When the Boston Bruins return to the normalcy of hockey most likely on Wednesday in Boston, they very well could have an important player back on the ice with them.
Patrice Bergeron, who has missed the past six games with a concussion, is "highly probable" to play on Wednesday, according to coach Claude Julien (via CSN New England) as he has been cleared for contact. Bergeron added to Joe Haggerty that things are going well in his recovery.
"I don't know if I'm allowed to say or not, but I feel good and I'll leave it at that," said Bergeron. "I feel ready and today again in practice it was a good skate."
As you can assume, this is not only good news for the Bruins, it's great news. When word first came out that Bergeron sustained a concussion there was concern that he could be out for a while given his history with concussions and once missing nearly a full season.
Bergeron is one of the better players in the league few people talk about. He finally received his due last season for the work he does defensively by winning the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward. He wins faceoffs at a crazy 61.5 percent rate.
Speaking of Marchand, he also has missed a pair of games because of a concussion he sustained last week on a hit that earned Anton Volchenkov of the Devils a four-game suspension. There is good news on that front, too, as Marchand has been cleared for contact and has joined his teammates in practice.
It's possible that Marchand could be back for Wednesday's game as well, though that doesn't seem as certain as Bergeron's return.
Both bits of information are good news for the Bruins. The Bruins have lost the past two games without either of the two players, scoring just three goals against the Islanders and Hurricanes, two of the weaker defensive teams in the league. In the games Marchand missed, the Bruins were 3-3-0.
So for a team that is battling tooth and nail with the Montreal Canadiens for the Northeast Division and No. 2 seed in the East, this is a key development for the Bruins. Hopefully, this bit of hockey news and the excitement of late-season hockey will help the people of Boston move on after Monday's tragic events.