Bergeron has 'mild concussion,' will miss start of series

191545.jpg

Bergeron has 'mild concussion,' will miss start of series

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON, Mass. Everyones greatest fears were realized Saturday morning as Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli announced to the gathered media that center Patrice Bergeron would miss at least the beginning of the Tampa Bay series with a mild concussion.This weekend's brain injury is Bergeron's third concussion during a promising NHL career for the 25 year-old that's beenmarred by the NHL epidemic.He went into the Quiet Room after he was hit, was assessed by our doctors, took the NHL-modified SCAT II test and was deemed unable to return. But what Im told is that the concussion is mild, said Chiarelli, who said he hadnt checked in with Bergeron again as he was still sleeping on Saturday morning. When I spoke with him after the game he was a little despondent, but he was quite lucid. He was despondent having suffered another concussion. It was just okay.Thats where that stands. We have an injury now, so well see how our depth gets tested.Bergeron went home after the game and didnt stay overnight at the hospital given the mildness of the head injury, and the fact the Bs center was relatively clear-headed after the game. He still has yet to visit with a neurologist and get a diagnosis from any kind of specialist.With a mild concussion theres a minimum of 7-10 days missed by the players, so Bergeron would miss at least the first couple of games against the Lightning, after posting 12 points in 11 playoff games and winning over 64 percent of his face-offs during the postseason.The Bs two-way center and their best player during the playoffs was felled by a late Claude Giroux hit in the opening minutes of the third period during Game Four at TD Garden when the two teams were still battling in a 1-1 tie game. Bergeron took three strides after passing the puck away in his defensive zone before Giroux leveled him with a shoulder to the head area, and the center slammed his head hard against the ice after the collision. Chiarelli admitted that he felt the Giroux hit was a shade late, but given the speed of the game and the level of competition in the playoffs that it was something the Bruins would have to live with. Its tough to tell. I did have a brief discussion with the league on it, and it was a tough one to gauge that speed, said Chiarelli, who doubted there would be any supplemental discipline against Giroux.Chiarelli said that the latest concussion didnt grade out as severely as the one suffered against the Carolina Hurricanes on a Dennis Seidenberg hit during the 2008-09 season that kept Bergeron out of the lineup for a month. But the Bs center was expected to miss at least the first couple of games against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.Youre obviously missing a key character component and a key leadership component in Bergeron, but theres been a growing element of leadership from a lot of different places in the room, said Chiarelli.
Its likely Tyler Seguin will be inserted into the lineup in Bergerons absence after not having taken a single shift since an April 10 loss to the New Jersey Devils in the regular season finale, and Chiarelli said its up to the 19-year-old rookie to fill the void after sitting out the first two rounds of the playoffs.Its a discussion that weve had with the coaching staff and our group, said Chiarelli. We feel Seguin deserves a chance and hes been working quite hard in practice. Well see where he fits in the lineup. Hes really put his nose to the grindstone in practice and watching from above hes picked up the intensity and tenacity of the games. Plus hell give us an offensive boost also.Bergeron missed nearly the entire 2007-08 season after suffering an October concussion against the Flyers when Randy Jones crushed him in the corner on a vicious hit, and then missed time a year later when a collision with Seidenberg gave him his second career concussion.The Bruins have really hit their first injury adversity of the playoffs with Bergeron going down, and the response against the Lightning will be telling.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Mueller aims to take advantage of opportunity in tonight's Bruins-Wings game

bruins-peter-mueller-092816.jpg

Mueller aims to take advantage of opportunity in tonight's Bruins-Wings game

BRIGHTON -- Tonight’s Bruins-Red Wings game against the Red Wings should be a big chance for training-camp invite Peter Mueller as he readies to skate in a second straight exhibition game after a quiet night in the opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

The former 22-goal scorer with the Coyotes felt he was “solid” and “held his own” while not getting any shots on neta againsy Columbus. The veteran winger feels like he’s again starting to pick up the NHL pace after spending the last three years in Europe, and that’s mandatory to start making plays. 

“It was a good adjustment, but hopefully tonight I show a little more skill, a few more pucks to the net and create some more offense,” said Mueller. “I would rather play in most of the [exhibition] games, to be honest with you, and to get in-game-like scenarios and prepare yourself for each and every game. In my position I’m happy that I’m playing tonight and hopefully I can keep trying to impress the people [making decisions].”

