Boston Bruins

  • The good news: Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo ditched the non-contact sweater and was a regular participant in Monday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. The bad news: Carlo, who has been out of the lineup for the last four games with a the always-vague “upper-body injury,” confirmed his ailment to be exactly what we all feared when he departed that Oct. 15 showdown with the Coyotes after just one period.

    “Yeah,” Carlo, who looked as if he was almost debating whether or not he wanted to revealed the specifics, said Monday. “It’s unfortunate. It’s been something I’ve experienced a couple times throughout my career.”

    A ‘couple times’ is unfortunately selling his trauma short.

    In fact, this is diagnosed concussion No. 5 for Carlo since 2017, and his first since the concussion that took him out of the 2021 playoffs against the Islanders. That last concussion before this current was the fourth in what was a four-in-50-month stretch for the 6-foot-5 defenseman, too, headlined by a brutal one suffered on a hit from the Capitals’ Tom Wilson.

    But similar to what he said about the topic back in 2021, Carlo remains unconcerned with the blows, mostly because of his timeline recoveries to date.

    “Through talking with the doctors and what not, just the way I’ve recovered through my concussions, it’s not anything to really be too concerned about at this point,” Carlo offered. “I’m feeling good in that regard, and definitely feel confident still going out there and playing this physical game.”

  • Reflecting back on the play, there’s nothing that stood out to Carlo in regards to what he could have done differently. Not that was noticeable, anyway, as he pointed out that you can always find something different on video based on how it ends. Particularly when it ends as a bad play or injury.

    And Carlo’s ability to properly bounce back — he got on the ice in a non-contact jersey on Friday before he jumped back into the mix in a regular jersey on Monday — has certainly eased his concerns.

    “That was huge for me, especially this time,” Carlo, who was back on the ice in less than a week’s time, admitted. “Talking with the doctors, it’s kind of about the severity of the concussions and how long you’re out. If you can bounce back and recover well, it shows that everything is leading in the right direction.”

  • Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) gets set for a face-off during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 26, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo (25) gets set for a face-off during the second period against the New York Rangers at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

  • But that isn’t to suggest that everything is A-OK and it’s right back into action for the 25-year-old.

    He’s aware of the concussions and their role as the ‘unfortunate part of his journey’ in the NHL.

    “With these things, it’s hard because you want to be reliable for your team, and in these situations it’s a weird injury where you can’t really see it besides what I’ve been experiencing with it all,” Carlo said. “It’s hard.”

    This latest concussion, while not enough to hospitalize him, also sounds terrifying. Detailing the aftermath of the hit, Carlo noted that he was able to stay on the ice, but quickly realized that he couldn’t see what was ahead of him as the play moved up the ice. He described it as one eye ‘going black’ and causing issues. (This is the same thing Marc Savard described when he suffered what was ultimately a career-ending concussion in 2011.)

    That note alone is not only terrifying, but a sobering a reminder of what’s potentially ahead of Carlo and his long-term health if he continues to take these hits, quick recovery or not.

    “I just want to continue to also be reliable for my friends and family and that’s a component of life that you have to take into account,” Carlo said. “It’s good the conversation that has been had over the last couple of years about concussions and things that are going on, because they’re very real and I’ve experienced a lot of those symptoms and different things. But overall, I still feel very good about where I’m at.

    “The third day after I was out of that game, I felt pretty much back to normal and I’ve felt good since.”

    Normal or not, the history alone is giving the Bruins pause when it comes a full-on rejoining of the lineup.

    “Carlo’s getting close, [but] I’m gonna be cautious with him,” said Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery.