Boston Bruins

Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers pursues Hampus Lindholm of the Boston Bruins during Game 3 of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Few Boston Bruins fell further short of expectations in the playoffs than Hampus Lindholm.

There are many factors you could pinpoint as to why the Bruins collapsed in the first round, including numerous players who underachieved. Lindholm was one of them, scoring zero points while blocking only eight shots in seven games and committing four giveaways. He rarely seemed to be playing with the level of intensity and focus required to win games this time of year.

But Lindholm has an explanation for why he didn’t look like himself.

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  • Lindholm quietly revealed through a Swedish publication, Sportbladet, that he played with a fracture in his foot throughout the series against the Panthers. It was because of the foot injury that Lindholm declined to play for Team Sweden in the IIHF World Championship tournament.

    This was after the Bruins held their annual end-of-season media availabilities for every player. Lindholm told reporters that day he was mostly “fine,” adding that “Everyone has bumps and bruises this time of year.”

  • Apr 17, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm (27) checks Florida Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas (7) during the first period of game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

    Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

  • Well, a broken foot is most certainly more than just a bump or bruise. So, Lindholm does deserve some credit for toughing it out and playing through the foot injury. At the end of the day, the B’s were probably better off in that series with Lindholm at 75 percent than Jakub Zboril or Mike Reilly at 100 percent.

    But the injury revelation still doesn’t undo away the reality that Lindholm was arguably more a liability than an asset for the Bruins against the Panthers. Still, at least he has an excuse if he wants to make one. Charlie McAvoy, Dmitry Orlov, and Derek Forbort don’t have such a luxury.

  • For the Bruins and Lindholm, who is signed with the Bruins through the 2029-30 season, the hope is that these playoff defeats serve as a lesson for him to know what it really takes to win a game, a series, a Cup. And that it will serve him better in future runs, because the Bruins are likely going to have some playoff-bound teams in the coming years, with Lindholm at the core of them.

    Ideally, he also gets back to the playoffs healthy, and he can have a chance to show how he’s capable of performing at full strength.

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    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 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 @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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