a full 2020-21 schedule, I feel that there should be a 12-team format (eliminate the wild cards). 

We have to get past this "fairness" crap, because again, having a two-month playoff in August and September is simply too long. Nothing anyone can do about the times we live in, but it's too much to have the final 5 teams having a month offseason. In addition, you can also realistically re-schedule the draft, FA, awards, etc. without the season starting a month later. How this would work is all series are 7 games. You would have the 4 division winners on a bye, the other 2 teams in each division play each other for the right to go to the Conference Final.

This would mean Boston, Washington & St. Louis (more on that in a bit) and Vegas would have the byes. The first series would be (again, more on this) TB-TOR, PHI-PIT, COL-DAL, EDM-CAL. Those winners face each other in the Conference Final and then the Stanley Cup. Having 3 rounds could be done in 6 weeks. If you started a camp on July 1, playoffs start July 15 and end around the end of August. Awards & draft happen the 1st week of Sept. FA begins on Sept 15. 2020-21 season begins Nov 15. Playoffs for next season starts April 30 Now, in terms of the matchups, Boston and Vegas have a large enough lead that 1 game wouldn't change the winner.

However, Washington and St. Louis are only 1-2 points ahead of Philly & Colorado, respectively. In addition, Winnipeg is only 1 point away from Dallas. PIT, TOR, and CAL are locked into 3rd place in their divisions. So, for playoff seeding, you have ONE game prior to the playoffs starting for WASH-PHI, STL-COL, and WPG-DAL. If PHI, COL and/or WPG wins they get the division lead and bye or in WPG's case, the 3rd place spot over DAL. I leave out the other teams because, for instance, if one game were to be played, CAR couldn't catch PIT, because PIT is 5 pts up and CAR has only played 1 less game.

I understand that this would have blowback, but let's face it, any potential playoff scenario would face criticism from fans because an equal number of games have not been played. And as mentioned, the likelihood of regular-season games being played is becoming less likely each day. You have to draw the line somewhere.

--Anders Johnson (Message via NBCS Facebook fan page)

JH: I respect the thought you put into it, Anders. But there’s no way you can have any teams on “byes” at the start of the playoffs. Do you realize how much of a disadvantage a team such as the Bruins would have headed into a second-round playoff series while facing a team that had just capped off a five- or seven-game playoff series?

 It would take them two or three games just to ramp up to that level after sitting around and it would almost certainly end with them losing the playoff series while being punished as the higher seed. There would be no benefit to a bye of any kind for any teams in this playoff format. 

The best thing they could do is two rounds of five-game playoff series, then do seven games for the conference final and Stanley Cup Final. They could do that in roughly six weeks after starting in mid-July and wrap up right around Sept. 1. They could then take all of September and October off and then ramp up for a Nov. 15-ish start to the 2020-21 regular season.

Don’t forget in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, the last day of the Cup Final between the Bruins and Blackhawks was June 24. The league essentially just took two months off in July and August and then came right back to work in September the following season. And it would only be two teams that would come up a little short on their rest between seasons. 

All of this may not even be possible, but it’s the best-case scenario to get in the rest of this season and then look ahead to “a normal season” next year.

Strikes [me] that the Bruins two new additions haven't really gelled with the team. If hockey comes back, do you think it will be a problem for them in playoffs? (and lets hope Ritchie is using the time off to do Chara's workout regime)

--David Sheedy (@Devilish21ca)

JH: Ondrej Kase hadn’t played in almost a month due to a concussion injury prior to getting traded to the Bruins, so he was just getting back into midseason form when things were put on pause. Nick Ritchie seemed to just be finding his legs and his style of play while getting moved around the B’s lineup.

They definitely hadn’t jelled, but now everybody is going to be in the same boat when hockey gets going again. So, I don’t think it will be a problem specific to new guys such as Kase and Ritchie as much as it will be an issue for every player. 

Right now most NHL guys have a stationary bike, dumbbells and maybe a swimming pool to train while in quarantine. Almost nobody is skating, so you will have a mass of hockey players that haven’t skated in months by the time things get going again. 

That is going to turn into some very rusty, sloppy hockey when things do get going again…whenever that is going to be. That will be as much of a challenge as whatever the ice conditions might be if the NHL tries to hold the Stanley Cup playoffs in July and August.

Thoughts on Clone Wars Season 7 on Disney+ so far? #HaggBag

--Alissa (@CurvyMermaid617)

JH: I have not seen it yet as I hadn’t really watched all of the Clone Wars in the past. But I do now have a ton of free time. So I will be watching after I bought “The Rise of Skywalker” on the first day it was available on-demand. We are desperate for entertainment in the Haggerty house. Stay safe everybody and we’ll talk again soon!