EL SEGUNDO, CA With Marc Savard back in Boston recovering from a head injury -- and with a question mark next to his name -- the Bruins went about the job of putting the pieces together Sunday.
Claude Julien rearranged his lines during a Sunday afternoon practice at the Toyota Sports Center practice facility home of the Los Angeles Kings, and reunited the trio of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton that so effectively churned out points in the opening weeks of the season.
Julien similarly positioned Blake Wheeler at center on a line with Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin while leaving Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi together after a monster game on Saturday.
The Bs were uniform in their concern for Savard as he touched down in Boston on Sunday. He plans to meet with doctors and specialists for testing on Monday, according to general manager Peter Chiarelli.
Perhaps nobody empathizes with Savards plight more than center Patrice Bergeron.
The 25-year-old center suffered his own damaging concussion in the opening weeks of 2007-08, when he was jumped from behind by Flyers defenseman Randy Jones.
Bergeron missed the remainder of the season, despite noise he might have been available during Bostons playoff run that year, and then suffered a second concussion after colliding with future teammate Dennis Seidenberg in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes the following winter.
While there was plenty of fear and anxiety following Bergerons second concussion at the time, it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him.
He missed a month of action while taking his time to ease back into the lineup.
But he also felt better within a matter of days and realized there wouldnt be a repeat of his first terrifying experience.
It wouldnt be months before Bergeron could read a book or simply leave his house unsupervised, and that made all the difference.
I dont know what the situation is with Savvy, but for me it was hard to take at first. But a couple of days later it was positive and I started feeling good, said Bergeron. It made me realize eventually that I was fine. It was just a bump in the road. I was okay and fine. I could look forward now. So it did help me a little bit in a way.
It also gave me the time to have the feel of getting back on the ice, and a couple of weeks to regroup and get back in shape. To think about it and realize I was okay. I think I was a better player afterward.
Like Bergeron a couple of years ago, Savard was just starting to put his game together at the time he went down again. The center had points in four of his previous five games leading into the weekend meeting with the Avalanche, but that was all put out mind after the unfortunate sequence with Matt Hunwick.
Bergerons best advice to Savard after coming out on the other side with his health intact: Take his time coming back if this latest bump in the road is a concussion.
If its two weeks, then take the two weeks to heal and recover. If it means missing a month, then so be it.
Weve seen it too much around the league. Even Sid Crosby has to do it. We all have to take time to recover from a concussion, said Bergeron. A lot of guys from the past say they didnt have concussions, but its just that the league didnt know anything about it. Its obvious that its dangerous.
You need to take the time and heal. Weve seen what can happen if guys try to play through it, with depression and all that. You need to be careful and now the doctors know more about it. Make sure you take the time.
Theres really no easy way to quantify the anxiety level of professional athletes forced to avert simple things like bright lights, reading or a brisk walk for weeks or months at a time as a result of a brain injury.
There is an unavoidable fear associated with re-occurrence of post-concussion symptoms.
Bergeron admitted his mind went to that horrible place in the first day or two after that December collision with Seidenberg in 2008, and it isnt hard to imagine Savard going through the same thing.
It was clear Savard was emotional on Saturday as he appeared dazed while trying unsuccessfully to get to his feet after slamming his head, and Bergeron remembers that awful feeling vividly.
It was more of a Here we go again kind of feeling. Kind of Am I going to be okay? But then two, three and four days after, I realized it wasnt going to be even close to the one before. That gave me some hope, said Bergeron. I was positive after that, but the first few days I was wondering if I was going through the whole thing again.
It wasnt as bad as the symptoms. The symptoms were there, but they werent quite as hard as the last time. It was more my spirit that was hurt more than anything else.
The hope is Savard hasnt been concussed, or has suffered a mild concussion that would only keep him out a matter of weeks -- or a month like Bergeron -- without any of the long-term complications that seem to be automatically included when post-concussion syndrome strikes.
Depression was one of the big symptoms that Savard grappled with as he attempted his return earlier this season, and theres always a fear that can creep back in.
That kind of altered brain chemistry could easily come into play each time Savard has a close call like last weeks collision Deryk Engelland of the Penguins, or a minor concussion as may have been the case after his head slammed off the boards.
There will be some answers immediately for Savard on Monday.
The hope is that the answers he gets will be optimistic and that any potential fog he's experiencing lifts quickly from his brain as it did for Bergeron two short years ago.