Boston Bruins fans had a lot to celebrate last night as the Black-and-Gold finished the sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers on home ice at the TD Garden, 5-1. Unfortunately, the good vibes and celebration only lasts so long.
When the team's General Manager Peter Chiarelli speaks, everyone listens. And this morning, with the team given an off-day from workouts and practice, the GM held a press conference inside Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., to delievery some not-so-good news about the team's Alternate captain, Patrice Bergeron.
"Patrice suffered a mild concussion last evening," Chiarelli bluntly said to the media. "He went into the quiet room after being hit, was assessed by our doctors, took the NHL modified SCAT 2 test and he was deemed unable to return.
"What I am told is that he is, that the concussion is mild. I have not heard about him today, I think he was still sleeping earlier this morning.
"When I spoke with him after the game, he was a little despondent, but he was quite lucid to me," added Chiarelli. "But he was despondent having suffered another concussion."
Bergeron was hit straight-on by Flyers forward Claude Giroux during the opening few minutes of the third period last night. The 25-year-old has now suffered his third concussion in the last four NHL seasons. The first one, and most serious, was in 2007 when No. 37 was hit-from-behind by Flyers' defenseman, Randy Jones. The incident ended his season, and nearly his career. The second one Bergeron sustained -- and much less mild than the first -- was in December of '08 against the Carolina Hurricanes; where he eventually returned to action that season.
Fortunately for Bergeron, Chiarelli says this concussion is even less mild than the last. yet unfortunately, Chairelli also said it's a "good assumption" that Bergy is going to miss at least the beginning of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"They don’t grade it (concussion levels/stages) anymore," said Chiarelli. "Well here’s what I know, here’s what was told to me. That it wasn’t as bad as the second."
With their best two-way forward out of commission for a bit, it's time for the brass and coaching staff to start working out possible new line combinations, as well as Bergeron's next replacement.
"The group that has been practicing with the main group -- the black aces plus -- are [Jamie] Arniel and [Jordan] Caron. So it would be within that mix. But it’s a fairly safe assumption that Tyler [Seguin] would be the guy," Chiarelli said. "And he’s actually really put his nose to the grindstone in practice. And I think watching from above, he sees the intensity and tenacity of the game. Plus he’s going to give us an offensive boost also.
"I’ve been watching him in practice and his on ice and his off ice has been outstanding, so he has kept sharp. Now, having said all that, it is hard to parachute someone in, especially a young player like that," added Chiarelli. "But he certainly deserves a chance."
Chiarelli said that he and the coaching staff had already begun talks on whether Seguin would currently be a better fit on the wing or at center. But one thing's for certain: this is why Chiarelli made the two trades for versatile centers at the NHL deadline, acquiring Chris Kelly (from Ottawa) and Rich Peverley (from Atlanta). Both are riding the third line -- and very successful -- with Michael Ryder, and could be one of the trio's most likely being shaken-up.
"Kelly is a good two-way player. He makes strong plays and we’ve seen him on that other line," Chiarelli said of Kelly replacing Bergeron last night, playing in the middle of rookie Brad Marchand and future hall of famer Mark Recchi. "His style of play is not unlike Bergy’s. So at first glance it looks like it would be a good fit, and watching him last night it looks like it would be a good fit."
With the Western Conference playoffs still underway, the NHL has yet to releasse the Conference Finals schedule -- even though the B's (fresh off a sweep) will be facing the dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning (also, fresh off a sweep of the Washington Capitals).
"They have guys who are dangerous, they have some size and they have a hot goalie," said Chiarelli. "And they’ve got a very good coach. So it’s going to be very...I think it’s going to be both a tactical series and a heavy series."