BOSTON, MA - It's not too often that an injury update ends up being "good news," but such was the case on Saturday morning, when Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update on Johnny Boychuk.
"Johnny has been diagnosed with a back sprain and will be out for approximately three to seven days," Chiarelli said in the statement.
For anyone who saw the defenseman go awkwardly into the boards after a hit in Montreal on Thursday night, the time frame was a good sign.
"Johnny's doing better," Head Coach Claude Julien told media following the Bruins' pregame skate at TD Garden on Saturday, before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I think we dodged a pretty good bullet there, personally."
Julien said that the team planned to bring Boychuk on the road, for their four-game swing through Canada, starting in Toronto on Sunday.
"Those kind of injuries could have serious consequences. We feared the worst and I think we got as good of news as we could get," said Julien.
"When he was down, he couldn’t breathe, I guess he couldn’t move either. So obviously on the medical side of it, our trainers and the Montreal doctors did the right thing. They took him off on a stretcher, took him to the hospital and they got him checked out."
"After the MRI yesterday [on his lower back], they found no fractures. So a lot of it has been based on him locking up from going into the boards; muscle spasm and everything else."
"Thankfully it’s not as serious of an injury as it looked at the time," said Milan Lucic, who was along the boards with Boychuk as he was being tended to by trainers and medical personnel.
"Obviously being one of the guys beside him on the ice, you were definitely concerned knowing the type of guy that Johnny is – he’s never a guy that stays down unless he’s seriously hurt - so obviously he was in a lot of pain that night and, fortunately, it’s not too, too serious of an injury."
Julien and the Bruins hope it will be a quicker recovery, though it's tough to tell just how long he's going to be out.
"With those kind of injuries, there’s always that opportunity that the spasm and the stiffness can go away quickly; you never know. Certainly not playing tonight, not playing tomorrow; it’s not one of those things. But it’s a situation that we’ll see how it goes from there."
"We’re lucky, and those kind of injuries, as you know, back injuries can have real serious consequences on the player’s future. Like I said, we dodged a bullet and we’re happy about the fact that it’s a lot less severe than initially expected."
The outcome was welcome news. Looking back at the situation, it was still concerning for the team, who had close to a full game left to play in Montreal, with Boychuk at the hospital.
"You don’t say much more than, ‘We have to stay the course here,’" said Julien, of what he tells his bench in instances like that.
"Those are tough situations. We’ve been through it here with Bergy years ago and I still remember that as if it happened yesterday."
"You always fear the worst, and it almost ended up being a career-ending injury [for Bergeron]. So when you see those things, it’s tough, it’s tough for players. You have to be able to regroup and do your job."
"I think we’re all a little sensitive to those kind of injuries though, and you always worry, and all I said was, ‘Let’s stay the course here guys.’ And at the end of the day, if you can win the game for a guy who’s been injured, it feels a lot better than getting injured and finding out that your team lost as well. So it’s always better to go out there and keep competing."
Adam McQuaid Making the Trip
Along with Boychuk, defenseman Adam McQuaid still remains out day-to-day, after re-aggravating his lower-body injury. He won't be playing against Pittsburgh or on Sunday against Toronto, but is making the trip with the Bruins.
"He’s been working out now and he should be on the ice, we’re hoping, early this coming week."
In the meantime, with both McQuaid and Boychuk sidelined, the steady Kevan Miller is filling on the blueline.