- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOLTON, Mass. -- Even though Boston Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron is still experiencing some “tenderness” in the rib area, he’s confident he’ll be healthy and ready for the start of training camp on Wednesday and will be 100 percent by the start of the season on Oct. 3.
It’s been less than three months since he suffered torn rib cartilage, a broken rib on his left side, a separated right shoulder and a punctured lung that ended up collapsing and forced him to spend three days in the hospital after the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals last June.
Bergeron, who signed an eight-year, $52 million extension this summer, suffered the torn rib cartilage in Game 4 of the finals, broke his rib in Game 5 and suffered the separated shoulder and punctured lung in Game 6.
Prior to teeing off as part of the annual Bruins golf tournament Monday morning at The International, Bergeron said he is looking forward to a new beginning.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “I’m still feeling some tenderness in the rib area but it’s been pretty good. I’ve been able to do most of my workouts and I’ve gone on the ice the last few weeks and felt good. I feel pretty confident I’ll be good for the start of camp and good for the season.”
Bergeron is not exactly sure whether it’s the cartilage or the rib that’s causing the soreness, but he should have a better idea after the players’ physicals that are scheduled for this week as part of camp.
While he’s already been on the ice this offseason, Bergeron joined his teammates at captains practice on Sunday for the first time at Ristuccia Arena. Even though he’s still feeling tender, Bergeron said he didn’t shy away from battle drills.
“I feel like things are moving along well and it’s all positive signs,” he said.
For the first five weeks after the season ended, Bergeron wasn’t allowed to do anything due to his lung. Now that he’s in full-fledged workouts, the only time he feels it is during core or rotational work.
“Honestly, it’s not bad,” he said. “Once is a while I’ll feel it but I don’t feel it’s setting me back at all. It’s just a matter of managing the pain and going through it. I think time will heal it and make it better.”
Doctors have told Bergeron the discomfort he’s been experiencing will eventually subside and that it shouldn’t hamper his preparation for the 2013-14 season.
During his rehab this summer, Bergeron said he didn’t spend too much time reflecting on last season because he wanted to focus his energy on the upcoming year. His dedication and determination to play in the final three games of the finals, despite his injuries, has become an afterthought for him.
“I don’t think I had time to actually think about that,” Bergeron said. “It was a quick summer and I was only worried about getting healthy, fully healthy and worrying about refocusing on next year and not having to think about that last series too much. It was obviously hard to swallow, hard to go through all of that and coming up short. I wanted to play and be there for my teammates and help them as much as possible. I feel all my teammates would have done the same thing.”
While Bergeron’s summer was busy -- in addition to getting healthy, he also got married and got his first tattoo -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli also was active remaking the team’s roster. The Bruins added Jarome Iginla via free agency and acquired forward Loui Eriksson, and three prospects, from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forwards Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley.
“I think it’s a good thing we have some new blood and guys are excited to be here,” Bergeron said. “That being said, we have pretty much the same core, the same guys coming back. You’re looking forward to meeting the new guys, and the additions are great players and they’re going to help us tremendously on and off the ice.
“Iggy’s a great leader and a great player and he’s proven himself throughout his career. Loui’s a very underrated player and he’s going to help us a lot also. I’m looking forward to getting to know them. It will be a little bit of an adjustment, but they’re great players and it’s going to be positive for us.”
With the additions and a strong core returning, the Bruins have high expectations entering the season.
“It should motivate us a lot,” Bergeron said of falling in the Cup finals. “Every year that you don’t necessarily accomplish what you’re there for, it’s always extra motivation that should help you the next year. The previous year  was different losing in the first round [to Washington] and it was a very bitter feeling, knowing we could have gone a lot further, but last year we went all the way but came up short.
“I think it hurts even more because you’re so close. Chicago played well, it was a couple of breaks here and there that made us lose, so refocusing is very important. You can’t think too much about last year, but we need to use that as motivation for sure.”
As for his first tattoo, Bergeron spent seven hours in one sitting getting what he calls his “protector” on the inside of his left biceps. It resembles a medieval knight with the saying “Master of my destiny” scrolled in French.
“I’ve always wanted one,” he said. “I just had to pull the trigger.”
2dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald