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Bergeron practices in part with Bruins

by Shawn P. Roarke
BOSTON -- Injured Boston forward Patrice Bergeron continues to progress in his recovery from a concussion suffered 10 days ago. The latest sign of progress was taking part in the first part of Boston's practice Monday at TD Garden.

It is the first time in three straight days of on-ice work that Boston's No. 2 center has taken part in team drills. He skated on his own the morning of Saturday's Game 1 loss to Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Finals and then skated again before Sunday's practice, working extensively with the team's strength and conditioning coach.

Monday, he arrived on the Garden ice before his teammates and stayed when practice started with some power-play work. In fact, Bergeron even took part in some of those drills. He also remained for first part of the full practice, although he left just before the team started some battle drills and down-low work in the offensive zone.

All told, Bergeron was on the ice for a little more than an hour Monday.

Is it possible he could make a return in Tuesday's Game 2?

At first, Boston coach Claude Julien refused comment on the possibility before saying "I don't know" in response to a follow-up question.

Bergeron did not speak Monday.            

Bergeron taking part in a formal practice is just the next step in an established protocol for returning from concussions. Next, Bergeron will have to be cleared for physical contact. Nobody knows when that will be, so Julien tried to urge a bit of caution.

"As I said the other day, we're going through the protocol of what he has to go through and there's not much more to update you guys on, except that I think when he is ready to go, you guys will know it," the coach said. "It's just something that you can't predict how quickly or how slow it's going to be. It's just one of those situations where right now you see him going through what you saw him going through today, skating.

"But that's protocol. And right now we're not ready to make any comments because he's just going through those stages."

Bergeron's teammates don't know when he will return either, but just the sight of him on the ice, taking part in practice lifted their spirits.

"It's just good to see Bergy be on the ice," said defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who talked briefly with Bergeron after practice and said he seemed good. "It's a boost of confidence seeing him on the ice. We hope he's back, but we just hope he's feeling better and 100 percent healthy."

Bergeron does so much for the Bruins that they are desperate to welcome him back into the fold. Not only does he lead the team in scoring, but he stabilizes their forward lines, fortifies the penalty kill and adds a bit of swagger to their back-checking game.

"It was a little boost and hopefully he will be back soon," forward Michael Ryder said. "He's really good on faceoffs and shutting down those two top lines and when you miss a player like that, it's tough."

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