His head clear again after his fourth concussion, his skating up to speed, veteran Bruins pivot Patrice Bergeron was ready to return to action Monday night in what was scheduled to be a Bruins-Senators game at TD Garden.
“The final decision’s not mine,’’ Bergeron said after skating in the morning on a line that he centered with Milan Lucic on his left and Tyler Seguin on his right. “But I feel I can play tonight.’’
The decision didn’t have to be made, as the game was postponed because of the horrifying scene some two miles away in which two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon, leaving at least three people dead and scores injured.
Bergeron is expected back at practice Tuesday morning in Wilmington, and his return is now likely to be Wednesday night when the Sabres visit Causeway Street.
“Just making sure we’re all on the same page,’’ said coach Claude Julien, noting that club doctors and trainers still had to sign off on Bergeron’s return. “He’s been feeling a lot better for the last few days, seems to be doing extremely well. But when you’ve been through what Patrice has been through, we’re always going to make sure we’re extra safe with him.’’
Bergeron, 27, sustained his latest concussion April 2, the Senators’ last visit to the Hub, midway through the second period when he took a whack from Colin Greening. He underwent a neuropsych exam three days later with Concord-based Dr. Robert Cantu and was encouraged that the concussion was not nearly as serious, or debilitating, as the hit he took from Flyer defenseman Randy Jones in October 2007. Bergeron began skating and working out off the ice last week and now looks as if he’ll be back after missing only 6½ games.
“I feel good and back to normal — that’s the positive,’’ said Bergeron, adding that overall he has been encouraged because, “the first concussion was the biggest, and all have gone down from there.’’
Greening’s hit was not a targeted pop to Bergeron's head, but instead a typical, and seemingly harmless, collision in which Greening’s shoulder caught Bergeron below the left ear, around the neck area that is not protected by the helmet.
“It wasn’t a big hit, but it was the right spot,’’ said Bergeron. “It sort of caught me at that lucky spot, where it doesn’t need a big force.’’
Brad Marchand, concussed Wednesday night in New Jersey when popped by defenseman Anton Volchenkov, also skated in the morning workout. He also skated on his own Sunday. The two days of workouts left Marchand encouraged.
“I’m feeling pretty good,’’ he said. “I felt like myself out there.’’
NHL protocol calls for players to sit out at least a week before they re-enter the lineup. The next stage for Marchand will be contact drills, not likely to occur until the end of this week. If all were to check out OK, he might be able to suit up for 2-3 games next week.
Rest for Hamilton
Rookie blue liner Doug Hamilton, who sat out the two previous games (coach’s decision), was slated to return against the Senators. Julien confirmed the move when noting that veteran Andrew Ference was to get the night off . . . Carl Soderberg is expected to land in Boston Tuesday and should be on the ice, in his No. 34 Black-and-Gold sweater, during the Wednesday morning skate. Just how soon he joins the lineup remains open to interpretation. “I’ll wait and see when he gets here,’’ Julien said of the 6-foot-3-inch Swedish center.