By Steve Conroybruins Notebook BostonHerald.com
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
WILMINGTON — Chris Kelly can do a little bit of everything. He can play well in his own zone, he can take faceoffs, and during these playoffs, he can score a timely goal or two.
All those reasons make him the logical choice to take Patrice Bergeron’s spot at center between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.
But Kelly isn’t trying to replace Bergeron, who is expected to miss at least the early part of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay with a mild concussion he suffered in the third period of Game 4 against Philadelphia last Friday.
“Obviously you can’t replace Bergy,” Kelly said after the B’s practice at Ristuccia Arena yesterday. “He does every little thing that maybe goes unnoticed by a lot of people, but not by us. He does all the big things, too, that you guys notice as well. You can’t replace him. He’s irreplaceable. Hopefully, he’s good to go.”
Coach Claude Julien also put Tyler Seguin on the right wing of the third line yesterday with Rich Peverley in the middle and Michael Ryder playing his off wing. Though Julien wouldn’t commit to anything, he did say Kelly seemed like a good fit on the second line.
It also helps to have linemates, in Marchand and Recchi, who have played a lot together.
“There’s some chemistry there, and I think the guy we put in the middle is a pretty smart player that’s adapted well to our team, as you’ve seen since he got here,” Julien said.
Though they have some similarities in their skill sets, Kelly noted he can’t duplicate Bergeron’s game.
“I’ve said this before when I’ve replaced players,” Kelly said. “If I try to go out there and play like the player that I’m replacing, I’m going to look bad, my linemates are going to look bad, and it’s not going to work out. I’ll go out and play my game, and hopefully that’s good enough.”
It wasn’t easy coming to grips with the expected loss of Bergeron at the same time the B’s were enjoying one of their finest moments in decades.
“You try not to dwell on it,” Kelly said. “Those things happen all the time, and there’s no real great time for things like that to happen. Obviously he’s a huge part of this team and huge part of our success. Hopefully, he’s fine. It was nice to have the win, but obviously not at that expense.”
Patrice’s spirits good
Bergeron’s agent, Kent Hughes, said last night that the center’s spirits are good and that his symptoms are not as severe as the first two concussions he suffered.
They will take things day-to-day and at this stage it wouldn’t be helpful to put a timetable on his return
Hughes said Bergeron will see neurologist Dr. Robert Cantu on Thursday.