By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
It didn’t take long for the concussion-prone David Backes to have his first 2018-19 brush with danger, as a Matt Benning blow to the head left Backes reeling and sent back to the Boston locker room in the first period of Thursday’s overtime loss to the Oilers.
Benning catches Backes up high with an early hit. I'd expect some retaliation from the Bruins later this game. pic.twitter.com/nZwPc1dM8c— OilersNation.com (@OilersNation) October 19, 2018
The hit left Backes visibly dazed, and put an end to the veteran’s first period after just one shift and 33 seconds of ice-time.
The 34-year-old Backes, whose 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs run was ended by a concussion sustained on a hit from the Lightning’s J.T. Miller, would return by the second period, and finished the game with one hit and one blocked shot in 6:28 over nine shifts.
“David was OK,” Bruins head coach Bruce 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].”
Given Backes’ concussion history, playing it safe in the immediate aftermath of the hit was an easy call for Cassidy.
But Cassidy also admitted that he expects some sort of follow up from the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety.
“I thought it was [a high hit],” Cassidy admitted. “Elbow down, but I thought there was contact to the head. I suspect [the league will] look at it. To me, that tends to be automatic in today’s game. Even if it’s not to head, they call it. It just seems like those are getting called simply to try and eliminate them.
“I would imagine there will be a further review [from the league], and where it goes from there is out of my hands.”
Benning, who ironically enough exited Thursday’s game with an injury of his own, has no prior record with the league.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. He has also been a voting member of the Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association since 2013. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.