Bergeron practices for first time, eyes opening night return
After being sidelined all offseason with a series of injuries, Patrice Bergeron is slowly working his way back into the lineup. Bergeron’s return will still have to wait, however, as he’ll sit out Boston’s preseason finale with the Philadelphia Flyers at TD Garden on Saturday.
The Bruins confirmed on Friday that Bergeron is being cautious. But they believe he’ll return to center Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on the top line in time for their season-opening matchup with the Capitals on Wednesday night.
“He got through today’s workout and felt pretty good. But him playing [on Saturday] wasn’t our intentions going into [Friday],” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said about Bergeron.
“We talked about it so we’ll see but it’s just the first practice,” Bergeron said about his status for Saturday. “It’s the first full practice that I’ve had so it’s probably unlikely that I’ll be playing tomorrow. Probably going to have a few more practices and be ready for the opener in Washington.”
Bergeron rejoined his fellow linemates during Friday’s training session at Warrior Ice Arena — albeit wearing a red non-contact jersey — marking the first time that all of Boston’s top line skated together since the team’s abrupt playoff exit in the second round on May 6, 2018.
Forming one of the best lines in the National Hockey League, the trio combined for 228 points (99 goals, 129 assists). To say that Bergeron is eying similar success with Marchand and Pastrnak is an understatement.
“Felt great. You know it was good to be back with them. Was just trying to keep up with them and give them the puck so it was fun,” Bergeron said about practicing with his fellow top liners.
“The expectation is always to try and help your team and be obviously the line we know we can be. Last year I thought it was a great step forward but this year we start from scratch. We felt good and confident about it and we know it’s a great challenge in front of ourselves.”
Despite missing all of Boston’s preseason games, Bergeron is encouraged by his progress and believes that his first full practice on Friday was a “step in the right direction.”
While most of the Bruins’ top talent traveled to China for the early stages of training camp, Bergeron rehabbed nearly every day at Warrior Ice Arena. Bergeron was often alone on the ice or in the weight room working toward full health.
The four-time Selke winner felt at home with his teammates’ support during his first full on-ice session at the Brighton practice facility.
“It’s a lot different. When you are skating pretty much on your own and doing drills and feel good that’s one thing, but then you need to pass that ladder of taking some physicality and bumping into teammates,” Bergeron said about his first full practice on Friday. “Actually just having teammates on the ice making plays, having some three-on-twos and some situational plays and stuff happening on the ice it’s something that’s been a while and good to get.”
Bergeron and the rest of the Bruins have five days to get as healthy as possible before traveling to Washington, D.C. to take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions on Oct. 3.