By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t wait long to officially diagnose the obvious when it came to the hit that knocked Tuukka Rask out of action just 72 seconds into Tuesday’s head-to-head with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“He’s concussed,” Cassidy said after the team’s 3-0 loss to the Blue Jackets. “He got elbowed in the head.”
Hammered by Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom, there seemed to be a genuine lack of awareness by all parties involved when it came to the incident itself.
Nobody on the ice immediately pummeled the rookie forward (the majority of Bruins noted that they didn’t see what happened within the moment), and the 20-year-old Bemstrom dodged any and all future confrontations with the Bruins before John Tortorella kept him on the bench late in the third period to avoid the Bruins forcing him to answer for the hit. Speaking with reporters after the game, Bemstrom claimed that he was cross-checked into Rask and that he couldn’t avoid hitting him, but noted that he did not try to hit his head “on purpose.”
Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo, meanwhile, said that the on-ice official told him that Rask was injured by an accidental stick to the face (not quite sure what he was watching there, which wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t his job to watch the game).
But no matter the lackluster response or inability to make Bemstrom answer for the hit, everything about losing Rask to another concussion is an unpleasant thought for the Bruins. It was just last year that Rask suffered a concussion on a collision with the Rangers’ Filip Chytil, and he does have a noteworthy concussion history and has dealt with migraine issues in the past.
“He’ll probably go into the [NHL concussion] protocol, at least that’s what I was told,” Cassidy said of Rask’s next step. “Maybe it’s not as bad as they first thought. I guess we’ll have a better evaluation [on Wednesday]. That’s what I was originally told. Maybe when he gets home and he feels better. Maybe they jumped the gun a little bit.”
If Rask is going to miss time in the league’s concussion protocol (as you would certainly expect given his aforementioned concussion history), third-string goaltender Max Lagace is the likely recall from Providence. The 27-year-old Lagace has a 14-6-2 record and .915 save percentage for the P-Bruins this season.
Rask has a 17-4-6 record and .925 save percentage this season.