If Bergeron can't play, Pandolfo, Caron are options

Monday, 06.24.2013 / 1:56 PM
Corey Masisak  - NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Jay Pandolfo has played in more games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs than any player on the Boston Bruins roster except Jaromir Jagr.

If Patrice Bergeron is unable to play in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), it is possible Pandolfo finally will get a chance to add to his total.

Boston coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate Monday he is confident Bergeron will be able to play. The 2012 Selke Trophy winner did not participate in the morning skate after leaving Game 5 with what Julien has termed a "body injury."

Pandolfo rotated with Jordan Caron on Boston's fourth line during the morning skate. Carl Soderberg, who moved up to the second line when Bergeron was unable to play in the latter stages of Game 5, was between Brad Marchand and Jagr.

"I know Pandolfo is going to be in the warm-up tonight for sure, so is Caron, so we're going to have a few guys out there," Julien said. "If Bergeron can't go, then I have got some decisions to make. Again, there's a little bit more in the thought process than just picking a guy. I need to make decisions based on what the needs will be for [Game 6]."

Pandolfo played 18 games for the Bruins this season, but this would be his 2013 playoff debut. He hasn't played in a game since April 6. He was a regular for the New York Islanders last season, but was out of the League in 2010-11, playing 12 games in the American Hockey League.

His last Stanley Cup Playoff game was in 2009 with the New Jersey Devils, the team for which he appeared in 131 postseason games. Pandolfo helped the Devils win the Cup in 2000 and 2003, and reach the Final in 2001.

"I think we're all hopeful right now that Patrice is going to be in there," Pandolfo said. "If he's not, then other guys are going to have to go in and do the job. If I got the chance, I'd be confident. I've played in these situations before. The biggest thing for me is just stay ready. You never know what is going to happen."

Caron also has not played in the 2013 playoffs for the Bruins. He appeared in 17 games during the regular season, the last of which was April 13. He had one goal and three points.

THough Pandolfo, 38, would offer plenty of experience, Caron is 16 years younger and could offer more speed and physical play. He played a dozen games in the Calder Cup Playoffs for Providence before rejoining Boston in late May.

If Bergeron is a no-go, either Pandolfo or Caron would move into the spot on the fourth line where Soderberg started Game 5. It was Soderberg's playoff debut, and halfway through it he suddenly was centering a line with Marchand and Jagr.

Soderberg, who signed with the Bruins after his 2012-13 season in Sweden's top professional league, appeared in six games for Boston near the end of the regular season. He had no goals and two assists.

After not playing since April 28, Soderberg drew plaudits for his effort. He logged 14:16 of ice time and had two shots on goal.

"I thought he played really well," Pandolfo said. "He skated really well. He was put into a situation where probably he didn't think it was going to happen. He ends up centering the second line, but I thought he did a really good job for not playing in a while."

If Bergeron can not play, it obviously will be a huge hole in the lineup for the Bruins. He is one of the top two-way forwards in the sport, and leads the team with four goals in the Final. Were the Bruins to rally and win the Cup, he would be a top contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Bruins will need more from their other top forwards if Bergeron can not play. Marchand has no points in the Final, and Jagr has no goals in the 2013 playoffs. Milan Lucic has three goals in the series, but one since Game 1, and his linemates, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, also have been relatively quiet.

"[Bergeron has] been the glue for this hockey team for a lot of years," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. "He's been one of our best players. We'll see what happens. If he doesn't play, then it is going to be a full team effort to fill his skates.

"I think you worry about things you can control. That's not just in hockey; that's in life. You worry about things that you can control. We can't control [Bergeron]. We can't control other things. All you can control is each guy goes out there and works hard and plays their best."

Back to top