The Bruins injury situation is the worst it’s been since the beginning of the 2017-18 season. There was one B’s veteran, however, who was fortunate that things weren’t worse.
Trailing 2-0 with five minutes left in the third period at TD Garden Tuesday night, David Backes took a high, and unnecessary hit from Ducks forward Nick Ritchie. Backes directly went through to concussion protocol while Ritchie wasn’t even given a minor penalty for his blindside hit to Backes’ head.
Thankfully for Backes, he was cleared to join his team for practice Wednesday at Warrior Ice Arena. Charlie McAvoy (heart), Noel Acciari (lower-body) and Anders Bjork (upper-body) did not practice with the latter leaving in the first period of the B’s 3-1 loss to Anaheim.
Meeting with the media for the first time following Ritchie’s hit, Backes was not too happy with the way things turned out.
“Obviously I got a biased lens that I’m looking through, but yeah, I think at that time of the game where it was critical and we’re down two, there’s potential for a penalty there to see what our power play can do…so who knows what would’ve happened,” Backes said. “But to police the game — and to take those hits out of the game — I think those are the type of things that you need to have repercussion for, or you’re encouraging them.”
Unlike Brad Marchand’s elbow to Marcus Johansson that earned him a five-game suspension — despite not being penalized — the NHL Player Safety Department did not review Ritchie’s hit on Backes.
That’s a story for another day. For now, Backes, who missed 17 games during his bout with diverticulitis, is thankful to have a clean bill of health.
“I wasn’t real pleased with it. Those are the type of hits we’re trying to get out of the game. Late, inconsequential and the puck is not there, and it’s a little high and if he finished me through the body I’d probably go flying just as much if that’s what his prerogative is,” Backes added. “But the result is that thankfully I’m not injured and I can continue to play, and that’s the bright side of it.”
Indeed that is a bright side as the Bruins prepare to face Backes’ former team, the St. Louis Blues, Thursday night on Causeway Street. They’ll do so without McAvoy and Marchand while Acciari and Bjork are also doubtful for the inter-conference matchup.