It wasn’t a great night for the two top centers in the Stanley Cup final. The Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews were both taken out of the action with unrelated injuries. Now that almost 24 hours have passed, speculation is swirling about the condition of the two stars.
Both players did not see the ice, although their two stories were much different. Toews was subject to a huge hit by Johnny Boychuck that drew speculation of supplemental discipline from the NHL. Toews sat on the bench for the entire third period, and was reported to have no obvious problems when he was seen after the game. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville did not rule out a concussion, but said he’s “hopeful” the Blackhawks captain will return to the lineup for Game Six on Monday.
Patrice Bergeron’s condition is a little more cloudy than his Chicago counterpart. Bergeron is said to have suffered a back injury after a hard hit from Blackhawks forward Michael Frolik in Game Four, and it is possible that he may have aggravated that during the course of Game Five on Saturday night. He played a meager six minutes in the contest, and was taken by ambulance to a local Chicago hospital for further examination during the third period of the Bruins loss.
With Toews looking to return to action for Game Six, Bergeron’s injury is far more significant. Even if the Blackhawks get a great effort from Toews despite no offense, he will still play a role in the Blackhawks offense that could not be filled otherwise. Bergeron’s replacement, rookie Karl Soderberg, cannot keep up to the demands that a player in Bergeron’s role faces, and the Blackhawks should have their way in the faceoff dot, on the forecheck, and most notably on the backcheck, where the Bruins forecheck will miss their most dynamic offensive player.
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