On Oct. 27, 2007, Bergeron suffered a grade III concussion and a broken nose from a hit from behind by then-Flyers defenseman Randy Jones. Bergeron subsequently missed the remainder of the 2007-08 season as he went through months of dizziness, headaches and nausea.
Bergeron finally returned to the Bruins last season and tallied 39 points in 64 games. But it wasn't until the late-season stretch run and in the playoffs that the real Bergeron returned. Bergeron had five assists in 11 playoff games and played his trademark two-way game, helping the Bruins get to within one game of the Eastern Conference finals.
Following the game-day skate Thursday, Bergeron, now 24, admitted to NESN.com that he hadn't even realized what this past Tuesday was.
"To be honest, it never really crossed my mind," Bergeron said.
When it was suggested that that might be a good thing, Bergeron smiled and agreed.
"Yeah, it definitely is," he said. "I'm just really glad to be playing the way I've been playing and, most of all, [to] be healthy. I'm really thankful to be out there again. Obviously something like that makes you realize how much you love the game. I feel healthy, though, and I just hope we can get things going."
After the Bruins' 2-1 loss to the Devils on Thursday night, a game in which Bergeron scored his fourth goal of the season and got his third point in his last four games, head coach Claude Julien said Bergeron has been his best forward all season.
"He has been our best and most consistent forward, by far," Julien said of the Quebec native who now has eight points in 11 games so far this season. "When you talk about the ups and downs and everything else, he has been as consistent as you could ever ask of him. He's having a great year. He's playing extremely well. He's very reliable and that goal he scored tonight was deserved because of his play."
Earlier this week, Julien also praised Bergeron for his subtle but meaningful leadership, describing the effect Bergeron has on the ice with his play and on the rare occasions when he addresses his teammates in the dressing room.
"Bergie is a quiet leader and not necessarily the rah-rah type, but every once in a while he'll speak," Julien said. "When he does, they listen because he doesn't speak that often and he doesn't speak for nothing."
Bergeron's resurgence has come at the perfect time for a Bruins team missing two key players in injured forwards Milan Lucic and Marc Savard. The loss of Savard, in particular, left a huge hole up the middle in terms of point-scoring ability.
"Bergie has been huge for us," veteran forward Mark Recchi said recently. "We needed guys to step up and he has been there for us. It's great to see him playing this way."
Ironically, as Bergeron spoke of his life and career finally having a sense of normalcy two years after that hit from Jones, Jones was being re-claimed Thursday off re-entry waivers by the Los Angeles Kings. He was deemed a cap casualty — to put it politely — in Philadelphia.
Bergeron immediately forgave Jones following the hit, but it's nice to know that the young Bruin didn't become a permanent casualty after that forgetful day two autumns ago.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP