He did not score a goal, nor was he credited with an assist. He had contributions, but they weren’t quantifiable on a score sheet.
No, what Patrice Bergeron gave his teammates was immeasurable, intangible, and inspirational when he simply laced up his skates before the Bruins’ 3-2 loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at TD Garden.
It was, after all, only two nights before, in a gut-wrenching 3-1 loss in Game 5, that the Bruins’ alternate captain — universally regarded as the heart and soul of the Black and Gold — left the United Center in an ambulance.
After skating just two shifts totaling 49 seconds of ice time in the second period of Game 5, he was taken to a local hospital to take inventory of a litany of injuries that threatened to sideline him for Boston’s last stand on its home ice.
Initial reports stated that he had suffered an injury to his spleen. Later it was reported he had suffered a rib injury.
“He’s a warrior,’’ marveled teammate David Krejci. “And he loves the team.’’
Bergeron skated 24 shifts in 17:45 of time on ice, had his only shot attempt blocked, dished out two hits, and won five of his 11 faceoffs to help the Bruins win the battle of the dot, 36-28.
Bruins coach Claude Julien tried to protect Bergeron, telling an inquisitive media only what he could about his injuries, which was very little.
When Julien was pressed after Game 5 to give a general vicinity for Bergeron’s injury — upper or lower body — his reply wasn’t far off the mark when he replied, “Body.’’
Bergeron, himself, was reluctant to disclose the nature of his injuries. But when he saw how he might slight those media members in the room Monday if he waited to reveal his staggering injuries, he decided to come forth with their true nature.
“I know there’s some media that might not be there Wednesday,’’ Bergeron began before dropping his bombshell. “So I had a broken rib, a torn cartilage and muscles, and I had a separated shoulder.’’
How did he manage to play through it all?
“Ah, well, the shoulder was tonight,’’ Bergeron said, matter-of-factly. “I had a lot of help from the medical staff.’’
The presence on the ice of Jeff Bauman, who overcame his life-threatening injuries at the Boston Marathon finish line to help identify the attackers, was inspirational when he served as the honorary banner captain during pregame ceremonies.
But it was the presence of Bergeron that inspired the TD Garden crowd of 17,565 to erupt in a loud roar when a behind-the-scenes glimpse on the video screen caught Bergeron, in full uniform, standing against a wall in the hallway leading from the Bruins’ dressing room to the ice.
“To have him in our lineup tonight was a bonus,’’ Julien said. “And again, there was nothing that was going to stop this guy from getting in our lineup. That’s why I can’t speak enough about how proud I am of our players, because of things like that.
“He wasn’t going to be denied that opportunity no matter what.’’
While he couldn’t say when he injured his shoulder, it might’ve happened on his first shift when he slammed into the boards on an attempt at a hard check.
“It’s the Stanley Cup Final, everyone’s banged up and everyone wants to help the team,’’ Bergeron said, when asked how badly he wanted to return for the third period of Game 5.
“I couldn’t do that in Game 5 and it was mostly because they were worried about my spleen being hurt, and that’s why we had to go to the hospital.
“Everything was fine. It was mostly the ribs, the muscles and the soft tissues.
“Obviously, I would’ve liked to stay in it, but I was going through a lot of pain.’’
At the end of the night, everything ached.
But his broken ribs, torn cartilage, and separated shoulder did not produce nearly the same pain as watching the Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup in Boston.
“It’s tough to put words to describe how we’re feeling right now,’’ said Bergeron.
“You work so hard to get to this point and to give yourself a chance to get the Cup and you feel like you’re right there and you have a chance to force Game 7 and, definitely, it hurts.’’Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.