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Patrice Bergeron still has ‘lingering issues’ from his injuries 09.11.13 at 5:19 pm ET
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Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron

No one could’ve expected Patrice Bergeron to be back at 100 percent so soon.

As it turns out, Bergeron himself admitted Wednesday that he’s still dealing with some aches and pains from the multitude of injuries he sustained in order to help the Bruins try to win the Stanley Cup in late June.

He was back in front of his locker Wednesday for the start of training camp and even passed the conditioning test that allows him to take part in full practices with his team.

To recap, Bergeron suffered a separated shoulder, broken rib, torn rib cage cartilage and, most serious of all, a punctured lung between Games 5 and 6 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Blackhawks.

To see him back on Wednesday for the start of training camp was a great sign but as Claude Julien cautioned later, he still hasn’t been cleared for preseason games.

“If I feel fine in the first couple of practices, and I feel like I can bang around and play physical in the 1-on-1 stuff on the ice, I’ll pretty much feel like I’ll be ready to get going and move forward,” Bergeron said, before acknowledging that he still has to be cautious early on in camp. “I guess the next couple of days will really tell me where I stand with the lingering issues.”

This summer, Bergeron spent most of his time rehabbing instead of traditional training.

“Honestly, I’ve been able to do most of my workouts,” Bergeron said. “It just took me more time to start that and get that going. So, I was doing a lot of rehab early on and after that it was more issues with core and reaching out on my sides too much so I’m not doing too many core exercises and stay away from that as much as possible but otherwise, I was able to do pretty much everything.”

And when he wasn’t rehabbing, he was busy getting married to his longtime girlfriend Stephanie Bertrand.

“It went well,” Bergeron said. “It was a fun day and everything went well.”

Bergeron and Gregory Campbell became icons for Boston sports in the spring when both played through remarkable pain to help the Bruins in the playoffs. Bergeron heard a lot of praise over the summer and offered perspective on it on Wednesday.

“I’ve been told that a few times and to be honest, I’ve talked to Soupy a couple of times already about it,” Bergeron said. “We don’t feel like it was anything special, anything extraordinary to be honest with you. We felt like we were just trying to do our job. Same thing for me, I was just trying to be out there and help the team as much as possible on the ice. I’m 100 percent positive that all the guys would’ve done the same thing, especially late in the season in the finals like that. You want to be out there, helping your teammates out.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Gregory Campbell, NHL
Claude Julien: Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell ‘cleared’ for practice, not games yet at 1:02 pm ET
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Claude Julien speaks to reporters Wednesday at the opening of Bruins training camp in Boston. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Claude Julien speaks to reporters Wednesday at the opening of Bruins training camp in Boston. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

On the first day of training camp, Bruins coach Claude Julien announced what would likely be considered good news by all Bruins followers.

Patrice Bergeron and Gregory Campbell both passed their conditioning drills and have been cleared for full practice with the team. Bergeron suffered a punctured lung, a broken rib, a separated shoulder and damaged cartilage at the end of the Stanley Cup finals in late June. Campbell suffered a broken right leg blocking a slap shot from Evgeni Malkin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“They’re going to practice with us, they’re going to be on the ice,” Julien announced Wednesday afternoon during his first full press conference of camp. “When it comes time to play those exhibition games, it’ll be obviously a conversation again with our trainers, making sure that if they’re going to play, there’s not a risk factor.”

The Bruins open their seven-game preseason next Monday night in Montreal against the Canadiens, and it’s unlikely either player would be ready to play, though Julien did leave some wiggle room on Wednesday.

“Right now, I would tell you that they would not be cleared to play a game if we started today but that might chance in the upcoming day or in a week from now,” Julien said. “They can practice with the team. It’s just about playing in an exhibition game.”

Julien also confirmed that everyone who took the conditioning test on Wednesday passed. Julien said he took the excellent conditioning of his team as a sign of where they’re at as a group.

“I don’t think I’m going to need time in camp to assess [conditioning or mentality],” Julien said. “I feel it right now. I think our group is in the right place. I like the feeling of our hockey club right now. These tests today just kind of solidified what I thought. Guys are in great shape. It would’ve been easy guys, after finishing so late, to just kind of shut ‘er down for the summer. But they’ve kept themselves in great and they look excited to get off to a new start here.”

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Gregory Campbell, Montreal Canadiens
Tuukka Rask gets eight years, $56 million from Bruins 07.10.13 at 5:28 pm ET
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Tuukka Rask has been rewarded with the biggest annual salary on the Bruins. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The Bruins announced Wednesday that they have signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to an eight-year, $56 million contract.

Though not the richest contract for a goalie in NHL history because there is now an eight-year limit on contract terms, Rask’s $7 million cap hit ties him with Nashville’s Pekka Rinne for the highest-paid goalie in the league.

Rask played on a one-year, $3.5 million deal last season, his first as a full-time starter for the B’s. He led the B’s to within two wins of a Stanley Cup victory as he led all postseason goalies with a .940 save percentage.

