Patrice Bergeron's midseason vacation, a break he would have preferred never to be an option, is over. The Bruins' 22-year-old center is back in Boston after a one-week stay in Aruba, and according to his agent, Bergeron is expected to make another attempt soon at a very light exercise regimen to find out - perhaps once and for all - whether there is a chance he can return to action this season.
"He is doing well. I talked to him [yesterday]," said Bergeron's agent, Kent Hughes. "He had a relaxing trip. I can't speak for the Bruins, but my sense of this is that they wanted him to go away, relax, just get his mind off of things."
In fact, said Hughes, a discussion with the neurosurgeon in charge of Bergeron's care played a part in the Bruins' suggestion that the talented forward take a break in the sun. Bergeron was not keen on leaving, said Hughes, because he's a hockey player, and hockey players prefer frozen water to sandy beaches. But the doctor's suggestion was that it might serve Bergeron well to unplug from the anxiety that is often part of trying to recover from a serious injury.
"He had to be told, 'Look, you're not going there to enjoy yourself - this is something that is supposed to be therapeutic,' " said Hughes. " 'And, hey, if you're going to get away for that purpose, it might as well be blue ocean water, I guess, right?' "
The Bruins returned home after last night's game in Montreal and play again tomorrow night vs. the Islanders at the Garden. Hughes said he expected Bergeron to meet soon with the club's medical and training staff in hopes of determining whether he should attempt to resume the light workouts he started last month.
Bergeron sustained a Grade 3 concussion Oct. 27 when drilled headlong into the boards by Flyers defenseman Randy Jones. He began his light workouts less than eight weeks later but was forced to abandon them when bothersome headaches returned - often the case for post-concussion patients.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said late last week he didn't expect Bergeron to play again this season. With the Feb. 26 trade deadline fast approaching, Chiarelli has yet to decide whether to consider the center finished for 2007-08, and perhaps use his salary cap figure ($4.75 million) to try to make a deal, or leave open the chance that one of the club's most valuable playing assets will be able to suit up again.
"Again, I can't speak for the Boston Bruins, but I don't think they are quite there yet," said Hughes. "Maybe they see about getting him back on a light program, and find out if the rest served him well.
"Then there are other considerations, too: Do you want to rush him back if he's lost 10-15 pounds, if his conditioning isn't ready? I really get the impression, though, that the Bruins organization will do what's best for Patrice long-term, and they're not just looking at the here and now, or only the immediate future."