MONTREAL — The hit looked fairly ordinary, not overly dangerous. But the outcome of the hit into the end boards that Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk took from Max Pacioretty early in Thursday night's game was very unpleasant to witness.
Boychuk remained frozen on hands and knees for several minutes, appearing to be in grave discomfort and afraid, or unable, to move. The medical team came to his aid and he was slowly lowered onto a backboard, first onto his side, then his back.
After probably 10-12 minutes of aid, Boychuk was taken off on a stretcher and to Montreal General Hospital. He suffered a possible back injury, but released to fly home with the team after the Canadiens' 2-1 win.
"We don't know the severity of it," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "I don't know all the details, but obviously it was an injury serious enough to bring him to the hospital. I think he's going to be a little while before he's good to go. I don't know exactly how much time.
"Obviously he seemed like he wasn't able to move. Whether it's his back, I don't know exactly. I don't like to comment on things I don't know much about, and give false information. We'll see (Friday). No doubt we'll have a clearer explanation and probably more details from our own doctors.
"But they did a great job here. They took good care of him."
Pacioretty was assessed a two-minute boarding minor. The Bruins, already missing Adam McQuaid, again played most of the game with five defensemen. Pacioretty was apologetic about the play, and no one in the B's room saw the hit as malicious or worthy of major penalty.
"I think it was deserving of a two-minute penalty," said Julien. "I'm being honest here, I don't think it was more than that. It was probably the way he went into the boards that did most of the damage, not from the severity of the hit.
"We have to be honest if we're going to clean up this game. To turn around and said it should have been a game (misconduct) or suspension, I don't think so."
Montreal's P.K. Subban is considered a very good bet for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team.
Julien, who'll be an assistant coach for Team Canada, termed him, an "electrifying" player.
"He makes a lot of things happen when he carries the puck. He's hard to stop. He's one of those guys who's in the conversation for a spot on the team."
Bruins center Chris Kelly wondered how Subban, the Habs' top scorer (4-20-24 totals), could be left off of the Olympic team.
"When you win the Norris Trophy, when you're voted the best defenseman in the league, it'd be kind of weird if he wasn't considered," said Kelly.
Also, reports here say Hockey Canada will hold a spot to the last second for Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos, who broke his leg in Boston on Nov. 11 and is healing quickly.
The Bruins host the Penguins tonight at the Garden, then open a four-game trip Sunday in Toronto, with stops in Calgary and Edmonton before ending next Saturday in Vancouver, the first visit since the B's hoisted the 2011 Stanley Cup on the Canucks' home ice, touching off massive riots in the city.