By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The ‘Welcome to the NHL’ moment comes for every rookie.
But for Boston Bruins rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, that moment came by way of an ugly, blatant elbow to the face courtesy of Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki in the first period of Tuesday’s 4-1 victory.
Gliding towards the net in pursuit of a potential loose puck, Vaakanainen found himself in front of the Ottawa crease. It was there that Borowiecki looked behind him, saw Vaakanainen there, and threw a cheap elbow backwards.
The hit went unpenalized (shocking considering the other nonsense and garbage called all night), and while Vaakanainen would stick around for a little bit, his night was over by the second period, as the Bruins officially ruled him out with a concussion.
After the game, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team had already lost David Backes to a concussion on a hit from the Oilers’ Matthew Benning earlier in the road trip, gave a blunt assessment of the play.
“It’s a flying elbow,” Cassidy said of the incident. “Listen, I am not in the heat of the battle [but] it looked fairly deliberate. But that’s not for me to decide. It’s unfortunate for Urho, he’s concussed, but at the end of the day that will move up the food chain and someone will have to make a decision whether it’s suspendible or not.”
In what is nothing short of delicious irony, Borowiecki spent Monday complaining to the media about what he felt like was unfair treatment from the league after Brendan Gallagher hit him in the head in Saturday’s Canadiens-Senators showdown.
Borowiecki was suspended for two games and fined over $12,000 for an incident with the Kings’ Tyler Toffoli in Dec. 2016.
Vaakanainen, meanwhile, is expected to be out through at least Thursday. The 19-year-old’s absence is expected to force the Bruins to make another recall from the P-Bruins for Thursday’s head-to-head with the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s believed that veteran journeyman Cody Goloubef, who last played in the NHL in 2016-17, is the favorite to receive the call to the NHL.
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.