Patrice Bergeron joins Marchand, Smith in COVID protocols

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck in the third period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden on December 14, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 14: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins skates with the puck in the third period of a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at TD Garden on December 14, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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The hits keep coming for the Boston Bruins, as it was announced by the team Wednesday that Patrice Bergeron has been placed in COVID protocols.

It comes just one day after Craig Smith and Brad Marchand were placed in the protocols. Like the two from yesterday, Bergeron will not be with the team for the next few games.

Bergeron played in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so there is a possibility for more players to enter protocols. That same skepticism was applied when Marchand went into protocols, after he participated in morning skate on Tuesday with the whole team.

Boston is now faced with a stretch of games without two members of their top line and three members in total out of their top-six forward group.

Boston just needs to survive this stretch without Bergeron, Marchand and Smith

Smith goes down? OK they’ve dealt with it before, he hasn’t played extremely well so far this season, you should be able to fill in without him.

Marchand and Smith out? OK even less than ideal, but you did just play three games without Marchand before when he was suspended, going a respectable 1-1-1 during that stretch of games.

But no Smith, Marchand AND Bergeron? That spells trouble.

You’ve just lost two of your top play makers and penalty killers. Your captain and one of your assistant captains. Two of your best players that this time is built on.

And now you have to play multiple games without them. That’s a tough ask out of any group, let alone this Bruins team that relies so much on their first line.

You’re now looking at (brace yourself) Charlie Coyle as your first-line center for a bit. He’ll like play with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak.

But after that? It’s next man up mentality. Both Jack Studnicka and Oskar Steen had been called up even before the Bergeron news so they’ll get some looks. Others like Anton Blidh can get an increase in playing time.

It’s not great. The Bruins just need to survive this stretch. Luckily, they play the three worst teams in the Eastern Conference up next in the Senators, Canadiens and Islanders, so that’s a bit of a lucky break.

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However, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a couple more players enter protocols. And if so, could postponements be on the way from the league? It’s possible.