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After all, it was only a lung

Bergeron played through a raft of injuries, including a collapsed lung

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Even Patrice Bergeron admits playing with his injuries = torn rib cartilage, broken rib, punctured lung - may not have been smart, but he has no regrets.

CHARLES KRUPA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Even Patrice Bergeron admits playing with his injuries = torn rib cartilage, broken rib, punctured lung - may not have been smart, but he has no regrets.

BOSTON -- Torn rib cartilage in Game 4.

A broken rib in Game 5.

A separated shoulder in Game 6.

Patrice Bergeron played through it all in the Stanley Cup final. And that doesn't include the collapsed lung the Boston Bruins star learned about after skating up and down TD Garden ice in the last game, trying in vain to keep the season going.

 

"I don't know if there's pride," Bergeron said Tuesday. "Some people would say it's stupid."

'You put everything on the line to help your team. That's basically what I did. I'm 100 per cent confident everyone else would have done the same thing. There's a lot of really tough guys on our team and I don't feel like I should take all the praise'

-- Patrice Bergeron

He was in the hospital last Wednesday when his teammates met reporters for the final time, two days after the season ended with a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the sixth game. So on Tuesday, he stood at a podium in the Bruins locker-room, hands in the pockets of his pink shorts, and matter-of-factly recited his medical record.

At least his legs were spared.

"It's all good," Bergeron said. "I'm 100 per cent (in the) lower body."

The stitches sewn at the end of his right eyebrow while he sat on the bench in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the New York Rangers were gone. The red scar on his nose was still visible from the fight he had with Evgeni Malkin in Game 1 of Boston's four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finals.

His spleen checked out OK after an ambulance took him from the United Center during Game 5 of the last round in Chicago. He hadn't been diagnosed with a concussion since the fourth of his career sidelined him for six games in April.

But moving on, Patrice, how about next season?

Bergeron said he doesn't need surgery and should be ready for the start of training camp.

Any of those injuries would have sidelined players in other sports. But Bergeron, one of the NHL's best all-around players, insists he did nothing special to help the Bruins play for their second Stanley Cup title in three years.

"You put everything on the line to help your team. That's basically what I did. I'm 100 per cent confident everyone else would have done the same thing," the Bruins alternate captain said. "There's a lot of really tough guys on our team and I don't feel like I should take all the praise."

Bergeron has spent all of his nine NHL seasons with the Bruins. Without him, they likely would have been eliminated in the first round when they trailed the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation of an intense Game 7. He tied it with 51 seconds remaining in the third period, then won it with his goal at 6:05 of overtime.

He scored another overtime winner in Game 3 against Pittsburgh. Then he had two goals -- and the first since his rash of injuries -- in Game 4 against Chicago.

But that was the game in which the centre tore rib cartilage. Early in Game 5, he was hit in the ribs and suffered a crack on the left side. Doctors told him the only way he could play in Game 6 was to get a nerve block that would freeze the area.

Bergeron also separated his right shoulder in the first period but played the rest of the way.

As the game went on, he could feel his energy fading. When it ended, he endured the tradition of shaking hands and went to the locker-room.

From there, Bergeron went right to Massachusetts General Hospital, where a puncture was found in the lung.

"I kind of had trouble breathing a little bit," he said. "I felt like my chest was closing in on me so the doctors didn't want to take any chances. There's an X-ray machine (in the locker-room), but they couldn't tell, really. It wasn't clear enough for them. They wanted to make sure and, luckily enough, they made the right decision because I went there right away and they found out that my lung had collapsed."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2013 D4

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