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Had NHL participated in Olympics, says Patrice Bergeron, he was on board

Patrice Bergeron (right) was twice a member of Canada's Olympic team.Lars Baron

Patrice Bergeron considered the wouldas, couldas, and shouldas, and in the end didn’t want any part of them.

Had the Olympics gone on according to plan, the Bruins captain had decided he would participate.

“I would have gone,” said Bergeron, speaking after Monday’s workout for the first time since the league and the players’ union decided last week not to participate in the Beijing Games. “It would have been my last chance to experience it.”

Bergeron, 36, played for Team Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Games and again at Sochi in 2014. With Beijing nixed, he would be 40 and most likely in retirement if the NHL found a path to play in the 2026 Games in Italy.


“I was there twice,” noted Bergeron. “I was able to live it. I feel for the guys who haven’t had a chance and this might have been their last chance to go, I really do. I think it’s disappointing.

“As an athlete and as a competitor, I think you want to be part of those events. I was fortunate enough in my career to do that twice and live it and experience it and have some amazing memories out of it.”

With Bergeron aboard, Team Canada captured the gold medal twice, first over the US in 2010 and then over Sweden in 2014. The chance for a third gold was too tantalizing to pass up.

Did Patrice Bergeron miss out on his last shot at the Olympics?John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“I had some question marks about going,” Bergeron said, “with what’s going on in the world, the [COVID] outbreaks and all that, and leaving my family behind. But I had a discussion with my wife, and it was my last chance and I wanted to be a part of it.”

Rask is on track

Tuukka Rask again looked right at home, practicing in drill-for-drill lockstep with goalies Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman for the duration of Monday’s workout.


Cassidy said Sunday, after the club’s first workout in 11 days, that Rask is on target for a mid-January return to NHL action — if he suffers no setbacks and is cleared to play by medical staff. And if he settles on a contract with the Bruins.

“Talking to him today was more just a casual conversation about the process he went through,” said Cassidy, when asked if Rask, 34, sounded excited about his progress. “Because I had my hip replaced, so was curious to see how it was for him, in terms of rehab and pain tolerance and how he feels now.”

Rask, an unrestricted free agent, underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn hip labrum. His on-ice conversation with Rask, added Cassidy, centered on such post-op topics as mobility, range of motion, and residual pain.

“The feedback was, yeah, he is pain-free and that allows him to play a lot more comfortably,” said Cassidy. “And he hasn’t lost any mobility. So that’s a great thing if it’s worked out for him.

“We all know he went through some tough days last year. If he can eliminate those and get back to where he was, it would be a win for everybody, right?”

Manpower situation

With Taylor Hall back in action, only Charlie Coyle and Brandon Carlo were left in COVID no-man’s land. Oskar Steen, who had been in COVID protocol, was assigned to AHL Providence … The Providence Bruins, who return to work Wednesday night in Rochester, will play three games in five days (COVID permitting) this week. Cassidy said he planned to talk Monday night with general manager Don Sweeney about which Providence players they’d like to promote now that the league is allowing clubs to carry up to six players on a taxi squad for the 5-6 weeks leading to the All-Star break … The Bruins will work out in Brighton all week, though it’s likely they’ll take a break Wednesday or Thursday. They’ll have a solid workout Friday, especially given their back-to-back matinees this weekend (vs. the Sabres and Red Wings) that won’t allow them the luxury of a day-of-game morning workout … Sweeney is spending the week in Edmonton, host city of the ongoing World Junior tournament.


Kevin Paul Dupont can be reached at kevin.dupont@globe.com.