In the wake of the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup Final loss last spring, the health status of forward Patrice Bergeron became the stuff of hockey legend, prompting teammate Torey Krug to say "When I have kids, I'll say, 'I played with Patrice Bergeron.'"
In an interview with Craig Custance of ESPN The Magazine, Bergeron opened up about his extensive list of injuries. Here are a few of the highlights.
Torn rib cartilage
" ... my string of injuries really all started with the cartilage in my rib, which was torn on a hit -- I don't remember which one -- in Game 3 of the finals. My body was in a bad position to receive the hit, so I twisted. I've never gotten stabbed, but that's what it felt like.
"I broke my rib in Game 4. From that point on, it was hard to breathe. In Game 5, I got hit again during the first period. After the second period, the trainers were worried about my spleen being injured. But I was really frustrated ... I'm trying to get back on the ice, trying to tell the trainers I might be able to skate another shift or two. But they made me go straight to the hospital."
Punctured lung, separated shoulder
"Before Game 6, with us down 3-2, I saw a specialist who said the only way I could play was to get a nerve block that'd freeze the area around the rib. So I got one, and another that night. During warm-ups it wasn't quite right, so we did another shot. I separated my shoulder in the first period on a fall along the boards. By the third, I couldn't breathe. After the game, it felt like my chest was closing in on me."
After our Game 6 loss, I went to Mass General, where they found that 30 percent of my lung was collapsed. One of the shots might have touched or punctured it. They put in a tube to drain the area and fill it back up. It hurt, but it was more frustrating that we weren't coming out of it with a Stanley Cup.
Now fully healthy, Bergeron has scored two goals and two assists for the Bruins this season, with 25 shots and 122 faceoff wins to his credit.