Patrice Bergeron, making his first public appearance since suffering a concussion on Dec. 20 against Carolina, spoke for approximately 15 minutes in the home dressing room at TD Banknorth Garden this morning.
"I'm very confident I'll play this year," said Bergeron. "It's a matter of when. That's why I don't want to put on a date on it and get disappointed like I was last year in the playoffs. I've learned from that. So yes, I do think I'll be back."
Bergeron, wearing a sweatshirt and a Bruins hat, said he is free of headaches. For the last week, he has been working out on a stationary bike or elliptical trainer without symptoms. Most recently, he has been riding the bike for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, elevating his heart rate to between 145 and 150 beats per minute. Bergeron didn't put a timetable on when he'd be able to start skating.
* Bergeron was told by Dr. Robert Cantu that he suffered a concussion because he took a blow to the jaw when he checked Carolina's Dennis Seidenberg. "Especially after talking to the doctor, with that type of hit right on the jaw, it has nothing to do with last year's hit," said Bergeron, who wears a mouthpiece and a specially designed Reebok helmet. "He said it would have happened to almost anyone."
* Perhaps the toughest thing for Bergeron was the first week at home after the hit. Bergeron's symptoms included headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. But more draining was the mental strain of going through another concussion. "I've worked so hard to get back," Bergeron said. "I was starting to feel a lot better about my game. Then that hit happened. To go down again with a concussion is really frustrating. But it was the first week I was thinking about that. I was down and a little negative. Now that I've improved, I'm not thinking about that. I'm looking forward."
* While Bergeron emphasized that his latest concussion is not related to his first one, he noted that last year's recovery and rehab will be a good reference going forward. "The biggest thing I learned from last year is to take it day by day," Bergeron said. "Don't look too far ahead. If I do, I might get disappointed. If I say I'm going to skate in two weeks or one week and I don't, then I'm going to be disappointed. I want to take it day by day, follow the orders from the doctors, and try to improve. But also rest and don't try to do too much when you do feel better, because it can set you back."