Bergeron still an Olympic hopeful

Injury may not keep him from playing

By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI AGENCY

PHILADELPHIA - The hand injury suffered by Patrice Bergeron is not as serious as originally thought, meaning the Boston Bruins forward is still on pace to play for Canada in Vancouver next month.

When Bergeron broke his right thumb in Monday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, there were fears that his status for Team Canada might be up in the air, leaving the likes of the Philadelphia Flyers' Jeff Carter as a possible replacement.

But subsequent tests on Bergeron revealed he likely will miss only two weeks, meaning he should be fine for the start of the Winter Games next month.

As for Carter, who was snubbed when the 23-man Canadian Olympic roster was announced one week ago, he'll have to continue to wait.

At the beginning of the 2009-10 season, Carter and teammate Mike Richards appeared to be favourites to represent Canada at the Vancouver Winter games. But while he is second in team scoring to Richards, Carter’s 14 goals and 19 assists through the first half of the NHL season were not enough to impress executive Steve Yzerman and his staff.

However Carter, a native of London, Ont., is one of the players told to be on notice in case roster spots opened due to injury.

The careers of Richards and Carter have been intertwined since they were foes in junior, Richards with the Kitchener Rangers and Carter with the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds. Both were drafted by the Flyers in 2003 and were teammates representing Canada at the 2004 and 2005 World Junior Championships and the 2006 World Hockey Championship.

“It’s tough,” Richards said this morning, referring to Carter’s original omission from the Olympic team. “Obviously Jeff and I have been through a lot together. He’s probably the closest guy to me on the team. We’ve been together a long time, so it’s tough.

“But it’s a position we all understand. I know he’s happy for me. It’s a tough position for hockey that he can’t go.”

Not yet, anyway.

POLL