Rask’s new contract makes him the team’s highest-paid player, just ahead of Zdeno Chara, who makes $6.91 million a season.

In 36 regular-season games in 2013, Rask posted a 19-10-5 record with a GAA of 2.00 and a .929 save percentage with five shutouts. The B’s netminder finished the season tied for fourth in the NHL in wins (19), tied for first in shutouts (five), third in save percentage (.929) and tied for fourth in goals against (1.96).

During the 2013 postseason, Rask led the NHL in save percentage (.940), tied for first in shutouts (three) and finished fourth in GAA (1.88) in 22 games. Rask set a club record for home playoff shutout streak at 193:16, spanning from Game 4 of the conference finals to Game 3 of the Cup finals.

In Tim Thomas‘ final season with the Bruins (2011-12), Rask appeared in 23 games, recording an 11-8-3 record with a 2.05 GAA and a save percentage of .929. In 2009-10, Rask set a career high in wins (22) and led the NHL with a 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage, becoming the first Bruins goaltender to have a GAA below 2.00 since 1998-99. His 1.97 GAA that season, was the lowest by any Bruins goaltender since 1938-39 season.

In 138 NHL games, all of which have come with the Bruins, Rask has compiled a 66-45-16 record with 16 shutouts, a .927 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against average. The 26-year-old has appeared in 35 postseason games for the Bruins, amassing a 21-14 record, while posting a 2.15 GAA and a .930 save percentage with three shutouts.

Prior to joining Boston, Rask spent the majority of two seasons with the Providence Bruins (AHL) from 2007-09, amassing a record of 60-33-6 with a 2.42 GAA and .910 save percentage. In his rookie season with Providence in 2007-08, Rask finished the season tied for fifth in wins (27) and the following year was tied for second (33).

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound native of Tampere, Finland, was selected in the first round (21st overall) of the 2005 NHL draft by the Maple Leafs. The Bruins acquired Rask from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006.

Mike Petraglia contributed to this report.

Read More: Boston Bruins, NHL, Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask
Brad Marchand: ‘We had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers’ 06.26.13 at 10:45 pm ET
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Brad Marchand talks Wednesday during Bruins breakup day at TD Garden. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Brad Marchand wasn’t hiding much on Wednesday during breakup day for the Bruins at TD Garden.

Marchand made it clear that he’s still pretty depressed about what happened on Monday night, when a 2-1 lead with less than 90 seconds left turned into a 3-2 loss in the matter of 17 seconds.

While there will be several veterans departing (Andrew Ference, Jaromir Jagr, Jay Pandolfo), the core of a talented young team will remain intact. That was reassuring but only small consolation Wednesday.

“Well, it’s definitely a little reassuring that we know we could potentially have a good team,” Marchand began. “I mean, things always happen, trades and everything like that, but for the most part the foundation is there. But I don’t think it changes what happened, we had a good opportunity and it slipped through our fingers. That was a tough game to swallow.”

But with names like Tyler Seguin, Torey Krug, Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski and Marchand himself, the team figures to make deep runs in the Cup playoffs a habit.

“I mean, you look at a lot of guys on our team are locked in here and they definitely did a great job of making sure were going to have a very good team for a while,” Marchand said. “And we’re very, very fortunate to be a part of this organization and this team. We definitely have a good group in here.”

With so much talk about injuries on Wednesday, did Marchand suffer any injury?

“Just my heart,” he quipped.

How is this year’s loss different that 2012 first-round exit to the Capitals?

“It’s definitely a lot better than losing in the first round, but it’s still disappointing,” Marchand said. “Whether you lose in the first round or the finals, you didn’t win. So it’s definitely different in ways where we made it here and had the opportunity but still didn’t win.”

Now Marchand and the Bruins begin a short summer break before September rolls around.

“It’s definitely going to be a little bit different,” he said. “We finished so late and we start a week early, so, I mean, were going to have to take a little bit less of a break and try to get back right into things quickly and get prepared for that training camp.”

Marchand was held without a point in the six games against Chicago and didn’t score a goal in the final eight games of the playoffs.

“They’re a good team,” Marchand said of the Blackhawks. “They were tough to play against, and things just didn’t go right. It would have been nice to contribute a little more.

“It was a different year. Missing up until Christmas time and coming back in, it was a different season. But you always want to try to improve in all areas of your game. I thought this year I was a little bit better defensively and tried to focus a little bit more on that, but definitely still areas to improve.”

Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, NHL
Peter Chiarelli on Patrice Bergeron: ‘Of course he was at risk’ at 9:52 pm ET
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Peter Chiarelli (left) and Claude Julien address reporters Wednesday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The only thing Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli felt certain of when it came to Patrice Bergeron Wednesday was that Bergeron was putting himself at some risk by playing with a broken rib and torn cartilage in Game 6 against Chicago.

Chiarelli confirmed that Bergeron, who also suffered a separated shoulder in the first period of Game 6, went to the hospital after the Blackhawks won the Cup and remained there for observation after it was determined that he had a small puncture in his lung.

