Patrice Bergeron is out for the foreseeable future with a concussion, suffered in the Boston Bruins Game 4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. For fans in Boston, the injury is one of horror, as the team loses its top scorer right before a key series that holds their Stanley Cup Final fate in the balance.
There's just simply no way the Bruins can survive without a player like Bergeron, right? He's their top point-getter, and most importantly, he turns his linemates into threats and allows the B's to present a multi-layered offensive attack, rather than a one-dimensional one.
Bergeron is a big loss for Boston, but over at Stanley Cup of Chowder, SB Nation's Bruins blog, they don't think it's as big a loss as you'd expect.
The loss of Bergeron is unfortunate, in that he's precisely the guy you'd want out there checking Steven Stamkos or Vincent Lecavalier, since he can not only make their lives more difficult in the back half of the ice, but he can counterattack and provide offense. Not every player can do that. But, here's the question: how much better is Bergeron than the guy who will replace him in the lineup?
The dropoff from Thomas to Rask is immense because Thomas is a god, and Rask is merely an extremely talented mortal. The dropoff from Chara to Kampfer/Ference is similarly immense, because Chara's really good and soaks up a ton of ice time. Forwards play less, thus their impact on the game is less. Chara is playing almost 10 minutes more per game than Bergeron this postseason.
Compared to other players on the roster of more importance, Bergeron's loss is not all that significant. But compared to perhaps any other forward, perhaps with the exception of David Krejci, Bergeron's loss is still key.
It seems as though the real key might be in the defensive work the Bruins lose with Bergeron out, in keeping down guys like Stamkos and Lecavalier like SCOC mentioned. His goal scoring can be replaceable with help from guys like Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin (who will take Bergeron's spot after sitting in the press box all postseason), but will the defense be replaceable?
We'll find out later this week.