BOSTON — Despite suffering a second concussion in a 14-month period Dec. 20 against Carolina, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron is confident he’ll be back in the line-up this season.
“I’m very confident I will play this year. It’s a matter of when. That’s why I don’t want to put a date on it and get disappointed like I was last year during the playoffs,” Bergeron insisted during a brief meeting with the media inside the Bruins’ locker room at TD Banknorth Garden.
Bergeron, who suffered a Grade 3 concussion after a hit from behind in Oct. 2007, has been sidelined since hitting his jaw into Hurricanes defenseman Dennis Seidenberg’s shoulder at full speed at center ice. Bergeron recalled today that he was trying to “force the red line” and make Seidenberg give up the puck.
“It’s a play I’m going to do 20 times and he’s not going to hit me in the jaw like that,” said Bergeron, who in 31 games this season compiled 4-14-18 totals.
Bergeron skated off under his own power that day, but mentally, he admitted he was frustrated. In those early days after the play, when he was suffering from headaches, dizziness and nausea, he had a bit of a woe-is me attitude. After about a week and a half, however, he was able to get over that — encouraged by his improvement and the doctors’ assurances that this concussion had nothing to do with his troubles of last season.
“It’s been tough, it’s been frustrating,” said Bergeron. “I worked my way back from last year. I was starting to feel a lot better on the ice and now that hit happened. But I’m trying to stay positive and now that the toughest is behind me, I’m feeling a lot better. I’m obviously very positive about how I’m feeling …”
Bergeron started working out within the last couple weeks. He said he started slow — barely “turning the wheels on the bike” — and has since upped his exercise on the bike or elliptical machine to 25-30 minutes and his heart rate gets to about 145-150. So far, there’s been no return of his symptoms but he’s going to continue to take it slow.
“I think that the biggest thing that I’ve learned from last year is to take it day by day – don’t look too far ahead because if I do, I might get disappointed. … I want to take it day by day, follow the orders from the trainers and doctors and try to improve,” he said. “But also rest and try to do too much when you do feel better because sometimes that can set you back.”
The general consensus is that Bergeron had played his best two games of the season prior to the collision and that he was returning to his pre-concussion form. Now he’s suffered a setback in his pursuit of raising his level of play back to star level. However, he’s sure that when he’s back in action he’ll be the same old hard-nosed, hard-working Patrice Bergeron.
“I said it last year the same. I felt I came back and I wasn’t scared at all,” he said. “It’s the same thing. It’s the type of hit that it happened and there’s not much you can do about it. I’m going to go back out there and play my game and that’s about it.”