Nomination for Bergeron
He's in running for Masterton
Local members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association named Bruins center Patrice Bergeron the Boston nominee for the Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Bergeron, with 36 points in 60 games this season, missed most of last season after suffering a severe concussion Oct. 27, 2007, when he was drilled from behind and into the boards by Flyers defenseman Randy Jones. The 23-year-old pivot also was concussed this season when he collided with Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg Dec. 20.
"It's very flattering," said Bergeron, who had an assist in last night's 3-1 win over the Lightning. "I've been through a lot the last year, and this means a lot."
While he convalesced last season, unable to drive a car for weeks, Bergeron learned to cook more. He spent time in the kitchen, he said, in part because he felt the need to read recipes as a means of keeping his mind sharp. French is his first language, but he also took to reading books in English to expand his vocabulary and also make his brain work.
"If there is one word that comes out of a concussion," he mused, "it's 'patience.' "
Bergeron's No. 1 English read while rehabbing: "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" by Dan Millman.
Bergeron's game has picked up of late, as he works on an effective scoring line with Mark Recchi (two goals in Toronto Saturday night) and ex-Boston College standout Chuck Kobasew.
According to Bergeron, he has changed his helmet and shoulder pads since sustaining the hit by Jones. He worked extensively with Reebok on a helmet that would provide more protection. He switched shoulder pads only after the training staff convinced him that the ones he had did not afford him enough protection.
"We're going to see him come back with the team at some point this week," said coach Claude Julien. "I guess we anticipate that he should be playing again early next week."
Per team policy, Julien would not reveal the reason Kessel has been missing in action the last two games.
"We're in the business of protecting our players," noted the good-natured Julien, "and you guys are in the business of exposing them."
Kessel, 21, who missed a chunk of his rookie season for treatment of testicular cancer, was sidelined with mononucleosis for a couple of weeks this January. Late last week, he appeared to be under treatment for an ailing shoulder.
Kessel still leads the Bruins with 31 goals, though he has connected only seven times over the 25 games leading to his recent setback.
Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at email@example.com.