BOSTON – As always, a season’s end for a hockey team involves a litany of injuries revealed now that the Boston Bruins secrets no longer need to be protected.
The biggest injury, of course, is the torn labrum in Tuukka Rask’s hip that will be surgically repaired and will likely keep him out of game action until January/February. But there were other injuries that bugged the Black and Gold as they battled valiantly over the last few weeks before ultimately falling to the New York Islanders in six games.
Fourth line center Curtis Lazar was knocked out of the second round series after a nasty collision with Andrew Pelech in Game 5 and was diagnosed with a sprained MCL and an ACL bruise in his left knee. It was actually a relief to the fourth line center after Lazar thought the damage was worse in the aftermath of the big time hit.
“We feared the worst, but get the best news possible,” said Lazar, who said he’d be healthy and ready to go next season.
Both Kevan Miller and Brandon Carlo were out with concussions after hits from Dmitry Orlov and Cal Clutterbuck respectively. Miller had passed all of his concussion tests and was actually cleared to play a potential Game 7 on Friday night, a set of circumstances that left him feeling empty after watching his team fall in Game 6 while missing the hardnosed, veteran element that he brought to Boston’s back end.
“I just wish he’d hit me in the shoulder instead of the chin. Just him me square,” said Miller, of the Orlov hit in Game 4 of the first round series. “[It it was] clean I’d have been able to keep playing.”
It was less clear whether Carlo would have been able to play in a potential Game 7 scenario, but the shutdown defenseman said he’s not concerned about his long-term career after suffering two concussions this past season.
“It’s no fun,” said Carlo, of enduring concussions. “But from how I’ve recovered from these, I don’t feel like there’s any [long term] issue there.”
Craig Smith had a groin injury suffered in the aftermath of a Game 1 collision with Cal Clutterbuck, but he returned to the series while battling through the discomfort. Jeremy Lauzon had surgery on his right hand after getting hit with a Justin Schultz slapshot in Game 1 vs. the Washington Capitals and returned to the playoffs wearing a splint on his surgically repaired hand.
Reserve defenseman Steve Kampfer was also unavailable for the Boston Bruins in the playoffs after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his hand, an injury that he said he played with for weeks before the pain ultimately prohibited him from shooting a puck or stick-handling.
All things considered, it’s actually a shorter list than it is in some postseasons for the Black and Gold. But it also felt like a very tired group of Boston Bruins players during exit interviews, which may be a testament to just physical and taxing the first two playoff rounds were against big, strong hockey clubs in the Capitals and Islanders.