Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Watch: Bruins rookie Vaakanainen elbowed in face by Ottawa's Borowiecki

Matt Kalman
October 23, 2018 - 10:28 pm

For the second time in three games the Bruins lost a player to a head injury after a hit that wasn’t penalized.

During the first period of the Bruins’ 4-1 win at Ottawa on Tuesday rookie defenseman Urho Vaakanainen tried to join a scramble at the top of the crease after Patrice Bergeron was tripped up trying to score in tight. The 19-year-old was greeted by a Mark Borowiecki elbow to the face.

After getting treatment on the bench for a cut to his cheek, Vaakanainen returned to the game for seven more shifts and he totaled 5:46 of ice time in the period. But he didn’t return to the game after the first intermission. The Bruins subtly expressed their displeasure with the play by tweeting out an update about Vaakanainen’s status and using the term “concussion” rather than dilly dallying around with something about an upper-body injury. The Bruins clearly wanted the NHL Department of Player Safety to know with certainty that there was a serious injury on a non-hockey action taken by Borowiecki.

And the Bruins have a right to beef because two games ago in Edmonton last Thursday, David Backes was nailed in the head by defenseman Matt Benning, with Benning getting off scot free. Backes missed the rest of the first period but played the rest of the game. Then he wasn’t feeling well, was scratched from the game in Vancouver on Saturday and was sent back to Boston.

The non-call on Borowiecki’s hit was more glaring later in the game when Zdeno Chara was called for “cross checking” – the most blatant of the questionable calls that went against the Bruins during their win.

The Senators scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game 1-1 but the Bruins later scored two power-play goals – one by David Krejci, one by Patrice Bergeron – to go up 3-1.

Now we’ll await DOPS’ decision to have a hearing (almost certain) and their decision about how to penalize Borowiecki. The Ottawa defenseman might also have to pay a price the next time Boston and Ottawa get together Dec. 9.

Related: Unfortunate Backes injury presents opportunities for Bruins bottom six