BOSTON -- The news is finally out on the injuries Patrice Bergeron was playing through.
The Bs assistant captain suffered a tornstrained oblique early in the series against the Washington Capitals that progressively worsened as the series went on. To add injury to injury: Alex Semin broke his nose when the two collided during the second period of the Game 5 loss at TD Garden.
Bergeron gutted through the injury to continue playing in Game 6 and Game 7, but reached the point where he couldnt take face-offs in the final two postseason tilts against the Capitals. No surgery will be required to fix Bergerons muscle injury, but that didnt make it any less painful.
It will be simple rest and rehabilitation followed by Bergerons typically dedicated workout schedule this summer, but theres no question the assistant captain cowboyed up for the playoffs.
The injury sounds painful, and it was clearly wince-worthy while watching Bergeron battle through it on the ice.
I tore or strained my oblique muscle. It happened in Game 3 and it got worse in Game 5 as everybody knows. It probably limited me to about 60 percent of what I can normally do, said the stoic Bergeron, who continues to set the tone for toughness and dedication to the team with his on-ice example. It was not related to the two hits that everybody thought; the Semin hit broke my nose and that was it. I was already hurt and the Ovechkin hit just made it worse. I just couldnt even go in the third period after that.
If it was during the regular season I wouldnt have played at all. I would have taken 2 weeks off to heal and be fine. Its just one of those things where it takes time and we didnt have that.
The Selke Trophy finalist said the inability to take face-offs and the discomfort caused by the injury were challenges that took their toll over the final few games. Bergeron was able to tough it out, but indicated he wouldnt have been able to keep playing his way through it. That was the reason Jordan Caron was activated for the final two games just in case Bergeron had to finally bow out early in a game.
The Bs center did manage an assist on a Rich Peverley goal early in the Game 6 win in Washington DC, but was noticeably losing battles around the net during Game 7.
Watching Rich Peverley lose a boatload of face-offs in the offensive zone and David Krejci go only 5-for-15 in the face-off dot was difficult for Bergeron to swallow while all he could do was watch and skate his lane as a makeshift right wing.
Those things need time and rest. When you dont do that I dont think it gets worse, but it doesnt get better, said Bergeron. Its a different game. Im used to taking face-offs and it gets me going. It gets me in the game. Its different positioning-wise.
Sometimes I was going down-low, but down-low I couldnt really battle at all. I couldnt reach out for pucks and stuff like that. I needed to adjust my game and it was in my head a lot. I was trying to just not think about it, but it was there anyway. Im not the only one that goes through that stuff during playoffs. Its just one of those things.
The biggest moment when the injury probably cost the Bruins wasnt in the face-off circle, however.
Forty-five seconds into overtime Braden Holtby kicked a Dennis Seidenberg shot right at Bergeron on the doorstep, but the Bs center couldnt make a strong play on the puck with a wide open net in front of him.
Instead he feebly lofted a wobbly shot well wide to the left of the cage, and the Capitals scored a couple minutes later to take the game. There was no doubt in GM Peter Chiarellis mind that Bergeron sponges the rebound and snaps it home if he were anywhere close to 100 percent.
Bergy Patrice Bergeron, was injured, but he wont require surgery. He had a strained oblique and he was very debilitated from taking face-offs as you saw, said Chiarelli. I believe, and I dont think Bergy would ever say it, but I believe that last chance in overtime that he couldnt stretch for it because of the oblique. He was in a lot of pain.
But Bergerons also a warrior.
Everybody knew that already, but he proved it again while trying to play through something that would sidelined many others once the excruciating pain soaked through.