Chiarelli said that Bergeron took a shot for the pain in his ribs before Game 6, “freezing” the area in pain.

“Of course he was at risk. Anytime anyone gets frozen up they’re at risk,” Chiarelli said. “Not for future injury, but from a pain perspective, and certainly he was at risk from the lung perspective, but it was a small puncture and he’s fine now.”

What was not clear from Chiarelli or Claude Julien on Wednesday is exactly when he suffered the puncture.

“There’s a freezing type of procedure, the nerve block, that Patrice opted to do so he could play in [Game 6], and at some point before or after the game, it could have been the cracked rib, there was a puncture in his lung,” Chiarelli said. “That’s why he was under observation following the game. It was a very small hole, and he’s fine. Patrice is fine. I don’t know when it happened.

“I don’t think he could have played if it happened during the game. I just, I don’t. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think he could have played if it happened. He was aware of the risk going into it.”

Did Bergeron put his life at risk by playing?

“No, I don’t know exactly what had happened, but he couldn’t have played if it had happened during the game, so it may have happened after,” Chiarelli said. “We caught it and it was like he had a pain in his lung and we brought him to the hospital.”

It was Claude Julien who watched Bergeron closely from behind the bench throughout Game 6.

“If [punctured lung] had happened during the game, he wouldn’t have been able to recover as far as having that little puncture in his lung,” Julien said. “He wouldn’t have been able to recover, so the biggest speculation is that it didn’t happen during the game.”

“If it had happened during the game, he would have felt the pain and then he wouldn’t have been able to play, and the same thing, he would have been sent to the hospital and it would have been rectified,” Chiarelli said.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, NHL, Patrice Bergeron
All eyes on the ice (conditions) for Game 6 06.24.13 at 2:39 pm ET
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Chris Kelly speaks Monday before Bruins Game 6 against Blackhawks. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

High humidity and temperatures in the 90s outside for a second straight day are hardly the ideal conditions for good ice for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

But that’s what both the Bruins and Blackhawks will be dealing with Monday night in front of a loud and fired-up Garden crowd, whose energy will only add to the heat.

“Well, obviously with some fans in the building tonight, it’ll get obviously warmer,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I thought the ice this morning was in pretty good shape, and they’ve done a good job. Walking in here yesterday with 90-plus degrees it was nice and cool in the arena.

“But those doors are going to open I would imagine and some of the heat will come in. But those are conditions that you have to play with at this time of year. Everybody has been through it, and two teams are going through the same conditions. Both teams are going to tell you the same truth; keep the game simple and try and avoid those mistakes from overhandling pucks in those kind of ice conditions.”

Chris Kelly, who was outspoken about the patchy ice conditions after the Bruins won Game 3, provided the best perspective.

“It’s June, late June,” he said. “You expect it. I think even up in Canada it’d still be warm. If the ice is going to be bad, it’s going to be bad for both sides. You expect that. I think the pretty plays might not always be there because of the ice conditions.”

What’s the most important thing the Bruins can do tonight to handle the ice and the Blackhawks?

“I think managing the puck, putting it in a better situation so we can get it,” Kelly said. “Just making better plays. I think our puck management can still be a bit better.”

Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Chris Kelly
These ‘really confident’ Bruins know they have to re-capture road warrior mentality 06.21.13 at 9:09 pm ET
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Bruins fans will be few and far between in Chicago Saturday night for Game 5. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Perhaps the lasting legacy of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins was their ability to win in a hostile environment when they had no other choice.

Game 7 in Vancouver was the ultimate testament to that quality.

Now, these Bruins have a chance to repeat that accomplishment, and must, if they are to achieve their ultimate goal. Already, the Bruins have proven they can win in Chicago. But after losing Game 4 in overtime, they must find a way again.

“It’s tough, but we know we can do it,” captain Zdeno Chara said Friday. “We have a good enough team. We just have to be ready. It’s going to be a battle.”

“I guess it helps some kind of confidence there, but it’s still going to be a tough one,” Tuukka Rask said of winning Game 2 last Saturday.

Chara knows the value of the experience of Game 7 in 2011 – and Game 2 this year – in Boston’s quest.

“It’s huge,” Chara said. “You need to be able to win games on the road. It’s something that good teams go to do, and certainly we’ve done it once, so we’ve got to do our best to do it again.”

Added Tyler Seguin: “I think it helps a ton. We know what to expect a bit more and that being said Chicago’s been in this series just as much as we have. You know, it’s going to be a long series still and it’s one we’re enjoying.”

All eyes will be on Rask to see how he handles the “bounce back” game.

“Yeah, we’ve got to focus on [Game 5], hopefully get the win and have a chance to finish it at home,” Rask said. “[We're] really confident. I think that’s one of our good qualities as a team. We never let things bother us.”

Maybe Johnny Boychuk had the best take of all on the road factor.

“It doesn’t really matter at this point where we’re playing,” Boychuk said. “I think both teams are just trying to worry about what they’re doing and trying to just battle as hard as you can to win a Cup.”

Read More: 2013 Stanley Cup, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Johnny Boychuk
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