His skating was methodical and without the obligatory banging, and nobody seemed to mind. What mattered most — and, really, it's all that mattered — was that Patrice Bergeron was on the ice with the Bruins yesterday morning at the Garden.

So, the question now is this: Will Bergeron be in uniform tonight when the Bruins take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals?

"There's not much more to update you guys on, except that I think when he is ready to go you guys will know," coach Claude Julien said to a gathering of media types after practice. "It's something that you can't predict, how quickly or how slow it's going to be .?.?. there's a protocol, and right now we're not ready to make any comments because he's going through those stages."

When a different version of the will-he-play question was fired at the coach, Julien jettisoned all the red tape.

"I don't know," he said. "Is that better? I don't know."

This is great news, not that Julien's comments leave open the possibility Bergeron might play tonight, but that the word "protocol" continues to be an important part of the dialogue as the 25-year-old center recovers from his latest concussion.

Put another way, we should all be more interested in the quality of Bergeron's quality of life than the quality of his wrist shot. Remember, this is the third time in four seasons he has suffered a concussion. The first time it happened, in October 2007, he missed the remainder of the season. The next concussion idled him for five weeks.