TAMPA — There’s a strong chance Patrice Bergeron will return to the Bruins’ lineup tonight one day shy of two weeks since he suffered a concussion against Philadelphia.
Both Boston.com and ESPNBoston.com have reported this afternoon that Bergeron, who took the morning skate with the team at the St. Pete Times Forum, will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against Tampa Bay.
Bergeron, who has not spoken to the media since his latest injury, has suffered two prior concussions during his NHL career. So he’s experienced in how to handle both his recovery and his return to the ice. But there’s no telling if Bergeron will be able to be his usual aggressive, physical self in the aftermath of his latest injury.
Earlier this season, Bruins center David Krejci missed six games with a concussion. He knows how difficult it can be to overcome tentativeness in the first game back after rehabilitating from such a serious, mysterious injury.
“You don’t get hit like that in practice but when I had mine, before I went to play, I spent some time battling in the corners,” said Krejci today after the morning skate. “I remember Johnny [Boychuk] was out at that time too. So he got me prepared for it. When it comes the first game, you’re a little nervous. But once you step on the ice it’s easier to get hurt if you don’t go to the battles. You have to be prepared and go to the battle.”
Krejci said a bigger challenge than that first game was just the unpredictable nature of the injury and not knowing how you’re going to feel every day during recovery.
“The biggest difference is, like when you have a broken arm or when I had the dislocated wrist, I knew that I’d be back in four months. But with a concussion you never know,” he said. “I guess that’s what it is. But once you start feeling better, it’s just about you. Even doctors, they don’t know because they’re asking you questions about how you feel. You really have to listen to your body, what it’s telling you. Sometimes it’s tough, sometimes it’s longer than expected or you want it to be.”
Krejci hasn’t had any concussion-like symptoms since he came back in mid-November. But other players around the league, including Boston’s Marc Savard and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, haven’t been as fortunate either on the road to a return or in the aftermath of coming back.
Bergeron’s body is seemingly giving him the right messages. Now it’ll be just about how he responds to game action that determines if he’s making the right decision by getting back in the lineup.