WILMINGTON -- While it appears that Patrice Bergeron’s recovery from a concussion is going well and that he'll back in Boston’s lineup sooner rather than later, the Bruins want to make it clear they’re not viewing his return as the cure to all that ails them.
Just as the Bruins weren’t looking at Jaromir Jagr, picked up at the trade deadline, as any sort of hockey savior, the return of the unassailably valuable Bergeron isn’t going to save Boston from its recent inconsistencies.
It’s on each player in the B’s dressing room to start limiting opponents to 30 shots or less per game and start generating more offensive chances on a consistent basis -- and it’s up to Boston’s defense corps to start breaking pucks out of the zone with precision, good decisions and energetic skating legs.
Those are the same problems that were gnawing away at the Bruins prior to Bergeron’s injury, but there’s no doubt the two-way center can be part of the solution in the final handful of regular-season games.
“Things weren’t fine when Bergeron was here, so there are no issues there,” said coach Claude Julien. “There is none of that stuff (that the return of Bergeron will fix all that's wrong with the Bruins, just as there) was none of that stuff when Jagr came in . . . We know we can be better, but at the same time we’re just one team among a lot of teams that are in different positions.
"We were in first place until yesterday. I think during the regular season, if we had played 82 games, the amount of points we would come up with would make for a pretty good season. I’m very careful about falling into the negatives more than trying to straighten out a team that’s still having a decent season and winning hockey games. I’m not going to stand here and say that we’re in great shape – and that we’re ready for the playoffs. We know we have work to do, but we have to allow ourselves to get better.”
The Bruins were in first place for a grand total of one day before falling to the Isles on Thursday night, and sit a point behind Montreal for the top spot in the Northeast Division with an equal number of games played in the final two weeks of the regular season. It’s not a bad place to be, as Julien stated, but a healing Bergeron could certainly start to make things look much better.