Former Bruins draft pick Matt Benning won’t be facing any supplemental discipline for a hit in Edmonton's victory over the Bruins on Thursday night that essentially knocked B’s forward David Backes out of the game, per a hockey source.
Benning lined Backes up in the neutral zone on his first shift of the first period and drilled the big Bruins center with a shoulder hit that appeared to mostly get him in the chest, but it also clearly caught some of his chin/head given how dazed he was in the aftermath. Benning wasn’t whistled for a penalty and Backes sat out the rest of the first period for precautionary reasons and played only six-plus minutes in the game.
Afterward, Bruce Cassidy said that Backes was “okay” and he was cleared to continue playing even if he was used sparingly.
"David was OK," Cassidy offered after the loss, his team's second in as many nights. "We didn’t use him as much because he missed some time and we want the player’s safety first. But it’s good to see he was able to be cleared to get back in the game and hopefully he’s good to go Saturday [against the Canucks]."
The sense of the hit from a league perspective was that the head was not the main point of contact on the body check and that the video replays were also fairly inconclusive that it was anything beyond a hard shoulder to Backes’ chest. Benning has no prior history with the NHL Department of Player Safety. He also had to exit the game with a separate injury suffered after the Backes hit.
The concern, of course, is that Backes, at 34, has had multiple concussions. After more than 800 games played in the league, those head hits are beginning to add up for the rugged veteran.
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