Phil Kessel was out for the weekend games with an undisclosed injury, and wasn’t on the practice ice for this morning’s pre-game skate — which means he’ll miss his third straight game tonight.
But Bruins coach Claude Julien indicated that Kessel may be a possibility for next Tuesday’s road game against the Ottawa Senators. The problem is believed to be a shoulder injury suffered March 10 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the B’s bench boss remains tight-lipped about the nature of Kessel’s injury. Julien also indicated that the winger will rejoin the team on the practice ice at some point later in the week.
“I think we’re going to see him come back with the team at some point this week, and I guess we anticipate that he should be playing again early next week,” said Julien with a smile on his face. “It’s still undisclosed. We’re in the business of protecting our players, and you guys are in the business of exposing them. We’re going to stick with keeping them from being exposed.”
Kessel has missed 8 games this season with a bout of mono and this current injury, but still leads the team with 31 goals scored on the year.
—Patrice Bergeron was happy to accept the PHWA nomination for the Masterton Trophy, and took it as another encouraging step back in his return from last season’s concussion issues. Bergeron has been noticeably picking up his play over the last six weeks of hockey, and boasts 3 goals and 11 assists in his last 19 games dating back to a Feb. 14 road game against the Nashville Predators.
The 23-year-old center has shown all of the trademark characteristics of a Masterton nominee — perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey — during a season-long journey returning from a potentially career-ending concussuon last season. Bergeron said that he took to cooking and reading books in English during his time out with injury — in part to keep his brain working — and derived a great deal of inspiration from reading “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” during his recovery.
“I’ve been through a lot over the last year and [the nomination] means a lot,” said Bergeron. “It’s been a long process, but I’m happy that it’s behind me. I feel like my game is coming back, and I’m just happy to back out there with the guys helping them try to win every game.
“Now it’s about getting back to my game and being back to where I’m out there having fun every day during practices and games,” added Bergeron, who added that he’s using a different foam and shell inside his Reebok helmet and finally gave in to the B’s equipment guy’s requests that he start using new shoulder pads. “I think I’m pretty close. It’s just a matter of getting a couple of bounces and the puck going in and getting that confidence. Other than that, I am feeling pretty good out there.”