On Tuesday night, Patrice Bergeron was emotional, according to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. Rightfully so.
Chiarelli confirmed during a Wednesday news conference that Bergeron had suffered a moderate concussion in the 3-2 win over Ottawa. It is the fourth concussion of Bergeron’s NHL career. Bergeron’s neck is also sore.
Bergeron will not play on Thursday night at TD Garden against New Jersey. It is unknown when he will be cleared for game action.
“He was in very good spirits,” said Chiarelli, who spoke with Bergeron on Wednesday afternoon. “He was out walking today. He was annoyed at it. He was emotional [Tuesday] night.”
Bergeron suffered the injury in the second period. He and Colin Greening were racing for the puck near the Boston net. When Greening reached for the puck, the Ottawa forward’s right elbow thudded off the left side of Bergeron’s head, behind his ear.
Bergeron slid to the ice, dropped his stick, wavered slightly, then skated slowly toward the bench. He briefly touched his helmet with his right hand. Bergeron played only 9:06 on Tuesday.
“He sounded really good,” Chiarelli said. “I told him we’ll work together to get him back.”
Bergeron suffered a career-threatening concussion on Oct. 27, 2007. Flyers defenseman Randy Jones checked Bergeron facefirst into the Garden end boards. Bergeron hoped to return for the playoffs, but didn’t play again that season.
Bergeron suffered his second concussion on Dec. 20, 2008. Bergeron collided with Dennis Seidenberg when the defenseman was with Carolina. Bergeron was sidelined for 15 games.
Bergeron’s third concussion took place on May 6, 2011. In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux thumped Bergeron with an open-ice hit. Bergeron missed the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay.
Bergeron was wheeled off the ice after his first concussion. He needed help from his teammates to skate off the ice following his collision with Seidenberg. Bergeron left the ice on his own after the last two concussions.
Bergeron is the Bruins’ top all-around forward. He impacts the game in every area.
Bergeron centers Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin on the team’s most consistent line. Bergeron is the club’s leading scorer (10 goals, 21 assists) and ice-time leader among forwards (19:14 per game).
Bergeron is the NHL’s best faceoff man, having won 61.5 percent of his draws. Coach Claude Julien often tabs Bergeron for critical defensive-zone faceoffs late in games. Bergeron logs regular even-strength shifts against top opposing forwards.
On the power play, Bergeron has served as the net-front presence on the No. 2 unit. He has two goals and two assists on the power play this season.
Bergeron is one of six regular penalty-killing forwards, usually skating alongside Marchand. Bergeron is averaging 2:12 of shorthanded ice time per game.
The magnitude of Bergeron’s injury prompted Chiarelli and the hockey operations staff to consider upgrades at center prior to Wednesday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. But it would have been impossible for the Bruins to acquire a center who could replicate Bergeron’s assets.
“You think about it,” Chiarelli said. “You see a player like Patrice go down, and you’re like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to replace him.’ There wasn’t that caliber of player. So, I’m not going to go around chasing it all day. I know our guys. You’ve seen across the league, [players] have picked up the rest of the teams when they’ve had injuries. I expect us to do the same.”
Following Bergeron’s departure on Tuesday, Rich Peverley assumed his shifts between Marchand and Seguin. Peverley had been centering Jay Pandolfo and Jordan Caron. Peverley will most likely stay with Marchand and Seguin on Thursday against the Devils.
Kaspars Daugavins, acquired on waivers from Ottawa on March 27, will make his Bruins debut on Thursday. Daugavins was on the left side for Ottawa, but Chiarelli said he can play center. Daugavins was also a regular penalty killer for the Senators before becoming a healthy scratch.
Daugavins could center Pandolfo and Jaromir Jagr. Jagr, a
future Hall of Famer acquired from Dallas on Tuesday, will also make his Black-and-Gold debut on Thursday. Chiarelli said he will not promote a center from Providence.
Other reinforcements could also be arriving shortly. Chris Kelly skated for the third straight day on Wednesday. Chiarelli said he expects Kelly to be in uniform soon. Kelly hasn’t played since March 11, when he suffered a broken left tibia during a collision with former Ottawa teammate Chris Neil.
“That actually had some bearing to it today,” Chiarelli said of Kelly’s pending return on trade talks. “He’ll be back soon. I know you’d like more detail, but I’m satisfied with his prospective return date. He’ll be playing for us soon.”
The Bruins could also add Carl Soderberg. The Swedish forward has expressed interest in playing for the Bruins once his playoff run with Linkoping in the Swedish Elite League is over. Linkoping trails Skelleftea, 3-1, so Soderberg’s season could end on Friday.
“I’m not hanging my hat on this,” Chiarelli said. “I hope to get him, and if we get him, he will help us.”Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.