Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 09: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the third period against the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on November 09, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins know they will be without captain and do-it-all center Patrice Bergeron through at least Thursday.

Knocked out of Tuesday’s loss to the Penguins after a collision with Sidney Crosby that started with a skate tie-up and ended with Bergeron appearing to bang his head off the boards, the Bruins confirmed the worst following Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. It’s not an ailment involving banged-up shoulder or a stiff neck, but rather Bergeron’s head.

 “It’s involving his head, so we have to be careful,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy offered. “This is a guy that’s had head injuries in the past. We want to make sure everything checks out. He wants to make sure everything checks out.”

The days of outright saying “concussion” are long over. The only time we hear it confirmed by a coach into a working microphone these days seems to be in the postseason, and typically when a coach is looking to drive an injury home in the hopes of supplemental discipline or gamesmanship for the next head-to-head.

But that concern is an obvious one for the Bruins, clearly, and especially when it comes Bergeron.

It’s been almost 15 years since Bergeron nearly saw his career ended with a Grade-3 concussion on a hit from Randy Jones. That comeback alone took nearly a full year, and Bergeron suffered a second concussion just two months into that comeback. Overall, the 36-year-old has suffered recorded four concussions, with his last one coming back in Apr. 2013.

That nearly eight-year gap is encouraging in terms of a major setback. But the overall total is always enough to make you wince, and it’s certainly enough to give the Bruins pause when it comes to penciling Bergeron back into action anytime soon.

“I don’t know,” Cassidy said when asked if he’s concerned that this could be a long-term absence for Bergeron. “In the immediate term here, he didn’t skate [Wednesday] and won’t play [Thursday].”

Part of that has to do with Bergeron’s status both as a three-zone engine on this year’s team and his long-term approach as a year-to-year player. A rush to action and subsequent setback could have Bergeron truly weighing the pros and cons of retirement more than ever, and the Bruins are in absolutely no rush to enter the post-Bergeron era down the middle.

But another part of that has to do with the B’s place in the standings (they’re currently seven points clear of the ninth-place Red Wings and have four games in hand), as well as the uncomfortable reality that this team may be about to take a lick or two with Brad Marchand hit with a career-high six-game suspension late Wednesday night.

So it’s instead day-to-day in the truest form with No. 37.

“Hopefully he’s in good shape in the next few days, but we’re going to obviously take as much time as we need with this one,” Cassidy admitted.

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