BOSTON – The Bruins back end took another hit on Saturday as Brandon Carlo was lost to an upper body injury in the first period of Boston’s 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. The Bruins rookie D-man had his head slammed against the glass above the boards after an awkward collision with Alex Ovechkin in the corner, and looked wobbly coming off the ice following the collision.
Carlo never returned to the game and Ovechkin never served any kind of penalty despite some subtle contact from behind as both big-bodied players cruised into the corner going after the puck. Bruce Cassidy didn’t classify Carlo’s injury other than to say it was an upper body issue, but it certainly looked like it could have been a concussion the way his head slammed off the glass. That leaves a pair of top-4 defenseman for the Bruins, Carlo and Torey Krug (lower body), as big question marks with the Bruins now preparing for next week’s playoffs.
“Upper body. Obviously we’ll get it evaluated and see where he’s at,” said Cassidy. “It didn’t look good when it happened, but I don’t know how he’ll be…but it’s upper body.”
Clearly it was difficult for the Bruins to go for most of the way with just five D-men for the second straight game, and it was disappointing from a B’s perspective that no penalty arose from the incident. Clearly it wasn’t the kind of thing that was going to get one of the league’s superstar players suspended, but to not see it even rise to a possible boarding penalty was difficult to understand.
“Oh, I didn’t like it. I don’t think it was intentional, you know, to hit a guy from behind. It looked like he held up [on the hit] but he still grabbed him and he was in a vulnerable spot when he went head first into the glass. Generally there’s a call on that,” said Cassidy. “Sometimes two [minutes] and sometimes five [minutes], but to have no call at all I thought was wrong, incorrect. I don’t think there was an intent to injure, [but that’s] the way I saw it.”
Now the Bruins have to hope that some of their banged-up defensemen heal up quickly while also seriously beginning to kick around the idea of introducing 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy to the NHL with a debut in the playoffs. They might not have a choice if they suffer any more attrition on the back end after good health has turned to bad luck for the Black and Gold at the very end of the regular season.