Bruins

Is it time to start getting worried about Bergeron's lower body injury?

Is it time to start getting worried about Bergeron's lower body injury?

Is it time to get nervous about Patrice Bergeron if you’re a Bruins fan?

Maybe so.

Bergeron, 35, took the ice at the Prudential Center in New Jersey for the Tuesday morning skate ahead of the game against the New Jersey Devils and he was declared a game-time decision. Bruce Cassidy said that Bergeron would take the warm-up and then decide his availability.

"He felt a lot better today, but I don’t want to confirm it just yet,” Bruce Cassidy said to reporters in New Jersey after the morning skate. Cassidy was then asked if they might be a little careful about playing Bergeron in back-to-back situations when he does come back. “It’ll be his call. He’s been around a long time. He knows his body better than we do, so we’ll talk about it. Obviously, I wouldn’t say it automatically that we would do it, but it’s something we’d have to consider so that he’s as healthy as possible going forward.

“We talked about that this summer. We talked about that with a few players because of the long playoff run last year. We may have to look into that.”

Instead, Bergeron missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury suffered last weekend and all are left to wonder if it’s for precautionary reasons against a bottom-feeder New Jersey team, or if it’s because the old groin problems have cropped up for him again. The mere fact that Bergeron missed the warm-up after the Bruins expected him to take it this morning, is a warning sign that the injury didn't respond as they were hoping it would. 

Certainly, a “load management” type plan with Bergeron would be smart as the B's hope to have him at his level best when it matters most down the stretch and into the playoffs, where last spring the groin issues dogged him in the  Stanley Cup Final.

The concern is that Bergeron could possibly again be dealing with the groin issue that over the summer needed a PRP (blood-platelet plasma) injection to get him healthy for training camp. If that is indeed the case, and it appeared to be when he tweaked his lower body while getting hauled down on an offensive zone face-off on a second-period power play in Toronto, then this might be something the Bruins and Bergeron will have to manage going forward.

That seemingly is the only thing that could slow down the Bruins, who sit atop the Atlantic Division at 13-3-5, and a Perfection Line that’s been routinely dominating opponents the first month-plus of the season.

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Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (lower body) out Saturday against Colorado Avalanche

Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (lower body) out Saturday against Colorado Avalanche

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins will continue to be without Patrice Bergeron this weekend, but the B’s top center is making progress with his lower-body injury.

Bergeron, 34, took a positive step by participating in practice with his teammates for the first time since being injured on Friday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, though he was wearing a no-contact sweater and didn’t really mix in with his normal linemates for drills. Bruce Cassidy confirmed following practice that Bergeron won’t play Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche, but remained hopeful he may return early next week barring any setbacks.

“[He’s wearing] a red sweater; that’s good. He participated in some line rushes, but it wasn’t a heavy contact practice,” said Cassidy. “He won’t play [against Colorado], but once you have the red sweater on you’re that much closer. Monday [against Ottawa] now becomes more of a target date for us if there are no setbacks.”

It will mark the seventh straight game that Bergeron has missed with his lower-body injury and the ninth game of the past 11 games that he’s missed due to the nagging injury. The amazing thing: The Bruins have gone 6-0-2 thus far without Bergeron and have done a pretty good job of getting by having David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and others fill into his many different roles on the ice. 

Brett Ritchie skated in line drills and appears close to a return, but it remains to be seen which forward he might replace in the lineup. 

Here are the projected line combos and defense pairings based on practice Friday ahead of the big non-conference tilt Saturday against eth talented, explosive Avs:

Marchand-Coyle-Heinen

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Nordstrom-Kuraly-Wagner

Bjork-Lindholm-Ritchie

 

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Moore-Grzelcyk

 

Rask

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John Moore returns to Bruins lineup, and shows the way to stand up for David Pastrnak

John Moore returns to Bruins lineup, and shows the way to stand up for David Pastrnak

BOSTON – John Moore didn’t expect to get into a fight in his first game back from major shoulder surgery over the summer.

But somebody had to step up and step in with other teams taking runs at David Pastrnak the past couple of weeks, and it was Moore that did just that after Zack Smith blew up the NHL’s leading scorer with a borderline high hit in the third period of the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Blackhawks at TD Garden. 

Smith handled Moore pretty easily in the ensuing altercation and it looked like the Bruins defenseman thought he re-injured his shoulder as he skated back to the dressing room afterward.

Still, the message was sent by Moore that the opposition wasn’t going to make it open season on Boston’s game-breaking right winger without paying a price for it. That says something about Moore in his first game back after missing the first 28 games with a grueling rehab from shoulder surgery, but it also says something about the rest of the Bruins that a guy coming off shoulder surgery was the one that had to finally do it.

“You can’t say enough about him, right? Here he is, coming off of shoulder surgery and obviously it’s a reaction thing. He’s not thinking about anything other than protecting his teammates. So, that just tells you all you need to know about his character,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Probably not the perfect guy in that situation coming off that injury, but good for him. He’ll earn a lot of respect in that locker room that he already had, but now even more.”

The good news for Moore was that his shoulder checked out okay after he finished with three shots on net, three hits and a couple of blocked shots in 16:11 of ice time. Still, more than any of the other plays in the game, Moore will be remembered for finally doing something about the runs teams have taken at Pastrnak while trying to slow him down offensively.

“I don’t know if it was the smartest decision in the world, but I saw somebody take liberty with [Pastrnak] and thought it was my turn,” said Moore. “I’m totally fine and no issues [with my shoulder]. I was right there, I saw [the hit] and I didn’t like it. I thought something needed to be done so I acted on it. That’s just the way I am. I thought it had to be addressed there.

“I was excited [to return]. I wasn’t going to need any extra motivation going into this game. If anything I was trying to calm myself down. When you take almost 30 games watching, you have a lot of time to reflect, appreciate and be grateful to be a Boston Bruins and play in the NHL. It’s something I don’t take for granted.”

Perhaps now other players on the Bruins roster will be ready to follow Moore's lead as it appears teams aren't going to stop taking liberties with Pastrnak as long as it’s working to slow him a little offensively.

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