It all happened in the blink of an eye.
Late in the second period last night, an errant clearing attempt turned into a dangerous situation for the Canes’ bench as back-up goaltender Brian Boucher
was hit in the head with the puck.
Boucher clutched a towel to his head as he scooted off to the Canes’ locker room. He didn’t reappear on the bench for the third period and was listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game in Ottawa.
Good news came this morning when Boucher practiced with the team and displayed no ill effects of what happened last night.
“I never saw it,” he said. “I’ve gotten hit with a stick before, but never a puck. It hit me flush in the temple.”
Luckily for Boucher, the puck didn’t cause a cut or require stitches; instead, it left him seeing stars and quite the headache last night. This morning he sported a bump where the puck caught him.
“I took quite a bit of Advil,” he said. “When I left here, it was hurting pretty good. When I got up this morning, it was just the pressure. But other than that, the throbbing had gone away.”
On the ice today for practice, Boucher said he felt fine. Head coach Paul Maurice had a quick chat with him as he stretched, and Boucher will fly to Ottawa with the team. Though he won’t start in net, his services will be available if needed.
“No issues [today],” Boucher said. “Last night was the worst of it.”
“It was all a matter of, once they knew there wasn’t an injury there, could he gets his mask over the swelling,” Maurice said. “It was in a place that it didn’t affect him. So everybody had a good laugh about it and gave him a hard time.”
Boucher’s absence in the third period raised a question – if Cam Ward
had gotten hurt, who would have played goal? Boucher said it wouldn’t have been him.
“My gear was on, but I think we would have had to determine who was in worse shape if Cam got hurt,” he said. “I’d argue that I was hurting more.”
Maurice wasn’t sure, either.
“We do not have a third guy, believe it or not,” he said. “Now, the NHL is a little different from the physical safety, but it happened to me in junior. I think it was an exhibition game, and I had 8 guys that wanted to go in.
“I bet you almost every one of these guys, at some point, played goal. I don’t know if they’d do it for the whole year, but back when you rotated, there are always the guys that loved to play goal.”
Perhaps luckily for the Canes, they didn’t have to find out who that third guy would be. Having Boucher healthy also keeps the Charlotte Checkers’ goaltending tandem of Mike Murphy
and Justin Peters
in tact for their back-to-back set with the Milwaukee Admirals this weekend.
Tomorrow night in Ottawa, Boucher will be on the bench once more. Though he might not be wearing a mask, it’s guaranteed he’ll be on guard.
“Got to pay attention,” he said. “I’m usually pretty good at putting my arms up, but this time I didn’t see it.”ROSTER NOTESJoni Pitkanen
did not skate today, but he remains probable for tomorrow night’s game in Ottawa. Maurice said that Pitkanen was battling flu-like symptoms. Keeping him off the ice today will allow him to be more hydrated for tomorrow. The plan is to have him skate in the morning to see how he feels. The rest of the team will not skate due to the 5:00 start time.Jay Harrison
did not make the trip to Ottawa. He’s nursing an upper-body injury.