- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Speaking for the first time since he was admitted to the hospital after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, Boston Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron gave a detailed timeline of the numerous injuries he suffered against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Bergeron suffered torn rib cartilage in Game 4 of the finals, a broken rib on his left side in Game 5 and a separated right shoulder and a punctured left lung in Game 6. The puncture eventually caused the lung to collapse, and Bergeron ended up in the hospital following Game 6, spending three days there.
"I'm feeling a lot better," Bergeron said Tuesday. "The ribs and the shoulder now just need some time to rest but it's a lot better.
"In Game 4, my cartilage torn in the corner against [Michael] Frolik, so that's when it started and it obviously escalated because I kept playing and didn't have time to heal it. In Game 5, it was either the first or second shift, I got hit again right on the ribs and that's when I'm sure it cracked and it got worse. I tried to go back in the second and after the second period, the doctors, because the pain escalated, they were worried about the spleen, so we had to go to the hospital [in Chicago] and get it checked and everything was fine."
When the Bruins returned to Boston for Game 6, Bergeron said he wasn't sure if he would be able to play. He decided he wanted to play, so he and the team decided that a nerve-block procedure would allow that.
"In my mind, for sure, I wanted to play," Bergeron said. "I was hoping for the pain to go down but that wasn't the case. After Game 5, I was in a lot of pain. The next day I was just trying to find a way [to] manage the pain, I guess, but it was definitely there. On the day of Game 6, we met with the doctors and they were telling me the only way I could play was to have a nerve block, otherwise the pain would be too high, so I did that in order to play."
Bergeron was able to play but he separated his right shoulder in the first period of Game 6. While trying to protect his ribs, he fell awkwardly and suffered the shoulder injury. As far as the puncture, it's still unclear when it happened. In addition to getting the nerve-block procedure done prior to Game 6, he also had it done again during the second period.
"Honestly, it's hard to know," Bergeron said. "It's not before the first period [of Game 6] for sure because we took some X-rays after the nerve block to make sure the lungs were fine. I got some more [nerve block] during the game because the pain was coming back. It couldn't have been from getting the nerve block or from the rib being cracked and getting checked. So, I'm guessing during the game because I felt my energy level went down during the game after the second period."
After Game 6, he had problems breathing.
"I felt like my chest was closing in on me, so the doctors didn't want to take any chances," Bergeron said.
He had X-rays taken at TD Garden, but the results weren't clear enough so he went to Massachusetts General Hospital.
"Luckily enough, they made the right decision because I went there right away and they found my lung had collapsed," Bergeron explained.
A specialist was called in to perform a procedure to inflate his left lung. Bergeron explained a hole was made through his rib cage to allow a tube to go into the lung.
After a three-day hospital stay, Bergeron was discharged and he's feeling a lot better. He will not need surgery on his shoulder or ribs and he should be ready for training camp.
"I should be fine for camp, the beginning of camp, for sure," he said. "Hopefully, but I'm pretty positive I will be. I just need a couple of weeks, two or three weeks [of rest]."
Because Bergeron quickly went to the hospital after Game 6, most of his teammates didn't realize he played with the lung injury until the next day. The players praised his courageous efforts, calling him a true Bruin.
"I wasn't the only one going through pain," Bergeron said.
"It means a lot, but at the same time I know all the guys would've done the same thing. At this point, at this stage that you are you do everything to win. You put everything on the line to help your team and it's basically what I did. I'm 100 percent confident everyone else would have done the same thing. There's a lot of real tough guys on our team and I don't feel like I should take all the praise because I'm not the only one who would have done that."
Bergeron admitted that had the Bruins won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Chicago, he wouldn't have been able to play because he was still in the hospital.
The 27-year-old Bergeron also acknowledged that he hopes to sign a long-term extension with the Bruins.
"It would mean a lot," he said. "That's the goal. Since the beginning, it's been a team that's believed in me when I was 18 and coming up. Now, like I've said before, it's my home and I feel like it is. I love the city. I love the people and definitely love the organization. It would mean a lot to me and hopefully we can work something out."
15dScott Burnside and Craig Custance