Bergeron plays through oblique injury, broken nose

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Bergeron plays through oblique injury, broken nose

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.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right. 
 

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Monday, May 22: Senators all out of playoff magic?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while feeling like we’ll be getting a Pittsburgh/Nashville Stanley Cup Final, which I suppose would be the best possible outcome at this point.

*You hear the name and it just gets you angry all over again if you grew up watching the Bruins. Ulf Samuelsson is in the running for an assistant coaching job with the Chicago Blackhawks, according to a report.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Chris Johnston says it appears that the time is running out on a Cinderella season for the Ottawa Senators.

*A taste of winning at the world championships with Team Sweden could fuel Alex Edler’s desire for a change from the rebuilding Vancouver Canucks.

*Interesting piece on a former can’t miss goaltending prospect with the Nashville Predators that ended up totally missing, and what he’s been up to in life since then.

*Guy Boucher explains to Pro Hockey Talk why he kept changing goaltenders in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

*Don Cherry explains that he hates afternoon hockey during his Coach’s Corner from Hockey Night in Canada in the Game 5 blowout between the Penguins and Predators.

*A good piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Alex Prewitt on the Nashville Predators, and the evolution of the franchise into a team on the verge of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.

*For something completely different: What a win by the Boston Celtics in Game 3 in Cleveland, and quite an interesting, fired up interview with Al Horford afterward.