Vanek was injured when Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk tried to hold him up with his stick and prevent the winger from a breakaway in the first period of the Bruins’ 5-3 win in Game 2.
Vanek never returned to the game and Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff called the act a “two-hander” by Boychuk and implied the Bruins’ rookie rear guard was attempting to injure his top sniper. Vanek scored 28 goals this season and already has a goal and an assist in the series. However, just as he did after the game Saturday, Boychuk reiterated there was no intent to injure.
“I was just trying to lift his stick on the one side because it was kind of like a breakaway,” he said. “And then I couldn’t get to it, so I went to the other side and tried to hit his stick. I didn’t even know I actually slashed him.”
While Boychuk isn’t exactly sure what he would call it, he knew it wasn’t a “two-hander” or cheap shot. “I mean, I was surprised it was hooking but all I know is I was trying to stop him from breaking in alone and to tell you the truth I was worried it would be a penalty shot,” said Boychuk. “But no way was I trying to hurt him. I just wanted to catch him.”
To strengthen Boychuk’s case, the leg that could very well keep Vanek out of Game 3 wasn’t even the leg that Boychuk’s stick hit.
In the first two Stanley Cup Playoff games of his career, Boychuk has found himself at the center of two questionable plays already. In Game 1, Boychuk was the recipient of a Tyler Myers elbow to the head on a play he and the Bruins believed should fall under the “Savard Rule.” The new rule was instituted last month after B’s center Marc Savard was lost to a Grade 2 concussion from a blindside hit by Penguins forward Matt Cooke.
“Yeah, I’m in the spotlight a lot,” Boychuk said with a smile.
Does Boychuk feel he may even have a bull’s-eye on his back from Sabres players that may want to retaliate?
“I don’t know, it didn’t feel that way after [Vanek] left, but you never know,” he said. “If so, you do what you gotta do and move on.”
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