By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Pressing pause on a Presidents’ Trophy season and attempted Stanley Cup redemption tour due to the COVID-19 concern-turned-pandemic isn’t exactly what the Boston Bruins wanted to do.
But it did give one of their most important pieces, defenseman Brandon Carlo, a chance to get himself healthy.
Knocked out of action when he absorbed an Evgenii Dadonov elbow to the face in a Mar. 5 win over the Panthers, the Bruins’ pre-hiatus break ended with Carlo on the shelf for two straight contests with an undisclosed, upper-body injury.
Given Carlo’s dazed look as he slowly made his way off the Sunrise sheet, it wasn’t hard to diagnose his ailment courtesy of the ‘bow upstairs. It was a little worrisome, too, as this was most likely Carlo’s third concussion in three years, and with the Bruins (at the time) about a month away from the start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carlo put those worries to rest during a Monday video conference with the media, giving himself a clean bill of health.
“I would be cleared now,” the 23-year-old Carlo offered.
In fact, Carlo, who was skating on his own prior to the league shutdown, says he would’ve made his return in the B’s first of 12 postponed regular-season contests had he passed his final concussion test as expected.
“I started to feel very good on and off the ice,” Carlo noted. “Wouldn’t say it was that high-grade of a concussion. Just got a little dazed and confused there, but from now, I feel very good [and] at 100 percent.”
Whether or not that matters remains to be seen — the NHL is doing everything they can to ensure that they have a real finish to their 2019-20 season, including neutral-site games and pushing the season to August if necessary, but they are indeed at the mercy of the pandemic and its ‘social distancing’ demands — but Carlo remains hopeful that there will be a restart.
“As time goes by, the picture is a little bit harder to see at times, but then I’ll read an article and realize that they’re brainstorming every option, and then my optimism pops right back in,” Carlo, who is training back home in Denver, admitted. “I am trying to do my best to stay in shape because I am optimistic about the season returning.”
The 6-foot-5 Carlo, who has formed a tremendous bond with Torey Krug as Boston’s rock-solid second pairing, established a career-high in assists (15) and points (19) through 67 games this season.