Upon the first replay of Mason Raymond being driven awkwardly into the boards just seconds into Game 6, it was clear that something was wrong. The Vancouver Canucks have already shared their disgust regarding Johnny Boychuk’s hit in that play, but they probably won’t feel much better now that speculation is circling that Raymond will need quite some time to recover from that unlucky landing.
Various outlets indicate that Raymond won’t just miss Game 7 with his injury but will probably need between three and six months to recover. The injury has been referred to as a fractured vertebra (or more specifically a vertebra compression fracture).
It sounds like the league won’t review the hit, but even if they did, it would be tough to imagine a suspension resulting from this situation.
As with most hits that injure a player, both teams have very different viewpoints of the hit. This wasn’t one of those checks in which a defenseman takes a Fred Flinstone-like series of strides before he barrels into an opponent, though. Instead it was a moment that almost happened in slow motion and seemed like a very unlucky turn of events. Feel free to debate whether or not Boychuk’s intentions were malicious or not in the comments, but here is what members of both teams had to say.
“The referee said he lost his edge — I don’t know,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. “I’m sure for one game, we can have guys step up and play those minutes.”
Boychuk claimed he didn’t know what occurred on the play.
“I have no clue what happened,” said Boychuk. “The ref was yelling at me to let him up. I tried to let him up, but he didn’t get up. I don’t even really remember the play. I don’t know what was wrong with him.”
While we will have to wait for more tangible details, Jeff Tambellini is the odds-on favorite to take Raymond’s spot in the lineup. To some, it won’t seem like a huge downgrade. While Raymond has eight points in 24 games and Tambellini doesn’t have any in five postseason games, they both count blazing speed as one of their biggest strengths. Raymond is a much more versatile player than Tambellini at this point in their careers and often ranks as a top-six forward, though, so there’s no denying that this is another tough blow for the Canucks’ banged up depth. When you consider how much their star players have been struggling, this could be a tough loss to take.
Here is video footage of that hit, for your own debating purposes.