Gagne, Bergeron have much in common


Gagne, Bergeron have much in common

By Mary Paoletti

The first concussion came in October of 2007. It was frightening the way he hit the ice.

He returned to his team, only to be hit again. He ended up sitting out more than half the year.

To see him go down yet another time was a nightmare. It was the 2011 playoffs. The score was tied, 1-1, and the tension was palpable when he took the blow. Teammates, coaches and fans couldn't help but think of his history. "No, no. Not again," they murmured, hands over their mouths.

Simon Gagne and Patrice Bergeron have too much in common.

Bergeron, of course, was concussed -- for the third time in his NHL career -- in Game 4 of this year's Eastern Conference semifinals. Claude Giroux laid a shoulder hit to Bergeron's head that sent him flying backwards to the ice. The score was tied 1-1. Everyone who saw him kneeling on the ice feared for his future because of his past.

Gagne's past is, unfortunately, eerily similar.

Bergeron was first hurt in October 2007, when he was thrown headfirst into the boards and received a Grade 3 concussion that caused him to miss the rest of the year. Gagne also received a concussion, his first, in October 2007 when he was playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He missed four games, returned, and suffered another concussion on Nov. 7. This one precipitated a 26-game rest. First shift back? Say goodnight, Gagne. The third hit, by Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal, was the KO blow. Post-concussion specialist Dr. Jim Kelly advised Gagne to stay off the ice for the rest of the season. Kelly's diagnosis revealed not three concussions, but one that never healed.

Bergeron's second concussion occured in December, 2008. His third came last week against the Flyers.

Gagne, now playing for Tampa Bay, got dumped into the boards by Washington's Scott Hannan during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals . . , with the score tied, 1-1. He missed the remainder of the series.

Here's where the Bruins hope the GagneBergeron comparison continues to hold. Gagne only missed three games, and should be back in the lineup for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

"It is not like I had in the past. It is not like a concussion," Gagne told "I hurt myself and I felt really good after -- it was nothing like, no symptoms that was equal to a concussion, so that was a good sign.

"That's why I am back that early on the ice. I was feeling really good soon after it happened, so that's why I'm not worried about that type of injury like I had in the past. It is not the same thing."

Bergeron has been diagnosed with a concussion, so his return date is still up the air. He didn't practice Friday morning and still needs to get through a mandatory seven-day symptom free wait before resuming physical activity.

But, like Gagne, the Bruins are hopeful this injury isn't as bad as the ones in the past.

Hes improving. He really is improving. We're optimistic about that, coach Claude Julien said after Friday practice. We knew he was going to miss the start of the series, but how much of it hes going to miss we cant tell you right now.

Hes on the right track. Were just staying positive."

It can't be easy.
These playoffs have been spectacular; five Game 7s have been forced and 20 games have gone to sudden-death overtime. Nobody wants to see the excitement tempered by any kind of injuries, concussions least of all.

Happily, Simon Gagne's worry was brief this time.

Hopefully, Patrice Bergeron's will be, as well.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.