BRIGHTON, MA — There was good and bad news at the first practice of the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs for the Boston Bruins on Saturday morning.
After exiting after the first period of his team’s 5-4 win over the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday with an upper-body injury, Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron was absent from practice Saturday. In his place, and between Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk on the team’s top line, was Pavel Zacha. However, Marchand also left practice early, and afterwards, Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery addressed their statuses.
“Precautionary,” Montgomery said of Bergeron’s absence. “Same with ‘Marchy.’ Marchy wanted to give it a try today, and then he didn’t feel it. …he had a little bit of soreness, so I said, ‘Get off the ice’, and we knew it was going to be a hard practice, so we were very cautious. Even like ‘Gryzzy’ [Matt Grzelcyk] is a little sore, so he didn’t play in the scrimmage portion of it, so just precautionary.”
Montgomery stressed that this upper-body injury for Bergeron was not new and one of an assortment of nagging injuries the Boston Bruins captain has battled through.
Montgomery was criticized when he dressed a full lineup for his team’s regular-season finale and even more when his captain left the game early. If Bergeron cannot play in Game 1 of the Bruins’ first-round series with the Florida Panthers on Monday night, that criticism could intensify.
The good news from Saturday’s practice was that veteran center David Krejci and defenseman Derek Forbort returned to practice in full-contact jerseys. This was Krejci’s first full practice after missing the last six games of the regular season. For Derek Forbort, this was his second in a full-contact jersey since suffering a low-body injury on March 16. Krejci, Forbort, and Nick Foligno were the reason Montgomery decided to go hard at practice.
“The reason I wanted to have such a hard practice with a scrimmage involved is we’re looking at Foligno and Forbort, and we want to see where their conditioning and game speed is and how they react to that,” Montgomery said.
The Boston Bruins practice again at Warrior Ice Arena tomorrow.