It wasn't long ago that many wondered if Patrice Bergeron was in serious danger after being taken out of the stadium in an ambulance in Game 5.
According to the latest reports around the web, however, Bergeron is not seriously injured. Joe Haggerty of CSN New England noted that Bergeron didn't rupture his spleen and wouldn't have flown home with the Bruins if he had:
Confirmed w/source close to Patrice Bergeron that injury "isn't a ruptured spleen." But he wouldn't have flown w/team if it were #BruinsTalk— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 23, 2013
Claude Julien is confident Patrice Bergeron will play tonight.— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 24, 2013
Boston absolutely needs Bergeron to play (and play well, at that) to avoid getting defeated by Chicago on Monday night. He's the key to the team's power-play offense with four goals, and his experience and leadership in big-game situations is invaluable.
Furthermore, Boston has relied on Bergeron to play big minutes throughout the postseason. In the team's 21 games thus far, Bergeron has averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.
He and David Krejci are the team's two top centers, and if he can't go then Jay Pandolfo or Jordan Caron will have to step in and play in his stead. No offense intended toward either of those men, but they don't hold a candle to Bergeron, who has five career game-winning goals during postseason play.
Head coach Claude Julien understands just what kind of void Bergeron's absence would be if he wasn't able to play. He recently said, via James Murphy of ESPN.com:
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 tonight's game.
In addition to Bergeron's tangible attributes on the ice, getting him back in the lineup against Chicago would give Boston a huge emotional boost.
Bergeron's presence in the lineup for Boston in Game 6 would mean...
His teammates—like everyone else—didn't know how serious his injury was when he left the stadium the other night, and losing him appeared to deflate the entire squad.
Professional hockey is an emotional game just as much as it is a physical one. Bergeron's presence in Boston's lineup will undoubtedly make a huge difference to the team's ability to not only score goals, but also to maintain a positive outlook in this upcoming do-or-die contest.
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