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Bergeron wants NHL to crack down on hits from behind

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  November 8, 2007 04:47 PM

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Patrice Bergeron said today that the NHL must crack down on hits from behind, like the one that left him with a severe concussion and a broken nose.

"We NHL players need to respect each other a bit more," said Bergeron in his first public comments since he was injured. "If you see a number or see the back of a player, just don't hit him. It's not part of the game and it's against the rules."

It was the first time Bergeron, one of the Bruins' top players, has spoken publicly since he was injured during the Oct. 27 game against Philadelphia.

"Now we see the consequences," said Bergeron, who was wearing a full neck brace. "Fortunately I can sit up here, I'm not in a wheelchair."

More excerpts from the English part of Patrice Bergeron's 12-minute press conference:

* "I remember pretty much the whole thing," Bergeron said. "Before I had seen the hit, there were some parts I couldn't remember. I couldn't really remember why I was going for the puck, and what I was going to do with it. After watching the play, I realized and remembered I was going to pass the puck to Chucky (Kobasew), who was on the other side of the net."

* Bergeron said he's suffering from post-concussion syndrome. He said he feels dizzy and light-headed when he walks and has trouble performing every activities. "But so far it's been improvement from last week," said Bergeron. "I'm trying to take that as a positive and look for it to get better."

* Bergeron said he was hit from behind by Jones and wanted to send a message to his fellow NHLers, media, and fans that there can be severe consequences for such actions. "Right now, part of this is to send a message that we need to realize the consequences when you go for a hit like that," said Bergeron.

* There is no timetable on the center's return, but he's confident he can return as an NHL player. "I'm sure I'll be back," Bergeron said. "My goal right now is about feeling better as a person."

Burgeon was unconscious after being pushed into the boards face-first by Flyers defenseman Randy Jones. Bergeron, 22, was taken from the ice on a stretcher and spent the night in the hospital.

Jones, who was suspended for two games by the NHL for the hit, has tried to contact Bergeron, but Bergeron has not returned the call.

"He actually left a message last week," Bergeron said. "He left a message and said he apologized and he didn't mean to do that, but I'm not here to say anything bad about Randy Jones. It's more about trying to change things and make sure it's not going to happen to anyone else."

Bruins general manager Chiarelli has said concussions like the one Bergeron suffered usually take at least a month to come back from. The team has not estimated when he might return.

"Obviously, I would be lying if I said I feel good right now," Bergeron said. "It's tough for me to be sitting here. I feel a lot of the symptoms from the concussion and so far it's hard for me to walk 200 feet without feeling dizzy and light headed. Pretty much day-to-day stuff I would normally do is tough."

Chiarelli said the NHL should consider new ways to stop illegal hits.

"There's been a lot of discussion, prior to the hit on Patrice, on head shots," Chiarelli said. "I know Patrice, feels, obviously, very strongly about it and I've talked to his agent also about proceeding internally, whether it's within the league or within the union or together.

"Right now, I'm more concerned with Patrice getting healthy."

The Bruins are provided a translation for the second half of Patrice Bergeron's press conference, which is posted below.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this update.

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