CALGARY — It would needle him, each time he would catch a reminder on TV. It would gnaw at him, each time someone mentioned the loss or Game 6 or the way the Bruins’ season ended.
“After a while, it doesn’t do any good to keep thinking about it,” Patrice Bergeron said. “After a while, you have to turn the page and get ready for the next season.”
And for Bergeron, that was a bit different than usual. The Bruins center — who spent the last three days in Calgary participating in Team Canada’s orientation camp — had to back off, given the injuries that limited him in the final games of the Stanley Cup series against the Blackhawks. He had to rest. He had to rehab. He had to manage a program that would get him back on the ice by the start of training camp, a goal that he seems ready to accomplish.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine,” Bergeron said. “I’m hoping I’ll be fine. I’m feeling good. It took me longer to start my workout program and all that, but I had to take the time to heal and be ready.
“It was hard to not work out and to rest, but at the same time I was doing some rehab and trying to do some maintaining things in my upper body or my legs — I was trying to manage whatever I could do to stay in shape, I guess.”
He appeared to move well in the Team Canada drills, though, of course, those weren’t on ice. Because of insurance issues, Team Canada was forced to improvise, resulting in days of ball hockey walk-throughs.
“It’s good to see that he’s almost fully recovered,” Bruins teammate Milan Lucic said. “I don’t know if he’s totally recovered, but he’s probably 99 percent. It’s pretty crazy and amazing that he played through what he went through. I didn’t really know it was that bad, but I saw him in pain.”
That pain has mostly gone, though Bergeron said that some tenderness remains in his rib cage area.
“Lately I’ve been able to do pretty much everything,’’ he said. “There’s only a couple rotations when you’re using your core that it catches me. But, honestly, it’s been pretty good.”
It took Bergeron four or five weeks to get back to working out. He’s been going on the ice for the last two or three weeks, skating two or three times per week. He said he’s “100 percent positive” he’ll be on the ice for the start of training camp.
His plans for the two weeks until camp starts? “Keep healing that area, but at the same time keep pushing myself to be in the best shape I can with the circumstances, but also with the time that we have,” he said.
For Bergeron, the last few days have been a new experience. The center was part of Team Canada when it won the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, but he wasn’t at the orientation camp. Bergeron was the only player chosen to go who wasn’t invited to the camp.
“I kept watching games, other teams playing, watching other players, and Patrice stood out to me in a lot of the little things that he did,” said Steve Yzerman, the executive director of Team Canada, referring to 2010. “[I thought] he might be really good in this role: right-shot centerman, penalty-killer, win faceoffs. When it came [time] to put the team together, I felt like, you know what, he fits what I’m trying to do.”
Bergeron might be a lock to make Team Canada this time around. And he said he was glad to get the chance to meet his potential future teammates, to get a jump-start on the plans for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“It’s been positive, and there’s lots to learn,” Bergeron said. “But at the same time it remains hockey and it comes down to being pretty simple at the end of the day, so once we all get a feel of what the system is, it helps everyone.
“I think you just adjust quickly as a professional. But at the same time it would have been nice to know the system early on from the summer and having a chance to just think about it a bit. But this time I do have the chance, so hopefully I have a good start of the season and can crack the team.”
Said Lucic, “He’s shown in the past in world juniors and world championships what type of player he can be on the big ice and how he plays for Team Canada. He’s good on both sides of the puck. We all know how responsible he is defensively and also he’s able to chip in with offense as well. No matter where he fits in on the team, he’s going to be a big part of it.”
But Bergeron will have to put thoughts of Team Canada aside when he returns to Boston. For now, it’s back to the Bruins, back to the NHL, back to getting ready for a season in which his team wants to improve on that 2013 finish.
He knows that playing well for the Bruins will help his chances to land in Sochi. So that’s the plan.
That, and trying to get past what happened in June.
“I ended up with a bitter feeling,” Bergeron said. “It’s hard to swallow, but at the same time we’ve definitely accomplished some great things as a team. But when you finish second, it’s obviously not what you want. It’s even tougher than not making the playoffs or losing in the first round because you’re so close to the goal.
“That being said, we have to look at this year, learn from what happened, but also try to press the reset button and be ready for a new fresh start and make sure we’re ready for a long season.”Amalie Benjamin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.