Urho Vaakanainen

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Larynx injury to keep Bruins’ Kevan Miller out five weeks

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A scary play during Monday night’s game between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will keep defenseman Kevan Miller out of action for five weeks after he was hit in the throat with a puck.

Late in the first period, Miller blocked a John Tavares shot that then saw the puck roll up his stick and hit him in the throat. He would finish the shift before leaving the game and spend the night in a Toronto hospital where a CT scan showed a cartilage injury to his larynx. Doctors confirmed that upon his return to Boston when he was re-evaluated.

It’s another blow to a Bruins’ blue line already banged up. Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, and Urho Vaakanainen are currently out of the lineup. Miller had missed 13 games with a broken hand before Monday’s meeting with the Maple Leafs. Brandon Carlo, who has been out the last eight games with an upper-body injury, participated in Wednesday’s practice and could return Thursday vs. the New York Islanders.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Chara’s month-long absence adds to Bruins’ blue line woes

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In a week where NHL injury news was seemingly non-stop, the Boston Bruins suffered another blow with the news that Zdeno Chara would be out indefinitely following a leg injury suffered Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche. According to The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa, the captain is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks.

The continued hits to the Bruins’ blue line saw them dress two players, Connor Clifton and Jakub Zboril, making their NHL debuts Friday during a 1-0 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. Add in rookie Jeremy Lauzon and you had three defenseman on the ice with not even a combined 10 games of NHL experience. Along with Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Urho Vaakanainen, Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller and John Moore were also absent.

This is something that head coach Bruce Cassidy has never experienced.

“No. Not this many at the same time,” Cassidy on Friday. “Clearly when you lose guys through the course of the year, five or six, but not at the same time. It will be a challenge, no doubt.”

Lauzon (24:52 TOI) and Matt Grzelcyk (25:27) made up the top pairing with Chara and McAvoy sidelined.

(Let’s also not gloss over that while Patrice Bergeron got banged up against the Stars and returned, there’s still plenty of concern about his status.)

The good news is that the blue line injury list could see fewer faces on it real soon. Cassidy said that Miller could be back Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. Any of Carlo, McAvoy or Vaakanainen may also be able to return to the lineup that night. The Bruins have three full days off after Saturday’s meeting with the Arizona Coyotes; plenty of time to recoup and possibly piece back together their defense corps.

In the meantime, the Bruins will rely on some of their kids to help them get through this stretch. It’ll be quite a period of evaluation.

“It’s the National Hockey League, you can either play in it or you can’t. We’ll find out with some of these guys,” said Cassidy. “Sometimes this is the best way to find out, that’s the positive in it. The negative is we’ve got a lot of good players out of the lineup back there. “If they want to play here it’s a great opportunity to show what they can do right now. That’s the way I look at it. This is kind of their dream to get here. Well, here you are, have at it.”

UPDATE: The Bruins say Chara’s injury is to his left MCL and he’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks. Moore and Bergeron are leaving the road trip and heading back to Boston for evaluation.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Senators’ Borowiecki ejected in return from suspension

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(UPDATE: Borowiecki will have another chat with the DoPS on Monday.)

Mark Borowiecki did not play for the Ottawa Senators on Friday night as he was serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Boston Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen last week.

He might be hearing from the NHL’s department of player safety once again.

In the first period of Sunday’s game agains the Vegas Golden Knights, Borowiecki’s first game back after serving his suspension, he was given a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct for charging Cody Eakin.

Here is a look at the play.

Eakin did not return.

The DoPS looks at everything, and the first thing they do as part of the process is simply look at the play itself, eliminating all names, past histories, and results of the play, to try and determine if it is worthy of supplemental discipline. If it is, that is when past histories and the result will come into play. And that would not be a good thing for Borowiecki.

[Related: Senators’ Borowiecki suspended for elbowing]

Not only was the player he hit injured as a result of the play, but Borowiecki has already been suspended two times in his career and was literally just returning from the second of those suspensions.

The Senators ended up losing on Sunday to the Golden Knights in overtime by a 4-3 margin.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Senators’ Borowiecki suspended one game for elbowing

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The NHL’s department of player safety announced on Wednesday evening that Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki has been suspended one game for an elbowing incident that took place in Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

The incident happened around the front of the Ottawa net when Borowiecki deliberately elbowed Bruins rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen.

Vaakanainen, the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2017, exited the game with a concussion and did not return.

Here is the play again, as well as the NHL’s explanation for the suspension.

Borowiecki was not penalized on the play.

He will miss the Senators’ game against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night and be eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

This incident comes just a couple of days after Borowiecki was unhappy with the lack of a suspension for Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher for a hit he delivered on Borowiecki in a recent game.

Said Borowiecki, via the Ottawa Sun:

“I think you’ve got to make sure guys aren’t taking liberties on certain players because of who they are and because they’re strong. That was a hit I don’t like and I wasn’t happy about it. I told Gallagher I thought it was a dangerous hit. I understand George has an incredibly hard job and I respect him for it. I certainly never in a million years would want that position, and I think he’s taken it head-on and he realizes that there’s going to be criticism. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

Now Borowiecki is the one serving the suspension.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Bruins rookie Vaakanainen concussed by Borowiecki; Discipline coming?

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(UPDATE: Borowiecki will have a Wednesday hearing with the NHL DoPS.)

Already playing without a couple of defenders (Torey Krug, Kevan Miller) the Boston Bruins lost another one on Tuesday night when rookie Urho Vaakanainen, playing in just his second NHL game, had to leave their game against the Ottawa Senators after he was elbowed in the face by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki during a scramble around the front of the Ottawa net.

The Bruins later announced that Vaakanainen has already been diagnosed with a concussion.

You can see the play in the video above.

He was not penalized on the play, but that is not a good look for Borowieckiy because you can clearly see him look at Vaakanainen as he skates in and deliberately raise his elbow to hit him in the head.

I get that the front of the net is a tough area, but this isn’t 1980 anymore and that type of needless play should not be looked at as “okay” just because there is a scramble.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety will almost certainly review that play and he could be be facing some discipline for it. If the NHL determines it is a play worthy of discipline that could be bad news for Borowiecki because he has been suspended once before and the player on the receiving end of his hit was injured. Those two things always factor into the punishment.

Vaakanainen was the selected by the Bruins in the first-round of the 2017 draft with the No. 18 overall pick.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.