“It’s something they’ve talked about. I told them that those are decisions they have to make, if that’s what they want. If you leave it up to me … obviously I want to play, as a competitor,” said Bergeron.
The 37-year-old captain is in his 19th season, having played 1,261 regular-season games and 167 more in the playoffs. The conversation about Bergeron’s load management came up during the Bruins’ visit to the New York Rangers on Thursday night. On the previous night, the captain briefly left their win over the New York Islanders with a facial injury.
“I knew today might be a question because I just ate a puck in the face,” he said after their 3-1 win over the Rangers.
Against the Islanders, Bergeron took a puck to the face following a deflected shot from teammate David Pastrnak. It missed his visor and hit him near the right side of his nose. He covered his face as he went down the tunnel, only to return to the Bruins bench minutes later. Before facing the Rangers, Bergeron and the Bruins made sure he was feeling OK and that the swelling around the wound wouldn’t impede him.
“I was hoping it was going to stay manageable, and it did. There was no issues on the ice,” he said.
Bergeron said he spoke with Bruins personnel about potential rest days following that injury, knowing that the Rangers were a back-to-back game situation. Boston coach Jim Montgomery said occasionally giving his star center games off is under consideration.
“Absolutely it is. It’s a consideration later in the year, too, when we play back-to-backs,” he said.
Bergeron wasn’t sure when those rest days might happen.
“I don’t know, to be honest with you. Maybe later? It would make a little more sense,” said Bergeron. “But like I said, that would be a decision that I’m going to trust the training staff or coaches [to make] if they want to go that route.”
With the win over the Rangers, the Bruins improved on their league-best record (36-5-4) and lead the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs by 13 points in the Atlantic Division.