The fact that the Boston Bruins are going to be without minute-eating defenseman Brandon Carlo on a week-to-week basis is not good news.
But if you’re looking for the positive in Carlo’s latest setback, it’s that it’s apparently unrelated to the concussion that put him on the shelf for 10 games last month.
“This is a new injury,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “[Carlo] was feeling good. Just got hit in an awkward spot. This is definitely a new injury.
“Upper body, below the neck.”
This confirmation that Carlo wasn’t pulled due to a concussion-related setback certainly makes that ‘week-to-week’ downgrade feels a bit less ominous, to be honest. Especially factoring in Carlo’s concussion history (three confirmed concussions since Apr. 2017) and after the Bruins failed to have much of anything in terms of a real update when speaking on both Thursday and Friday.
As for what that ‘upper body, below the neck’ injury actually is, it’s been tough to pinpoint exactly what went wrong in that ‘awkward’ hit for Carlo in the first period of Thursday’s loss to the Penguins. The closest thing to any sort of incident for the 6-foot-5 defender appeared to come with just over a minute remaining in the period, with Carlo going left arm/shoulder first into the boards behind the Boston net. From there, Carlo skated gingerly back to the Boston bench.
With Carlo out, the Bruins threw Steve Kampfer back into the lineup for a 20:36 afternoon opposite Jakub Zboril on Boston’s second pairing. And with Kevan Miller still out of action, and Jeremy Lauzon scratched after a rough game on Thursday night, Jarred Tinordi was added to the lineup on the third pairing with Connor Clifton.
This was basically the Bruins making the best of their current options, according to Cassidy.
“They can be cleaner with the puck,” Cassidy said. “They have to be. They have to execute. Your first touch is very important as a D. They made some plays, but at the end of the day, we’ll have to look at it closer to see where chemistry was or wasn’t.”
Now in his fifth full season, the 24-year-old Carlo had started his 2021 campaign with two goals, an assist, and a plus-10 rating, along with 32 hits and 33 blocked shots, in 23 games.
Saturday’s 7-5 victory improved the Bruins’ sans Carlo record to 5-4-2 this season.