Bruins, Blackhawks injury updates clear as mud

Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron answers a question ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final in...

Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron answers a question ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final in Chicago on Friday, June 21, 2013. (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:49 PM ET

BOSTON - In the Stanley Cup final, apparently there is no quiet room for the would-be concussed.

There is no honest and reliable medical reports either, usually until the morning after the championship is settled anyway.

But with both Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron and Blackhawks counterpart Jonathan Toews at-best doubtful for Monday's potential Cup-clinching Game 6, the injury updates could be crucial by puck drop.

Start with Toews, who may or may not have been concussed as he sat on the bench for the entire third period on Saturday, a 3-1 Chicago win to put them one victory away from the Cup.

Blackhawks boss Joel Quenneville did his profession proud on Sunday with the following prognosis for his captain.

"Johnny is doing much better today," Quenneville said at the TD Garden after the team's flight in from Chicago. "We're optimistic that he might be playing tomorrow night."

Note the word "might" and acknowledge that even if Quenneville does know whether Toews is playing, he's not saying. But more importantly, if Toews does get back in the lineup, how effective will he be beyond being an inspirational leader?

And if he did suffer a head injury, how responsible will it be to play, even given the stakes?

The most notable hit on Toews on Saturday came from Johnny Boychuk, a big shot in front of the Bruins net. But Toews was also rocked by Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara earlier in the game.

The Boychuk hit was reviewed by the league and it was decided that no further discipline would be handed out.

If you think Quenneville is being vague about his captain, meanwhile, check out what Bruins coach Claude Julien had to say about Bergeron's status.

When asked if his brilliant all-purpose centre would skate on Monday, Julien responded: "What does day-to-day mean? I don't know if he'll skate tomorrow. He may. And that's what day-to-day is. Again, I'm trying to be as clear as I can here."

Clear as mud, it turns out, but we wouldn't expect anything different with a maximum of two games remaining and the Bruins facing elimination at home.

Each coaching staff will play the guessing game Monday, preparing for the opposing star to be out of the lineup. But Julien says they aren't going to lose much sleep over it.

"I think I should be looking in my backyard and make sure I've got my guys playing before I start worrying about them," Julien said. "We'll know more tomorrow, and I can prepare in different ways in my mind, and once I find out whether all our guys are in our lineup and whether all their guys are in or out, probably you can adjust some things in your game plan according to that."

If you go with an assumption that neither will play -- and that is still an assumption at this point -- which team suffers most?

You could certainly argue that it is the Bruins given all that Bergeron has brought to his team, defensively and offensively.

Furthermore, too many of the Bruins forwards have gone cold. Nathan Horton appears to be playing hurt, Milan Lucic has provided little offence in the series and Tyler Seguin has been ineffective when the going got tougher the past few games.

Bergeron, who went to a hospital in Chicago while the game was still in progress, but according to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, was released and returned to Boston with the team.

Without Toews, meanwhile, the 'Hawks also have a big hole. A significant reason they won the last two games -- handing the Bruins their first two-game losing streak since the first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs -- was because of the reunited first line.

With Toews and Bryan Bickell doing the grinding, Patrick Kane was let loose with a pair of goals on Saturday night to key the victory that put them on the brink of clinching here on Monday. Toews hasn't been scoring much throughout the post season, but talk to players on either side and he may be among the most important players on the ice.

Though the 'Hawks may have more depth -- especially with Boston coach Claude Julien's reluctance to roll four lines -- that depth isn't down the middle. And the 'Hawks were certainly a different team in the third period on Saturday, with a dazed Toews glued to the bench.

Whether it's head games, or upper body games or whatever label you choose, the body blows are taking their toll. And among other things we will learn on Monday night, we just might see who is better at playing through the pain.

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