WILMINGTON, Mass. — Blocking Yannik Weber’s shot last week in an emotional win over the Montreal Canadiens last week might’ve seemed like a good idea at the time to center Patrice Bergeron. And the veteran would obviously do it again because that’s just the sort of player he is.
But let’s face it, Bergeron has come too far over a long period of time to wind up sitting out any amount of playoff games this spring. Just one year ago, Bergeron was still working his way back from the symptoms of a Grade 3 concussion and never made it back in the lineup in time to aid the Bruins’ cause. Today Bergeron returned to the ice for the first time since taking that shot off his right foot last Thursday. And the thought of getting into the heat of battle with the hated Habs brought a slight smirk to his face.
“It means a lot. I can’t wait. I’m very happy to have a chance to be part of it this year,” said Bergeron in the Ristuccia Arena locker room after a 50-minute practice. “Being on the ice with the guys, helping the guys to try to win each and every game, it’s big for me. I’m very happy to have that chance.”
Bergeron said that the foot injury wasn’t serious. He could’ve practiced yesterday had the team not had the day off, and if the playoffs had started last week he would’ve been in the lineup.
“It’s good. I just felt a little sore. I blocked a shot and took some rest and that’s about it,” he said.
Forward Milan Lucic explained what it means that this year the Bruins will have Bergeron active as opposed to last year’s series with Montreal.
“He’s been great for us. Emotionally for us, just seeing him come back from what happened to him last year, and also with his presence back on the ice, it lifts us because he does play a big role on this team. He’s a leader and he’s shown that since he’s been back,” said the burly winger.
Head coach Claude Julien admitted that had Boston had the services of Bergeron and linemate Chuck Kobasew, the outcome of last spring’s seven-game series might’ve been different. Now we get to find out just what those two guys can contribute to a postseason club.