By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Blue Jackets forward Emil Bemstrom is completely off the hook for his hit that knocked Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask out of Tuesday’s game and into the NHL’s concussion protocol, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline.
According to Portzline’s reporting, the official review of the hit showed Bemstrom’s stick getting pushed by B’s defenseman Torey Krug, which apparently forced Bemstrom’s left arm back and at Rask’s head.
It’s a ruling that’ll certainly frustrate the Bruins, as the in-game explanation from the referee was that Rask caught an accidental stick to the face (still a penalty last I checked), and because it’s not exactly the best tradeoff considering the Black and Gold are now without their No. 1 goalie (who has a notable concussion history) for who knows how long.
To make matters worse, the Bruins didn’t make Bemstrom pay, either, as they were unable to get him to answer for the hit and drop the gloves despite their multiple attempts, with Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug both giving Bemstrom some shots before Joakim Nordstrom tried grabbing him. Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella ultimately benched the rookie Swede late in the third period, too, in an attempt to keep him out of any further trouble with the game decided.
It was not what the B’s were looking for, to say the least.
“Should our guys have had a better response? I think there could have been, yeah,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted after the loss. “But I don’t know if they saw it in real time.”
For Rask, it’s his second concussion in just under a calendar year’s time, and comes with the Bruins just three games away from their bye week and All-Star break breather, which could certainly help his recover if things go smoothly.
Bemstrom and the Jackets, meanwhile, will see the Bruins again on Mar. 16 in Boston.