The Bruins did not escape from their thrilling win over the Capitals unscathed.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy updated reporters on the health status of forwards Brad Marchand and Anton Blidh on Friday, and confirmed that both will be out for Saturday’s home game against the Winnipeg Jets. Marchand and Blidh were both on the receiving end of hard hits by the Capitals’ Garnet Hathaway and Tom Wilson, respectively, and had to leave the game with reported upper-body injuries.
“See how they are for next week,” Cassidy said of Marchand and Blidh. “I’ll probably give you a better idea next week, but neither of them will play [Saturday].”
Cassidy criticized the Hathaway hit, which drove Marchand head-first into the boards from behind, after the game, and reiterated his thoughts on Friday. He had less of a problem with Wilson’s hit on Blidh, which was certainly delivered with heavy force but not in a way that would warrant supplemental discipline.
“I don’t like the hit when it’s in the numbers and from behind and close to the boards,” Cassidy said. “We spoke about the Wilson one. He was looking Anton in the eye. Those are hits, to me, that are more acceptable in hockey, when you’re hitting a guy looking straight at him and your elbows are down. So, I don’t like those ones from behind into the boards at any age, or in any league. I’ve said my piece on that.
“Unfortunately, Brad’s gonna miss a little bit of time, and that’s it from our end. I have no idea if the league will look at it or not. But we’re off to thinking about Winnipeg now, and obviously next time we play Washington you’ve just got to be on your toes a little bit more, knowing some of those things will happen.”
Marchand was in some discomfort after the hit from Hathaway. Went down the tunnel, returned, and then went back to the room. Not great. pic.twitter.com/t3tZWrnFBh— Patrick Donnelly (@PatDonn12) January 21, 2022
Marchand appeared to be dealing with an injury in his arm or shoulder area, and briefly tried to stay in the game before being removed. With Blidh, the concern is a possible concussion, considering the way his head made a whiplash-like motion upon the impact of the Wilson hit. Concussions can be reported as upper-body injuries under current NHL rules.
Cassidy may have to get a little creative with his lineup down two left wings. Forwards Oskar Steen and Steven Fogarty are currently with the NHL club, but are right shots. Jake DeBrusk moved up to the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Craig Smith after Marchand went down, and it sounds like he’ll stay there for now.
“He did a good job up there,” Cassidy said on DeBrusk. “When ‘March’ goes out, Jake certainly has elements to bring offense [to the line].”
DeBrusk assisted on Charlie McAvoy’s game-winning goal with just 45 seconds left in regulation, which lifted the Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Capitals in a solid bounce-back effort from a blowout loss to the Hurricanes. The Bruins are now 9-2 since returning from an extended COVID-related break in January.
There will be more clarity on the Bruins’ forward lineup during the next morning skate.
Sports Hub Underground Podcast
Ty Anderson and I talked a lot of hockey on the newest episode of the Sports Hub Underground, which was released before the Bruins played the Capitals. Plenty of big-picture topics, though. Have a listen above.
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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.