The 26-year-old former first-round pick will be in a favorable spot, skating in a possible third-line, right-wing audition with Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey. He'll also serve as another established player in a more veteran-laden lineup Wednesday night vs. the Winged Wheels at TD Garden. With Frankie Vatrano out for the next three months, these are the kind of chances Mueller needs to knock out of the park if he wants to fend off younger competition for one of those B’s roster spots up front. 

“It definitely favors the type of game I want to play,” said Mueller, when asked about the chance to skate in a spot with Spooner and Beleskey that he would likely fill whre he to crack the NHL roster. “With two skill guys, hopefully we can create some chemistry and some offense early and obviously that helps with the flow of the game. Hopefully I can just showcase my skills and the work ethic that I’m trying to bring to the team. Overall, hopefully we have a good game tonight.”

Sean Kuraly is also playing in his second straight exhibition, and will move over to the left wing skating with Austin Czarnik and left wing Zachary Senyshyn in what amounts to a kid line for the Bruins. One would expect the same goaltending rotation in this game, with Malcolm Subban getting the first two periods and Daniel Vladar getting the game’s final 20 minutes. Here are the line combos and D-pairings according to the rushes during morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena:
 
Beleskey-Spooner-Mueller
Kuraly-Czarnik-Senyshyn
Gabrielle-Moore-Ferlin
Blidh-Acciari-Hickman
 
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
Lauzon-C. Miller
Arnesson-Casto
 
Subban
Vladar
 

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

boston-bruins-jakub-zboril-draft.jpg

Bruins' Zboril uses criticism and Twitter hate as motivation

BRIGHTON -- It’s easy to see that Jakub Zboril , one of the Bruins' 2015 first-round pick, has come a long way in a year.

“I feel more comfortable,” said Zboril. “After last year, when all of the people saying something about what they didn’t like about me, it really pushed me forward. I told myself I wanted to be in better shape and so I worked really hard at it.”

The 19-year-old wasn’t in very good shape for last season's training camp after coming back from a knee injury, and that carried over into a junior season for the Saint John Sea Dogs (6 goals and 20 points in 50 games). That was a drop from his 13 goals and 33 points in 44 games prior to hearing his name called by the B’s on draft night.

Zboril was back at peak effectiveness in the playoffs for the Sea Dogs with a couple of goals and 10 points in 17 games, but the chain of events caused some to wonder if the Bruins had drafted something of a bust.

It seems ludicrous, considering Zboril is a 19-year-old talented enough to be selected 13th overall in the entire NHL draft, and even more so now that he’s showing much more in his second camp with Boston. It was some good and some bad for Zboril in his preseason debut against Columbus on Monday with a misplay leading to a goal against, but Zboril also kicked off the transition pass that helped the Bruins score their first goal of game.

“From last year I think he’s made big strides,” said assistant coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s a young kid that’s only 19 years old, and he’s going to keep getting better. So that’s what you want. The structure in his game and the overall attitude [is better]. He was a little young last year. He’s in better shape. He’s done a lot of things that we got on him for last year, and he’s taken it and listened, he’s working hard. He’s done a good job.”

It’s a long shot for Zboril to crack the B’s roster this fall, so he’s likely headed back to Saint John for another junior hockey season after watching fellow prospect Thomas Chabot get a lot of the No. 1 D-man playing time last season. He quickly shot down any possibilities of playing in Europe rather than going back to the Quebec Major Junior League, and said there could still be plenty to learn in his final junior season.

“Right now where I am, I can just learn from myself and pushing myself,” said Zboril, of going back to junior. “What I can take from last year is that my role on the team changed, and I had to be more of a shutdown D. I had to show my defensive abilities, so I improved a lot from the year before. I think I can be more of a defensive defenseman too, so there’s that.”

Still, the so-so season last year had its impact in a positive fashion with Zboril really stepping up his game. But it’s also had its drawbacks as the Czech-born defenseman was forced to deactivate his Twitter account because of the harsh criticism and messages he was getting from hockey fans. Disappointingly, Zboril said most of it was coming from people in Boston that claim to be Bruins fans, and that it was like “people just spitting on you.”

“It was really pushing me down a lot,” said Zboril. “After some games when you know you weren’t playing really good, then you go on Twitter and you just see . . . people just spitting on you. So I had to delete it.”

Zboril said he’s much happier since getting off social media. But it’s a shame that a bright young prospect’s first impression of his future NHL city was the flaming dumpster of keyboard warriors that should forever be known as “Bruins Hockey Twitter.”