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Bergeron Eyeing Saturday for Preseason Debut

Center says rehab from groin injury is right on track

by Eric Russo @erusso22 / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - Patrice Bergeron remains the lone member of the Bruins' leadership core yet to suit up for a game this preseason, but all indications point to Boston's No. 1 center (groin) making his debut during the exhibition finale on Saturday afternoon against Chicago.

"I think so. That's a fair assessment," said Bergeron, who practiced in a normal white jersey on Tuesday alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. "I'm slowly feeling better on the ice and more comfortable. I'd like to be in Saturday for sure. If things go according to plan, it will be my first game.

"There's not much more to say than I'm feeling good, things are advancing and looking good."

While the Bruins appear close to having their top pivot back in action, their No. 2 center is now on the shelf. David Krejci played just two shifts during Monday's tilt with Philadelphia after an awkward collision in front of the Flyers' net forced him to leave the game with a lower-body injury early in the first period.

Krejci did not practice on Tuesday, but coach Bruce Cassidy reiterated his initial comments from after the game, saying that the club does not believe the injury to be serious.

"He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow," said Cassidy. "Right now, we don't think it's anything serious, but we're going to take our time with it and make sure he's ready to go next week."

Video: Bergeron provides the latest update on his health

Should Krejci's injury linger into the start of the regular season, Charlie Coyle could get the bump up to Boston's second line. Par Lindholm took that spot during Tuesday's practice, while Coyle skated between Danton Heinen and Brett Ritchie.

"I've literally done that for seven years now," Coyle said of moving up and down the lineup. "I'm pretty used to being able to adjust quickly to injuries, things happen…there's not much thought that really goes into it, just playing with different line mates. For the most part, I just try to play my game and be a force down the middle no matter what line I'm on."

Such a promotion would likely be little trouble for Coyle, who has picked up where left off during last spring's postseason. The Weymouth native has been outstanding so far in training camp, with Marchand calling him the team's best player to this point.

"That's nice to hear," said Coyle. "I want to keep building my game. Even if that was true, it's one thing to be the best player now, but it's how you are during the season and the playoffs. I want to keep building my game.

"If that's what he thinks, thanks Marchy, but there's a lot more ground that I know I can cover to be a better player for this team."

Joakim Nordstrom (foot) skated on Tuesday with the first group, briefly taking the ice for the early part of the session, donning a maroon non-contact jersey.

Video: Coyle on Krejci injury, potential to rise in lineup

Vladar Assigned

Bruins goalie prospect Dan Vladar was assigned to Providence on Tuesday. The 22-year-old stopped 14 of 16 shots over 20-plus minutes on Tuesday night against the Flyers and also played well last week in Philadelphia. He is likely to compete with Kyle Keyser for a spot behind Max Lagace as the P-Bruins No. 2 netminder.

"Donny [Sweeney] and [goalie coach Bob Essensa] spoke to him a lot more than I did," said Cassidy. "I think at the end of the day, Vladdy is good enough to compete for the net with Keyser. Lagace is kind of the proven entity, more NHL insurance in case we have an injury up here. That would be the message to him."

Cassidy expects a larger round of cuts to come following Wednesday night's exhibition contest against the New Jersey Devils.

"They'll play [Wednesday], a lot of them," Cassidy said of the younger players remaining in camp. "Then Thursday we'll get down to our group…barring some unforeseen injury in the game tomorrow night from a regular.

"Then we're gonna try to get down to our number, plus one or two to fill in, to cover for Nordy until he's back full go. Waiting on Krech to see when he's gonna join us. We'll certainly keep a couple guys around for that."

Boston's bench boss specifically mentioned wingers Paul Carey and Anders Bjork as potential bubble players.

Video: Cassidy talks Krejci injury, state of the camp roster

Hughes Skates

Bruins forward prospect Cameron Hughes practiced with his teammates on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a scary facial injury at the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo. The 22-year-old Edmonton native took a skate to the face in the opening game, requiring extensive dental work and stitches to close a cut under his mouth.

"It was tough," said Hughes, who collected 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 52 games last season during his first full pro campaign. "My biggest thing was I wanted to be healthy and get through that injury. It was pretty scary, lost a lot of teeth and had some dental work. I wasn't too concerned with the hockey part, wanted to get healthy. And now that I am, I'm back focused and ready to do what I can to show that I'm improved from last year."

Cassidy also expressed his disappointment, saying that he was looking forward to the 2015 sixth-round pick challenging for a potential call-up-type role this season.

"He's got some Danton Heinen in him…surprising skill, good defensive player, humble guy," said Cassidy. "We're hoping we'll see him here at some point. He's not going to play [Wednesday], he's not ready. Saturday's probably a long shot because of the injury.

"It's too bad because I think he's a guy that would have been in that mix for a call up because he can play some center and left wing, you can move him around. We like those guys here that are versatile."

Video: Hughes talks about recovery from scary facial injury

Blidh Has Surgery

Bruins forward prospect Anton Blidh had successful surgery to repair a ligament in his right shoulder on Monday, the result of an injury suffered last Thursday in Philadelphia. Recovery time is expected to be around four months.

"Surgery went well and I want to thank you for all the get-well-soon messages and kind words, really appreciate it!" Blidh wrote on Twitter. "Now I can't wait to get out there again. See you in 3-4 months."

Tuesday's Practice Groups

GROUP B

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - Par Lindholm - Karson Kuhlman

Danton Heinen - Charlie Coyle - Brett Ritchie

Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - David Backes

 

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

Jakob Zboril - Steven Kampfer

 

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

 

GROUP A

Forwards: Anders Bjork, Paul Carey, Trent Frederic, Brendan Gaunce, Cameron Hughes, Joona Koppanen, Robert Lantosi, Jakub Lauko, Zach Senyshyn, Pavel Shen, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka.

Defense: Josiah Didier, Jeremy Lauzon, Alex Petrovic, Urho Vaakanainen

Goalies: Kyle Keyser, Max Lagace

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