WILMINGTON –- Patrice Bergeron was huffing and puffing as the last guy on the ice during an optional practice at Ristuccia Arena on Friday morning, but he exited the ice with a clear eyes and a big smile on his face after a strenuous workout with assistant coach Doug Houda.
It appears that the 27-year-old center is making rapid progress from his moderate concussion, and will be making the trip to Carolina with the team for Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes. Coach Claude Julien said it was very doubtful that Bergeron would actually play, but traveling with the club is a sign that a return to the lineup should be imminent for No. 37.
“He’s skating now and he’s better off working out with us rather than staying behind,” said Julien. “I don’t think [he’s a possibility vs. Carolina]. We’re certainly going to be cautious with him. He’s had a history of [concussions] and we’re not about to take a gamble with him at this stage of the season.”
That’s obviously a far cry from any initial concern over the center’s fourth concussion since the 2007 season with his head injuries varying in severity over that time. Bergeron missed only 12 days two years when he suffered a concussion in the playoffs against the Philadelphia Flyers, and missed only two playoff games before jumping in with full health for the rest of the Stanley Cup playoff run.
With the sight of Bergeron on the ice and skating hard little more than a week after suffering his most recent concussion, it certainly does appear that he’s moved into a place where he can bounce back a little more normally from the type of head injury that can hold very varying degrees of recovery times.