A heavy hit from the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck left Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo in a world of hurt in the third period of Thursday’s Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum.
Struggling to stay on his feet as his head banged off the glass, Carlo eventually dropped down to his hands and knees, and gazed into the distance as the officials blew the play dead while Boston trainers attended to the 6-foot-5 defender. Carlo then made his way off the ice — looking off balance and needing some additional help from his teammates and trainers — before departing down the tunnel and back to the Boston dressing room.
It wasn’t hard to assume the worst case scenario for Carlo and the Bruins, especially with Carlo’s concussion history, which includes a Mar. 5 concussion suffered on a hit from Tom Wilson and three documented concussions since Apr. 2017.
But speaking with reporters after his team’s thrilling overtime victory, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy had a seemingly positive update on Carlo’s status.
“I talked to him there [at the end of the game],” Cassidy said following the win. “He said he was feeling feeling pretty good, but I don’t know what that means relevant to the hit he took. At the end of the day, he was here talking to his teammates. So maybe he’ll be fine. [Craig Smith] came back quick from an injury that we weren’t sure on, so hopefully it’s good news with Brandon as well.”
A lot to unwrap there, but a couple of noteworthy items: Not only was Carlo apparently up and walking around, but he was still in the arena and not transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. That alone is a better fate than the one suffered by Kevan Miller when he suffered an upper-body injury in the first round. And it’s also a good thing that the Bruins aren’t outright saying that Carlo is going to miss Game 4, which may be an indication that he cleared any potential concussion tests.
Carlo, of course, did not return to Thursday’s contest, and with an optional practice set for Friday, the Bruins will not have a clear idea as to Carlo’s Game 4 status until the morning at the earliest.
“I think that’s one we have to assess in the morning,” Cassidy acknowledged. “We have a day in between [games], obviously, if he can’t go to sort through our options. We got all left sticks left. So, you know who goes over [to the right], how does that work out if he can’t go? But I don’t want to rule him out until we see him in the morning and we get a final word from our medical staff. It never looks good when you leave like that.”
If Carlo can’t go, the Bruins would have to throw either Jarred Tinordi or Urho Vaakanainen into action. Jakub Zboril could be an option as well, as he has recently returned to practice in a regular jersey after suffering an upper-body injury in Boston’s final game of the regular season.
Kevan Miller, who is working his way back from an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 4 back in round one, did not make the trip to Long Island.
Game 4 is Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum.
The Bruins needed to rely on their star players to pull out the victory in overtime. And that’s exactly what happened.
Matt Dolloff and Ty Anderson of the SideLines podcast at 98.5 The Sports Hub broke down the Bruins’ 2-1 overtime win over the Islanders on Thursday night with their latest postgame show. Listen above for the full podcast.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.