Jonny Boychuk plays a hard brand of hockey, and just days after being stretchered off the Bell Centre ice on Thursday, it appears that No. 55 could be back to playing sooner rather than later.
It only took 4:28 into the first period for the highly anticipated Bruins-Habs game to change from a hotly contested game to several tense minutes of concern for Boychuk as the defenseman lay prone on the ice. Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty appeared to make shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Boychuk, but either his momentum or his skate in a rut caused the Bruins blueliner to collide awkwardly with the corner boards.
Pacioretty was given a two-minute minor for boarding and Boychuk was transported to Montreal General Hospital for observation.
As if the news that Boychuk traveled back to Boston with the team wasn’t surprising enough, given what looked to be a serious injury, General Manager Peter Chiarelli issued an update on Boychuk’s status Saturday morning, saying, “Johnny has been diagnosed with a back sprain and will be out for approximately three to seven days.”
Boychuk has never been shy about sacrificing his body to make a play or block a shot, and that dedication is probably linked to his near-superhuman healing ability. To go from a stretcher, however precautionary it was, to possibly back on the ice against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 10 is at worst incredibly lucky and at best a miracle of modern medicine.
Breathe easy, Bruins fans, but save your get-well-soon cards. Boychuk will be back on the ice before they’re even in the mail.