Bruins notebook

Alberts sits because of headaches, nausea

Email|Print| Text size + By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / December 19, 2007

After Philadelphia forward Scott Hartnell stapled Andrew Alberts into the boards at the Wachovia Center Nov. 26, the defenseman experienced headaches, nausea, and blurred vision but was not diagnosed with a concussion.

One explanation for the headaches the Bruins defenseman has been experiencing for the past week - which knocked him out of last night's 3-2 loss to Ottawa - is that he might have suffered a more serious head injury than originally believed.

"The only thing the doctors can think of is that it could be post-concussion syndrome," said coach Claude Julien.

One Massachusetts doctor familiar with head injuries, when told of Alberts's symptoms, said it was likely the defenseman had suffered a concussion. However, Alberts had been symptom-free in the games immediately following the hit. He did not miss a game after the incident, and before last night was one of nine Bruins to have appeared in every game this season.

According to Julien, Alberts has been experiencing minor headaches for the past week. In Saturday night's 2-0 victory over Columbus, Alberts took a heavy hit from forward Jody Shelley. Julien gave the team Sunday off and Alberts did not practice Monday. Alberts, who wears a mouthpiece, had not missed any games because of a concussion as a pro or at Boston College.

"We're treating it carefully," said Julien. "With all the tests, nobody seems to know the exact reason for it. It started happening in the last week. As I mentioned, they're just minor headaches. But they're there."

Three Bruins besides Alberts have been diagnosed with concussions this season: Patrice Bergeron, Aaron Ward, and Milan Lucic.

Allen back in
After missing the last four games with back spasms, Bobby Allen took Alberts's place in the lineup. Allen, playing mostly with Aaron Ward on the third pairing, skated eight shifts for 6:31, recording one shot and one giveaway.

"I haven't had any problems since I started skating," Allen said before the game. "The training staff did a good job helping me out. I feel good. I'm not worried about it at all."

Allen has had two flareups this season. The first took place during the club's season-opening five-game road trip. The second occurred before Boston's 2-1 win over Toronto Dec. 8. Allen has not had back problems before this season.

"I think it's probably going to be for the rest of my career," Allen said of the care he must take to keep the spasms under control. "Probably just keep everything strong in my core.

"The biggest thing is that I just don't want it to happen again. It's more than an annoyance. It sets you back conditioning-wise, timing, everything. I'm sick of having it happen. Hopefully with the strengthening program I'm doing, this will be the end of it."

No deal expected
The NHL's holiday roster freeze kicks off at midnight tomorrow and runs until Dec. 27. Teams cannot make trades, place players on waivers, or make players available on loan during that span.

General manager Peter Chiarelli said he didn't anticipate making any deals before the deadline.

Auld again
Alex Auld was between the pipes for the sixth straight game last night. Julien said he wanted to give Tim Thomas one more solid practice before making him available for game action. Auld has settled in to a Cambridge apartment that allows him to take the T to TD Banknorth Garden . . . Zdeno Chara, matched against sharpshooter Dany Heatley for most of the game, logged a workload of 30:51. It was the fourth time this season Chara has played 30 minutes or more. "The puck was in our zone for a good 2 1/2 minutes," said Chara of the game-deciding four-minute penalty kill in the third period. "That makes you tired. Just those little things - bounces - and the puck ends up in the net." . . . Marco Sturm, who wore a half-shield against the Blue Jackets, was cleared to play without a visor. Sturm injured the area around his right eye against Buffalo Dec. 10 . . . Allen is now playing with a Warrior two-piece stick instead of his Reebok model. "More feel," he said. "It deadens the puck more. It feels good." . . . The Bruins were nabbed for too many men on the ice in the first period for the third time this season. Through 33 games last season, the Bruins were penalized seven times for having an extra man. Phil Kessel served the penalty . . . Shawn Thornton and Brandon Bochenski were the healthy scratches.

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