BOSTON — For the first time in a while, the Boston Bruins are scheduled to have three key cogs back in their line-up tonight against Washington at TD Banknorth Garden.
Most notably, center Patrice Bergeron is ready to rejoin the team tonight for the first time since he suffered a concussion Dec. 20 against Carolina. Defenseman Andrew Ference (out since Nov. 13 with a broken foot) and winger Milan Lucic (out since Jan. 6 with an upper-body injury) are also slated to face off with the Caps in the battle between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
Bergeron found out during a meeting with the doctors after yesterday’s practice that he’d been cleared to make a full return. Then he just had to coax his coach to let go of the leash.
“Well, that I was feeling good and I’ve practicing for a while and I don’t think I’ll get anymore contact in practice,” said Bergeron today about his argument to head coach Claude Julien.
Bergeron’s return comes at a perfect time because there’s a strong chance Michael Ryder won’t be available because of flu-like symptoms. Ryder didn’t practice yesterday or skate this morning.
“We’re actually looking forward to having him back in the line-up. He’s feeling good and we’re glad to have him back,” said Julien about Bergeron after calling Ryder “unlikely” to play against Washington. “And I think, under the circumstances, this is real great and positive news for our hockey club.” (more…)