Wilmington, MA --
Injured Boston Bruins Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron
returned to the ice again on Monday morning in an effort to continue their respective comebacks.
Although both men had skated previously, it was the first time Fernandez, a goaltender, had seen live shots since his knee surgery on Dec. 12th. It was also the first time that Bergeron, a center by trade, had shot at a net manned by a goalie since suffering a concussion and broken nose on Oct. 27th.
Fernandez, who has missed 53 games and Bergeron, who has missed 54, put each other through some tough paces, keeping in mind that the forward must remain beneath a maximum heart rate (160 beats or below) and the goalie can not use the butterfly to drop to the ice and save low shots.
Nonetheless, even with their limitations, the two players worked hard through a short, but intense on-ice workout.
"We got here this morning and did a lot of off-ice stuff to start," said B's strength and conditioning guru John Whitesides, "Manny came in and warmed up his knee and went on the ice. Patrice did a lot of cardio stuff…which helps him warm up.
"And then, when we [all] got on the ice, we just did some skating stuff just to try and get going.
"Then Manny got in the net and saw shots today for the first time and Patrice was able to shoot on him," he said.
Bergeron, 22, now in his fourth season with the Bruins, played just 10 games with 3-4-7 totals. In 239 career games in Black & Gold, Patrice has 72 goals and 117 assists for 189 total points.
"[Last] week was actually the first week that I started skating," said Bergeron. "I started with 10 minutes and went up to 20 minutes.
"It feels really good to be back on the ice.
"So for now, it's pretty much me going on the ice for 20 minutes and getting off," he said.
But the work doesn't end there.
"I do a little workout," explained Patrice and echoing Whitesides, "some cardio with the elliptical for about 12 minutes and then some slide board for six to seven minutes.
"Then a little bit of body weight squats, lunges with no wait. That's about it [as we] try to get the strength back in my legs."
Fernandez, 33, and in his first year with Boston, played his first game with the Bruins on October 5th in Dallas and earned his first win in Black & Gold with a 8-6 decision over Los Angeles on October 12th.
Before his surgery, Fernandez played in four games, earning a 2-2-0 record, with one shutout and a 3.93 GAA. In 297 NHL games, Manny is 127-115-32 with a 2.49 GAA and a .912 sv% in time with Dallas, Minnesota and Boston.
"The more you do, the better it gets," said Fernandez. "I am going to try and push it as hard as I can.
|Manny Fernandez readies for a shot. (photo by John Bishop) |
"Today was a good day -- I wore the equipment, felt good on the ice -- it's all positive and makes me want to go out there and do more."
Both men are happy to have a partner as they aim towards a full return to the team during the present campaign.
"Me and Bergy are working our way back together," said a very optimistic Fernandez. "So there is a lot of adrenaline going through the both of us and we're really happy to…be at this point and feeling better."
Bergeron has a similar mindset.
"You always want to push yourself," said Bergeron. "But at the same time you have to be smart with it…I was a little nervous and I was also happy at the same time to have a chance to shoot on Manny…with his full gear on, and for me to face a goalie again and take some real shots again."For more on Fernandez and Bergeron's return, click on the links above.