The Boston Bruins have been decimated by injuries this season, but their top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak has been good enough to help carry them through. Unfortunately, that trio will now be broken up. Kathryn Tappen of NBC Sports is reporting that Bergeron will be out an “extended period of time” with his upper-body injury. The team then announced that Bergeron has sustained a rib and sternoclavicular injury, and that he will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
Even injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara may not live up to the impact that this one will have on the Bruins, as Bergeron is a do-it-all superstar for the club. The 33-year old seems to have gotten even better with age, and had 26 points through his first 19 games. That put him on pace for the best offensive season of his career, something that will clearly be impossible now that he’s set to miss at least a month. It also seriously puts Boston’s playoff hopes in jeopardy, given the team is already trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division. It’s obviously not time to throw in the towel, but there certainly hasn’t been a lot of luck in Boston this season.
For those other Atlantic Division teams, this comes as a blessing. Bergeron and company have been an absolute matchup nightmare this season, seemingly scoring at will and allowing nothing from the opposition. Just recently we examined the ceiling for Pastrnak, but noted how he and Marchand had been broken up with Bergeron out of the lineup. Should that continue, the Bruins won’t have nearly the same advantage they were enjoying whenever their top unit was on the ice.
A four-time Selke Trophy winner as the league’s best defensive forward, Bergeron did deal with injury last season as well. These stints on the sideline are worrisome for a team that still has three more years invested in their top center, even though his salary dramatically decreases starting next season. If he’s on the ice, there’s no question that Bergeron is still one of the best players in the entire world. But he has to stay on the ice to be a positive for the team, and right now that looks doubtful for quite some time.