BOSTON, MA - There will be a welcome addition to the Bruins' lineup for Saturday's night match-up in Detroit against the Red Wings, with Patrice Bergeron expected to play in his first preseason game of 2013-14.
"Yeah, Bergy’s going to play tomorrow," B's Head Coach Claude Julien confirmed to reporters following Friday's practice sessions at TD Garden. "Who’s got the tweets going?" he jested.
Bergeron's return to game action has been much anticipated ever since he stood with media in the locker room after the Cup Final and gave out a laundry list of injuries he played through that included a broken rib, torn cartilage, collapsed lung and separated shoulder.
With Boston's training camp split into two groups, Bergeron's crew has already played in one preseason game, when they faced the Washington Capitals at Baltimore Arena on Tuesday night. The centerman did not make the trip, as a precaution.
Both Bergeron and Gregory Campbell spent extra time testing each other with 1-on-1 battling on Tuesday. Talking with the training staff about managing any pain was the next step before being ready to play. He didn't want to push it too fast.
"Playing games is always the answer you need and that’s the only way you can feel better, feel more comfortable - in your game shape," Bergeron said after his battling drills with Campbell.
"The game is always the last and final answer; you need some games to feel better."
Campbell returned to game action on Thursday night at TD Garden. Now, Bergeron will get his chance in Detroit.
The centerman will also get the opportunity to play alongside right winger Loui Eriksson for the first time in game action. The trio of Bergeron, Eriksson and Brad Marchand has been on a line together throughout all of training camp; they're looking forward to finally getting into game situations.
"It's getting better and better every day, it feels like," Eriksson said of playing with Bergeron and Marchand. "We need some games and that's when you get a good feeling of where you're at and you learn to play with each other, too, but it's been good so far."
"He's a really good player to play with," he added, of getting a chance to have Bergeron as his centerman. "It's going to be nice to get some games with him too, and see what we can do out there. That's how we work on things."
Without Bergeron in the lineup on Tuesday (Alexander Khohklachev slotted in at center), it was tough to assess the line, with just Marchand and Eriksson, though the pair is certainly forming chemistry among each other as well.
"Yeah, it’s definitely a lot different. He’s such a big asset to our team and sometimes when he’s not out there with me a I do feel a little lost," admitted Marchand, of his pivot.
"I’m so used to playing with him. But you realize all the little things he does on the ice that makes him such a good player. You definitely miss him every second he’s not out there."