Because of concussion issues, Pierre-Marc Bouchard played in one game – for a little more than 10 minutes – during the 2009-10 season. From all indications, it was a nightmare season for the undersized playmaker.
Twin Cities.com has a story about the recovery process for “PMB.” While Bouchard has a long way to go in his recovery, the team and the player are becoming more optimistic about his chances of playing next season.
Team personnel, along with Bouchard, are cautiously optimistic that the playmaking former first-round draft pick will play for the Wild this season. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher can’t wait to see the shifty, 5-foot-10 forward back in the team’s lineup.
“He will come back, and the sooner the better, but again there’s still some healing to be done,” Fletcher said. “He generates offense, and he has a skill level that’s unmatched by most players in the NHL, so clearly his addition to our lineup will give us a boost.”
Bouchard and Fletcher agree there is no timetable for a return.
But the man who had a franchise-record 50 assists two seasons ago is riding an exercise bike, swimming laps and stepping outside for half-hour bike rides around Montreal.
“I’m not quite 100 percent yet,” Bouchard cautioned. “There are still days I feel some pressure and (days) I’m a little bit more tired, but I can do some little stuff, and I’m sure in the next few weeks, I’ll be able to go up a notch.”
Concussion problems are no joke and it’s not exactly something that can be healed with normal rehab or ice baths. The team and Bouchard are going to need to be patient with the process and there’s always the outside chance that he’ll never be quite the player he was.
Still, there are plenty of instances when a player bounced back nicely from brain injuries. Tim Connolly and Patrice Bergeron took a while to shake off the symptoms but are now very useful NHL players.
Of course, the more you play, the more you subject yourself to concussion problems. As we learn more about the consequences of concussions, teams will become more and more cautious. Either way, I hope this works out for Bouchard and the Minnesota Wild.