Boychuk struck in head
Wayward shot fells defenseman
Rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was struck down on his third shift yesterday with 8:22 gone in the first period and the Canucks spread out around the box on a power play (and Matt Hunwick off for holding).
Fronting the left post, Boychuk buckled to the ice when Mikael Samuelsson’s rising one-time slapper smacked him on the head, just under the helmet near the left eye. His blood pooling in Tuukka Rask’s crease, Boychuk lay belly-down and motionless, save for his right leg, which he kept flexing as a means to deal with the pain.
“The only thing I know is, he’s at the hospital and he’s being looked at,’’ coach Claude Julien said after Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss. “The severity of it, I don’t know. He got the puck on the side of the head there, so basically that’s all I know.’’
After some on-ice attention from trainer Don Del Negro, the 26-year-old Boychuk was able to get to his feet and make his way to the dressing room, as Del Negro continued to press a bandage on the rookie’s forehead.
The loss of Boychuk left the Bruins with five blue liners: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Wideman, Adam McQuaid, Derek Morris, and Hunwick. Wideman and Chara each finished with more than 30 minutes of ice time. Morris and Hunwick logged nearly 24 each. McQuaid finished with 13:23.
Andrew Ference, sidelined since the start of January with a groin injury, skated in the warmup but did not suit up. He has been officially activated on the roster, while Mark Stuart (finger surgery) has been placed on IR.
“I think there is some experience missing back there,’’ said Julien.
“When you don’t have that, to me, a defenseman is like a quarterback on a football team. If you’ve got guys moving the puck well, your offense benefits from it as well.’’
Julien added that Ference, who was on the club’s flight to Montreal, possibly could return to the lineup in today’s matinee.
“He’s a possibility,’’ said Julien. “He’s getting better and better. I’d say he’s a good possibility.’’