The Boston Bruins are running out of defensemen.
Still without Brandon Carlo, Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, and John Moore, the shorthanded Bruins suffered another loss on the backend Tuesday, with Jarred Tinordi knocked out of action in the team’s 2-1 win over the Penguins.
With the puck on his stick and fired towards Pittsburgh’s end for a dump-in, the 6-foot-6 Tinordi found himself absolutely rocked by the Penguins’ Brandon Tanev at high speed. Tanev’s hit, which caught Tinordi at an awkward angle moments after he released the dump-in, sent Tinordi flying back/head first into the boards in front of the Boston bench.
In addition to resulting in a major penalty and game misconduct for Tanev, the wreck also spelled the end of Tinordi’s night, and his absence seems likely to extend beyond just the second half of Tuesday’s game.
“Upper body, not great,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Tuesday’s win when asked for a Tinordi update. “But we’ll have a better evaluation or better probably diagnosis [Wednesday]. I’m not going to rule out Tinordi yet until [Wednesday] or at least get a better diagnosis tomorrow, but it doesn’t look encouraging right now for Thursday.”
And barring a miraculous recovery for one of the Bruins’ other injured defenders — and Miller, who still hasn’t skated in a practice with the team in weeks now, is the only player the Bruins would consider a possibility for something like that — that leaves the Bruins with Urho Vaakanainen and Jack Ahcan as their options for Thursday night in Buffalo.
Experience and size favors Vaakainen in this respect, with eight 2021 NHL appearances and a 6-foot-1 frame to his name compared to Ahcan’s zero appearance and 5-foot-8 stature. But Cassidy didn’t outright shoot down the idea of Ahcan, who was recalled to Boston with one goal and seven points in 12 AHL games this season, getting the call.
“It could be Ahcan,” Cassidy said. “He’s a smaller body, but gives you more of a dynamic puck moving [skill]. And so we’ll look at Buffalo and see what the best fit would be. Vaak’s been the one that’s been playing, but Ahcan is here.”
The Bruins will have Wednesday off, meaning their decision won’t be made until Thursday’s morning skate in Buffalo.