Bruins

Bergeron 'a little behind' after groin surgery, aiming for Oct. 3 opener

Bergeron 'a little behind' after groin surgery, aiming for Oct. 3 opener

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.

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.

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NHL Highlights: Torey Krug ties it to finish comeback but Bruins fall in OT

NHL Highlights: Torey Krug ties it to finish comeback but Bruins fall in OT

FINAL SCORE: Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3

IN BRIEF: The Bruins mounted a furious three-goal comeback in the third period to take the Blackhawks to overtime. Torey Krug notched the game-tying goal shortly after Chris Wagner cut the Blackhawks lead to one. The Blackhawks would win shortly into overtime, but the Bruins salvaged a point from the game and ensured their home point streak would stay alive.

BOX SCORE

BRUINS RECORD: 20-3-6 (46 points)

HIGHLIGHTS

RYAN CARPENTER STRIKES FIRST SHORTHANDED

DYLAN STROME MAKE IT 2-0 ON A CHICAGO POWER-PLAY

ALEX DEBRINCAT EXTENDS THE LEAD TO THREE

JOAKIM NORDSTROM TIPS HOME BRUINS FIRST GOAL

CHRIS WAGNER CUTS THE LEAD IN HALF

TOREY KRUG WITH THE IMPROBABLE GAME-TYING GOAL

JONATHAN TOEWS ENDS IT IN OVERTIME

UP NEXT:
Vs. Colorado Avalanche, Saturday, 7 p.m., NESN

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Why Bruins shouldn't pursue trade for Devils star Taylor Hall

Why Bruins shouldn't pursue trade for Devils star Taylor Hall

The Bruins have not consistently been massive players at the NHL trade deadline over their recent history, but they haven’t exactly been gun-shy either under general manager Don Sweeney. 

A couple of years ago, the Bruins tracked down one of the biggest deadline targets when they used a first-round pick and prospects to land Rick Nash in a move that ultimately didn’t work out. Last season, they bagged Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson in a pair of moves that helped them reach the Stanley Cup Final, and led to them signing Coyle to a six-year extension just a couple of weeks ago. 

Clearly Sweeney isn’t shy when his team has needs, even if he is absolutely reticent to trade first-round picks or top prospects unless it’s the kind of asset that fits into Boston’s long-term planning. 

So how does that play into this season’s top trade deadline target in New Jersey Devils winger and former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall? 

Undoubtedly the Bruins could use a player of Hall’s caliber as the big, skilled winger that David Krejci has been looking for on his line for the last couple of seasons. It would force the Bruins to rearrange things a little bit, of course, whether it's shifting Jake DeBrusk down to the third line, or requiring one of Anders Bjork, Danton Heinen or DeBrusk to play on the right side rather than the left. 

But those are minor adjustments when it comes to a 28-year-old who's just a couple of years removed from 39 goals and 93 points on his way to the NHL’s MVP Award, and a player who could immediately give the Bruins two extremely dangerous offensive lines while handing Krejci the kind of experienced top goal-scorer he has been without since the days of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, Jarome Iginla, and even Loui Eriksson. 

The issues are two-fold with Hall, as they are with any number of big ticket items available at the deadline. The first issue would be the prohibitive cost for a player who's a former No. 1 overall pick and a Hart Trophy winner as well. The Devils would be seeking something along the lines of the Ottawa haul for Mark Stone (forward and D-man prospects along with a high draft pick).  

New Jersey is looking for first-round picks and top prospects with an eye toward defensemen after drafting Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier with high first-round picks in the last couple of years. The cost for the Bruins would be interesting given their organizational assets, and one has to wonder if young NHL roster players like Brandon Carlo, Bjork or DeBrusk would be in the crosshairs for the Devils organization. 

Would the Bruins be willing to give up a first-round pick, 2017 first-round pick Urho Vaakanainen and Anders Bjork in exchange for Hall? How about if it was Carlo and a second-round pick along with Jack Studnicka for a player in Hall who isn’t guaranteed to be sticking around in Boston after this season? Or DeBrusk, Vaakanainen and a second-round pick with it conditionally turning into a first-rounder if the Bruins can re-sign Hall following the conclusion of this current season? 

If the Bruins weren’t given assurances that Hall was willing to stay with Boston ahead of acquiring him, it would be a steep price to pay for a player who would be tasting unrestricted free agency for the first time in his NHL career while still in his prime. 

That brings up one of the other issues: the cost in salary cap damage. 

Hall is in the last year of a contract that pays him $6 million per season, but is due for a substantial raise based on his Hart Trophy season. How much of a raise will depend on how the rest of the current season goes for a player who has four goals and 22 points in 27 games thus far. Hall is on pace for just 12 goals and 67 points, and numbers like those coming off 11 goals and 37 points last season aren’t screaming out max contract to many NHL teams. 

Still, they would likely have to pay him at least as much as their highest paid player (David Krejci at $7.25 million if not more) given his body of work, his age and the amount of demand there will be for him around the NHL if he hits free agency. Given that the Bruins have Torey Krug, DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, Zdeno Chara and Jaroslav Halak among others up for contracts following this season, it sure doesn’t feel like the right time for the Bruins to add another massive piece to their group, despite the desperate need for a top-6 sniper. 

These past two seasons should also be a warning sign to potentially interested teams like the Bruins that Hall is on the downslide of his career as he approaches 30 years old, and that his 2017-18 Hart Trophy season might be as good as it gets for a player who never consistently lived up to the hype. 

For all those reasons, it’s the right call for the Bruins to take a pass on Hall with teams like the Canadiens, Canucks, Avalanche and others in even better position to surrender the moon in order to bring on New Jersey’s slumping star.

Sometimes it’s about being the right fit, at the right time for the right price for an NHL team in big-time trades — and none of those things seem to be aligned for the Bruins and Hall. 

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