The tensions within Boston surrounding Patrice Bergeron’s health rose slightly on Sunday.
Bergeron missed his second straight practice on the tail end of the weekend. The Boston captain exited for precautionary reasons with a lingering upper-body injury during Thursday’s regular-season finale in Montreal.
Additionally, Bergeron encountered a separate illness over the weekend. Jeremy Swayman also took a sick day on Sunday.
Indeed, Bergeron remains one of the top players Boston can ill afford to lose to a lengthy absence. And while the Bruins’ depth overcame Bergeron’s absences during the load-management stretch of the season, they hardly want to envision such a scenario without their captain within the final hours of their series opener against the Florida Panthers.
“He’s obviously a huge piece for our group, and he always leads on and off the ice whether he’s practicing or not,” Brad Marchand said of Bergeron following Sunday’s on-ice session at Warrior Ice Arena.
Bergeron’s teammates aren’t expecting a lengthy absence. After all, he played with broken ribs and a punctured lung a decade ago in Game 6 of Boston’s Cup Final matchup with Chicago, the last team to win both the Presidents’ Trophy and Lord Stanley in the same season.
Marchand witnessed Bergeron’s perseverance firsthand 10 years ago. To no one’s surprise, he doesn’t envision Bergeron missing the first game of their opening-round matchup against the Panthers.
“It’s not a big deal,” Marchand said of Bergeron missing practice. “He’s taken rest days throughout the year just to make sure he’s feeling good. You know, if someone is not feeling great this time of year, then it’s just great to have the opportunity to rest up and prepare.”
In a potential Bergeron absence, the Bruins would likely move Pavel Zacha or a returning David Krejci into a top-line role with Marchand and Jake DeBrusk.
Tyler Bertuzzi would likely skate opposite David Pastrnak on the second line, paving the way for Trent Frederic on the third line.
The Bergeron news provided a setback. But the Bruins also received encouraging news on the injury front, with Krejci and Nick Foligno wearing regular practice sweaters.
Krejci missed the last few games to nurse a lingering lower-body ailment. Foligno last appeared in Boston’s lineup on Feb. 28 before missing the rest of the regular season with a lower-body injury.
Linus Ullmark also returned over the weekend, leaving in the third period during Tuesday’s tilt with the Capitals.
Jim Montgomery hasn’t named his starting netminder for Game 1. He’ll confirm his decision on Monday, along with the statuses for Krejci and Foligno.
He’ll also provide an update on Bergeron’s availability. For now, New England will hold their collective breath.
“Patrice doesn’t need extra days of practice,” GM Don Sweeney said. “If he feels well enough tomorrow, he’ll play.”
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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