Boston Bruins fans feared the worst when top center Patrice Bergeron suffered his fourth career concussion back on April 2.
Would he play again this season? Would he return at all? Marc Savard’s sad case came to mind for everybody. A series of concussions knocked Savard from hockey and left him dealing with lingering post-concussion syndrome.
But Bergeron’s head cleared very quickly after the incident. He returned to practice at full speed and appears ready to return next week – and possibly Monday against Ottawa.
“I felt better quicker, the symptoms went away faster this time,” Bergeron told the Boston Herald. “I had some headaches the first day and the next day I was fine. It was very encouraging.
“I’ve been (symptom-free) for quite a while now, so it’s really good news. Even working out, pushing and shoving with the guys, I’ve felt fine.”
Bergeron has become an old pro at dealing with concussions. He had a good feel for how to manage his recovery.
“It’s one of those things that always scary, but at the same time I’ve been through it and I know that time takes care of it,” he said. “The doctors we have here have always done a really good job with every guy. I guess because I’ve been through that road they probably take more precaution. It’s good to see that. It’s good that they take care of me and want to make sure I’m fine. It’s something I appreciate.”
The Bruins are getting stronger as the playoffs near. Not only is Bergeron return, but prospect Carl Soderberg is making his long-awaited arrival from Sweden. The rangy forward signed a three-year deal and he will be eligible to play in the postseason.
With top center Patrice Bergeron sidelined indefinitely by another concussion, the Boston Bruins were thrilled to get speedy center Chris Kelly back in the lineup.
He had been sidelined with a broken tibia since March 11. Kelly returned to center a line with Tyler Seguin and Daniel Paille to balance Boston’s forward lines.
His return left Gregory Campbell at center with Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley playing center with Shawn Thornton and Jordan Caron. The other scoring line, David Krejci centering wide bodies Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, remained intact.
That lineup clicked during a 6-2 victory over the reeling Carolina Hurricanes.
Coach Claude Julien had tried Seguin at center between Jagr and Marchand, but that line faltered during the 2-1 loss to Montreal.
“It wasn't working,” Seguin told the Boston Herald. “We were out there for the first goal and it just wasn't good work in our own zone. We were kind of running around a bit. I can't say I was shocked that it got changed.”
Injuries prompted the failed experiment.
“(Seguin) couldn't have gone against a worse team, who is really good down low in the Montreal team,” Julien told the Herald. “The change was made for the right reasons and it wasn't pointing the finger at him as much as we needed some experienced guys in the middle.”
On one squad, European hockey fans saw NHL stalwarts John Tavares (New York Islanders), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton Oilers), Jason Spezza (Ottawa Senators), Tyler Seguin (Boston Bruins), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) and Devan Dubnyk (Oilers) playing side by side.
On the opposing team were luminaries like Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks), Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) and Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars).
This was not an all-star game per se. It was the Spengler Cup championship squad, with Team Canada besting the host HC Davos squad 7-2.
Most of the players were veterans of European pro league play, but locked out NHL players spiced things up for both teams. Ultimately Canada had just too much firepower.
“We were relentless,” Smyth told reporters. “It’s an honor to put the flag in front of us, I just want to relish it. What a great feeling to be successful for my country again.”
After losing its first game in the tourney, Canada won its next three games by a combined score of 17-3.
“It’s great to be rewarded after the adversity,” said Tavares. “We scored early and put the pressure on our opponents in each of our last few games.”
Dubnyk was a major beneficiary. The young goaltender seems poised to break out this season for the loaded Oilers. This tourney gave him a chance to prepare for an abbreviated post-lockout season.
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The Hot List
Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Getzlaf, Alexander Semin.
The Cold List
Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers,John Tavares, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Vancouver Canucks,