Bruins

Patrice Bergeron's groin injury 'still lingering a bit' with training camp days away

Patrice Bergeron's groin injury 'still lingering a bit' with training camp days away

BOLTON, Mass. — At this point there shouldn’t be any alarm bells going off, but the medical news on Patrice Bergeron wasn’t altogether encouraging either.

The 34-year-old Bruins center said that his balky groin is still “nagging him” with the start of training camp just a few days away, and Bergeron also confirmed that he needed a PRP shot over the summer to address the situation. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient's own blood platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.

Bergeron said he’s played the last few years through nagging groin problems and he’s hoping that the PRP treatment will once and for all address the situation. No. 37 said he’s not concerned about his readiness for opening night in October, and said it’s something he may have to play through for the rest of his career if the current treatment doesn’t fully alleviate the situation.

“It’s still a question where I’m not sure if I’m going to be limited [at the start of camp],” said Bergeron, who said the groin issue was also hampering him in the Stanley Cup Final against the Blues. “I feel better, but it’s still lingering a little bit. It’s been there most of the summer. I got a PRP shot in July and I’m slowly ramping it up on the ice. It’s what we’re trying to shoot for is more October than this Thursday.

“[The groin issues have] been going on for a few years now and something we talked about over the summer was being able to put it in the past. I should be able to play through it. It’s been there for a long time. With the PRP shot we hope that it’s one of those things where it takes some time for it to work. It’s getting better but it’s still there a little bit. I’m feeling good and I’m feeling positive that I’ll definitely be ready for the start of the season. That’s not even an issue.”

The good news is that Bergeron seems unconcerned about starting the season and continuing in his role as the team’s No. 1 center and most important two-way player in the lineup.

Certainly it’s a concern that the groin is bothering Bergeron after getting more than two months to recover this summer, but it’s also unclear how much is related to the time he needed to stay off the ice after getting the injection in July.

Bergeron missed 17 games due to injuries during the regular season, but still put together 32 goals and a career-high 79 points before posting another nine goals and 17 points in 24 games during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was pretty clear that Bergeron had been slowed a bit by the groin problems during the postseason, and he’s now missed 35 games over the last two seasons with injuries after logging some heavy miles over his 15-season NHL career.

The hope is that his current treatment will alleviate the groin issues for good, but the reality is that Bergeron might have to simply play through this nagging issue after logging 1,028 games and counting in his outstanding NHL career.

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Brad Marchand on the shootout whiff: 'You’ve got to have fun with it'

Brad Marchand on the shootout whiff: 'You’ve got to have fun with it'

PITTSBURGH – Brad Marchand is still on pace for 35 goals and 107 points and he’s one of the best players in the league, so his expression and his words don’t betray much of a lack of confidence. The 31-year-old winger has been through slumps and tough times before, and he’ll undoubtedly go through them again.

But Marchand also hopes that his empty net goal at the end of Thursday night’s win over the Penguins represents an escape from a current slump that’s seen him score just three goals since the beginning of December. And so does his head coach.

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“I think he’s fighting it and he’d be the first to admit it. The puck is not cooperating with like he’d like it to, and that’s aside from the [missed] shootout. That’s in general,” said Bruce Cassidy. “When he’s in all alone the pucks are bounding when he thinks they are going to be flat and that can get on your nerves a little bit. You think you’ve got to flatten a puck when it’s already flat and there goes your time and space.

“Every player can have those moments, especially when you are handling the puck a lot. But he’s looked good [the last few days] and hopefully that translates.”

It has also seen him tweet out a self-aware message that he’s searching for a pair of “hands that have either been lost or stolen” and hopes they be returned to TD Garden.

“You’ve got to have fun with it. I’m not happy with missing a breakaway and missing a shootout, especially with the game on the line,” said Marchand. “But [expletive] happens. We’re in the middle of January. We’re not in the playoffs or anything like that. We’re in a good position as a team and one of the top teams in the league right now.”

Given that the offensive downturn has also included Marchand completely whiffing on a shootout attempt earlier this week as well in a loss to the Flyers, he felt it was about time that he poked a little fun at himself.

“It just hasn’t gone in. That stuff happens. There was a stretch there where I was having bad games and the puck was still finding the back of the net, so it all evens itself out. It’s been a while since I had a stretch like this, but it happens, and it happens to everybody.

“You just play through it. There are other areas of the game you can focus on and play well. It’s nice to get one to up the confidence a little bit, but it’s going to come. I play with too good players and get put into too many good opportunities for it to not [come], so it’s just a matter of time.”

Now that the Bruins have won a game they played well in against the Penguins, Marchand felt like he could open up a little bit more about his mindset in the immediate aftermath of completely fanning on his shootout attempt. Given who he is within the world of the NHL, he knew he was going to hear about it and he absolutely did.

But he’s also looking at from the perspective of one of the best players in the world flubbing something on the ice. It happens from time to time even to the best ones, or the ones that opposing fan bases around the NHL are waiting to carve up.

“This stuff happens in hockey. [Connor] McDavid dumped the puck in the corner in a shootout and so did [John] Tavares,” said Marchand, who admitted he’s been battling some bumps and bruises that should get time to heal over the NHL All-Star break and bye week.

“They’re two of the best players in the league. Stuff happens to good players and you just battle through it. Not everybody is great every night. You need to laugh at yourself. I laugh at everybody else, so if you’re going to chirp people you need to take it and chirp yourself.

“Obviously everybody is looking for a reason to troll. Keyboard heroes or warriors, or whatever you want to call them. That’s part of it. They feel like they pay us to chirp us. It’s going to come.

"I can laugh at it too. It’s not a huge deal and it’s the same as if I just went down and missed it. It’s the same result. You just look at it in that context, and by the way my penalty shots have been going that’s what was going to happen either way. We have such short careers that you need to enjoy every day whether it’s a good or a bad day.”

Given that Marchand is talking about and snapped out of his scoreless stretch with the empty netter earlier this week, it stands to reason that the offense is going to return in pretty short order as well.

Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: How to watch NHL game online

Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: How to watch NHL game online

The Boston Bruins just beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night at the TD Garden. After the Penguins scored the opening goal just seconds into the contest, the Bruins roared back and scored four unanswered to earn the win.

Now, they'll have to bring forth that same type of energy in a hostile road environment.

The Bruins are taking on the Penguins at 12:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon in a marquee afternoon clash at the PPG Paints Arena.

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The Penguins (30-13-5) sit at second place in the Metropolitan division behind only the Washington Capitals, a team that has the most points in the NHL. Pittsburgh is coming off a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night that will serve as a palate cleanser for the team.

Meanwhile, the Bruins (28-9-12) are coming off the win against the Penguins and have posted a modest 5-2-3 record in their last 10 games. They've made some roster changes in the past week with Brett Ritchie and David Backes being waived while Tuukka Rask is dealing with a concussion.

Rask's concussion means that Jaroslav Halak will likely start again in net. Halak had been in a bit of a slump before the game against Pittsburgh, allowing 17 goals in a five-game span in which he went 1-2-2 as a starter. Hopefully, he will be able to repeat his strong performance against Pittsburgh.

The Bruins will also be without second-line center David Krejci for another game. Par Lindholm will take his place in the lineup and will likely center the team's third line with Coyle playing on the second unit. Lindholm is on a two-game point streak and scored a goal on Thursday against the Penguins.

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