Saturday, May 7, 2011
Patrice Bergeron has concussion
By James Murphy ESPNBoston.com
WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed Saturday morning that center Patrice Bergeron suffered a concussion as a result of an open-ice hit he took from Flyers winger Claude Giroux.
The hit occurred 2:38 into the third period of the Bruins' series-clinching 5-1 win over the Flyers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series Friday night.
"Patrice suffered a mild concussion last evening," Chiarelli said in a Saturday morning news conference. "He went into the quiet room after being hit, was assessed by our doctors, took the NHL modified SCAT 2 test and deemed unable to return. But what I'm told is that the concussion is mild. I have not heard about him today, he was still sleeping earlier this morning."
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Chiarelli called it a "safe" assumption that Bergeron would miss the first couple of games of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.
"Anything could happen but that's the assumption I'm under," Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli said that he did speak to Bergeron after the game and that the center did not stay overnight at a hospital.
"When I spoke with him after the game, he was a little despondent but he was quite lucid to me," Chiarelli said. "But he was despondent having suffered another concussion. He was just OK."
Now it will be a game of wait and see as Bergeron goes through the standard testing and protocol to determine when he can return to action.
"There's the normal stuff that you monitor day-to-day and see where the symptoms are and see if he's symptom free," Chiarelli said. "There's a couple things he has to go through, exertion tests and the SCAT test again."
As for the hit by Giroux, Chiarelli did believe it was a bit late and spoke to league officials about it but doesn't think any actions will be taken.
"I thought it was a shade late but it's in that area when it's at full speed it's tough to tell," Chiarelli said. "I did have [a] brief discussion with the league on it but it was a tough one to gauge at that speed and especially at this level of competition so I'll leave it at that."
Bergeron, the Bruins assistant captain and top point-getter this postseason, has a history of concussions. He lost most of the 2007-08 season due to a severe concussion suffered on a hit from the Flyers' Randy Jones.
He also suffered a concussion in December 2008 when he collided with Dennis Seidenberg, who was then with the Carolina Hurricanes, and is now Bergeron's teammate.
The GM also stated that chances are very good that rookie Tyler Seguin -- who has yet to see any action in the playoffs -- will be inserted into the lineup but wasn't sure if Seguin would play wing or his natural position, center. Chiarelli has been very impressed with Seguin's willingness to learn and his efforts in practice during the playoffs. He also mentioned that forwards Jamie Arniel and Jordan Caron are in the mix as well.
"It's a discussion that we've had with the coaching staff and our group and we'll have it again over the weekend," Chiarelli said of Seguin possibly going into the lineup to replace Bergeron. "We feel he deserves a chance and he's been working actually quite hard in practice and we'll see where he fits in the lineup. He's actually really, really put his nose to the grindstone in practice and I think watching from above he sees the intensity and tenacity of the game. Plus he's going to give us an offensive boost also."
While he believes Seguin can help offensively, Chiarelli knows that the veterans will need to continue to step up in the leadership roles in Bergeron's absence and based on what he has seen thus far in the playoffs, he's confident they will.
"Whenever you take someone like that out of the lineup, out of the room. ... I don't think he'll be out of the room but obviously you're missing a key character component, a key leadership component," Chiarelli said. "But what I've seen from this team toward the end of the regular season and especially after the first two games against Montreal, is that there's been a real kind of growing, bonding chemistry -- for lack of a better word and there's been guys that have been stepping up. I won't mention names but some of these guys have been stepping up in the room and I think they'll fill those voids with those guys."
Chiarelli is also confident Bergeron's offensive presence on the ice can be replaced with the scoring depth the Bruins have displayed thus far in beating the Canadiens in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs and now sweeping the Flyers.
"I've been happy with it and obviously it speaks to our depth but the timing has been good," Chiarelli said of players stepping up when others struggle. "There's been a few games where we've had all three lines going and if we can do that the rest of the way I'd be ecstatic but we do now have an injury so we'll see how that depth gets tested. Whether one night it's [Chris] Kelly, one night it's [Nathan] Horton, one night it's [Michael] Ryder, one night it's Bergy [Bergeron], one night it's 'Marsh' [Brad Marchand], I mean 'Rex' [Mark Recchi] is in there and 'Luch' [Milan Lucic] the other night. I mean it's been spread through the top three and even the fourth line has been chipping in. [Daniel] Paille got a real snipe last night."
Chiarelli also said the Bruins will likely get two players back from injury. According to Chiarelli, defensemen Adam McQuaid (sprained neck) and Steven Kampfer (knee) will be available for the start of the Eastern Conference finals.
"On McQuaid, I think he'll be back for the start of the next series, depending on when that start is," Chiarelli said. "And I think the same would go for Kampfer, I think he would be available."
McQuaid suffered his sprained neck in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series with Philadelphia and missed the final two games of the series. The rugged rearguard has three points in nine playoff games. Kampfer, meanwhile, suffered his knee injury while on assignment in Providence in the last weekend of the regular season but has been skating recently and should be ready to go for the conference finals when they begin. Kampfer was a healthy scratch for the 10 games prior to his assignment to Providence and had 10 points in 38 regular-season games.
James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.