BRIGHTON, Mass – One of the Black and Gold’s signature faces won’t be on the nearly two-week Bruins trip to China in September as Patrice Bergeron confirmed Friday afternoon he’ll be staying in Boston while recovering from summer groin surgery.
Bergeron had the procedure in June after a tear in his groin never fully healed in the weeks following the B's playoff defeat. He started back on the ice in August after taking a month plus off to recover. The Bruins play preseason games in China Sept. 15 and 19.
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The Bruins franchise center said his goal is to be fully healthy for Opening Night Oct. 3 in Washington against the Stanley Cup-champion Capitals and perhaps get into a preseason game or two as training camp winds down. Regardless of whether its preseason or the opener, Bergeron is hopeful that the groin issues he’s battled the past few seasons are now fully gone.
“I’m starting to feel better on the ice now, and I’m starting to increase the workload in the gym as well. Slowly, but surely, I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron, 33, who spent more than an hour on the Warrior Arena ice Friday morning at Bruins captain's practice. “The fact that the surgery was done in June set me back a little bit...Pretty much all of July I was rehabbing and all that, so I’m a little bit behind. But I’m still shooting to be ready for Game 1 of the season on opening night. That’s the goal right now.”
Hindsight being 20/20, Bergeron might have been a little ahead of the game if he’d immediately undergone the surgery at the end of Boston’s May playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s what I wanted...That’s why I took a couple of weeks to see where things were at,” Bergeron said of taking a few weeks after the playoffs to see if the groin injury would heal on its own. “I started going back into the gym and it flared up right away, so we realized it was something that wasn’t going to go away on its own. You try to avoid the surgery at all costs, but it had to be [fixed] by surgery.
“Of course, looking back on it, I would have liked to do it right away. But talking to the training staff and the doctors, there was a chance it could go either way and unfortunately, it stayed and got worse. It’s always easy to say things looking back, but you always try to avoid surgery. Now it should be done with and gone away, so I won’t have so many issues.”
Clearly, the hope is Bergeron can stay injury-free after missing a significant 18 games last season, a 20 percent chunk of the season that likely cost him another Selke Trophy and more consideration for the Hart Trophy. Still, Bergeron finished with 30 goals and 63 points in 64 games and the hope now is that the numbers will be better now that his groin maladies have been addressed surgically.