Bergeron "Feeling Good"
RALEIGH, NC - It's been a relief to see Patrice Bergeron back around the team skating for the past three days. And following morning skate Saturday at PNC Arena, the alternate captain spoke to the media for the first time since suffering a moderate concussion back on April 2 against Ottawa.
Bergeron, his normal self in practices, sharing a laugh with Tyler Seguin at the start of skate, and working hard from the time he hits the ice, was also his usual self off the ice, very diplomatic when talking about yet another concussion to add to his history.
"I feel good. It's good to be back on the ice with the guys," said the centerman, from the visiting team locker room in Raleigh.
"It's fun to be back out there and skating, but especially feeling good."
On Thursday, Bergeron worked on puck control in the corners, but the past two days have seen the battling element ramp up, as his teammates progressively work him back into the groove.
"There's no limitations anymore," said Bergeron. "I can initiate contact and receive contact in practice."
"It's always, teammates take it easy on you, but still, I feel fine and it's good news that I'm cleared for that."
A few minutes after Bergeron spoke, Coach Julien was also asked about the alternate captain's recovery; he reiterated that he's cleared for contact, but "light contact so far and [we] still need final clearance from the doctors. Hopefully, sooner than later."
From a personal standpoint, Coach has also been happy to see one of his most fervent leaders getting back so quickly to full health.
"Anytime you see a guy like that to that type of injury, you never know what's going to happen. But he's felt better and going through all the procedures to make sure he's a hundred percent. So far, I haven't had the OK from doctors or anything yet to say that he's a go. As long as he's feeling good, he gets a chance to practice with us."
Though Bergeron will not be in the lineup against Carolina, since he's cleared for contact, it's been a precautionary measure with the forward as he works his way to 100-percent.
"We're certainly going to be cautious with him," Coach Julien had said following Friday's practice back in Boston.
"As you know, he has a history with it and we're not about to take a gamble with him at this stage of the season."
"It's one of those things, it's always scary, but at the same time, I've been through it and time takes care of it," said Bergeron. "This time it was one of those things I wanted to make sure it's fine, it's healed, take precautions, but I feel good."
Though Bergeron's recovery might be quicker than expected, the actual night he sustained the concussion against Ottawa, definitely left him frustrated.
"They [the doctors] just said it just caught me in the right spot, that's the only thing," said Bergeron of the hit that caused the concussion. "An elbow - guys are still going with enough force that if it gets you in the right spot, you're going to feel it. That's just pretty much what they said."
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"It's obviously frustrating, you want to be out there. It's one of those things, like I said, I've been through that role before, so it is annoying to have to go through that road again because I know what it is."
"At least this time it healed pretty quick and I'm good. Obviously, that's the positive out of it."
A positive sign this time for Bergeron, was that he started to feel back to normal much faster than his previous times with concussions.
"I felt better quicker, the symptoms went away quicker this time, faster. Had some headaches the first day and the next day I was fine, so it was very encouraging."
"I haven't had symptoms for quite a while since the injury, so it's good news. I've been working out, skating, pushing, shoving with the guys and felt fine. Like I said, I'm feeling good and it's positive."
But because Bergeron has been down the road before, and has experienced at times the extremely grueling process of longer recovery, he knows that caution is the best approach before he gets back into the lineup.
"I think the doctors are great, really, have always done a good job with every guy. I guess because I know, I've been down that road, it's probably why I take more caution."
"But it's good to see that they take care of me and want to make sure I'm fine. It's something that I appreciate."
This time, Bergeron feels fortunate to have had a speedy recovery, but also knows that his healthy is very important, as always, moving forward.
"Yeah, it's always discussions I've had with the doctors, the future and all that. There's no relation with the fact that if you have more concussions, [you're] more susceptible to feel the effects in the future. It's all encouraging signs, it's all good now."
"Obviously, I'm taken care of by some great doctors here, so it's obviously a good – if it's going to happen anywhere, it's a good place to get treated. Like I said, I'm feeling good, I'm feeling confident, the doctors feel confident, also, that there's no issues and there's no problems down the road."
Coach Julien also stressed the importance the Bruins, as an organization, place on players' health.
"That's always been the main thing, as far as players as individuals, the health is always going to be number one priority and it should be in anybody's life," said Coach. "We look at this sport as a real big thing, but it's not as big as your health."
"Our organization has been outstanding when it comes to that, everybody being on the same page, looking out for the welfare of the individual versus the team."
If Bergeron had his choice, he would be back in the lineup, but he knows that he needs to be absolutely ready to go when he jumps into game action.
"Obviously, I have to talk to the coaches and trainers and doctors. But, I'm feeling good."