BOSTON - Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron, recovering from his second concussion in 14 months, said Friday he is symptom-free and vowed to return to the ice this season.
"I'm very confident I will play this year," Bergeron said in the Bruins locker room as his teammates practised at the TD Banknorth Garden. "It's a matter of when."
Bergeron missed the final 72 regular-season games and last season's playoffs after an Oct. 27, 2007, hit from behind into the boards by Philadelphia's Randy Jones. He was injured again Dec. 20 when he checked Carolina's Dennis Seidenberg at centre ice.
Bergeron was on the ice for several minutes before he was helped up by his teammates. The 23-year-old Bergeron spent the night in hospital and experienced headaches, dizziness and nausea. He said the symptoms were never as bad as last year's, and now they're gone.
Bergeron, who has missed the last nine games, said he's increasing the intensity of his workouts. He said he didn't want to put a date on his return and be disappointed.
"For me, right now it's really taking it day by day and see what happens," he said.
"It's frustrating," he added. "I worked my way back from last year.
"I was starting to feel a lot better on the ice and now that hit happened, but I'm trying to stay positive."
Bergeron had four goals and 14 assists in 31 games, but only one goal came in his last 19 games.
Coach Claude Julien plans to be patient with Bergeron.
"Obviously, everyone would like to see him back in our lineup," he said. "It's no doubt (his presence) gives you certainly a boost, because I think everybody when it happened started questioning themselves, 'Is this a repeat of last year?'
"And it obviously isn't, so the players are pretty happy to see him in decent form and working his way back."
In other injury news, injured left-winger Marco Sturm, who has missed the last 10 games with a left knee injury, will have surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus.