Boston Bruins could be in trouble at the blueline once again

Boston Bruins, Brandon Carlo (Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Bruins, Brandon Carlo (Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) /

During the Boston Bruins‘ 2-1 overtime Game 3 win over the New York Islanders, defenseman Brandon Carlo took a heavy hit from right wing Cal Clutterbuck behind Boston’s net a little over six minutes into the third period. The check was clean, but Carlo appeared to bang his head against the glass.

After taking the check, Carlo immediately dropped his stick and fell to a knee. He grabbed his stick off the ice and tried getting back on his feet, but couldn’t. Ultimately, Carlo had to be helped off the ice, looking dazed, and would not return to the game.

I will link the hit here, but will not give the video it’s own line where it will freely play. Carlo’s attempt to get up is hard to watch, so I want to give readers the option to see the hit or not.

Carlo has had a pretty significant concussion history over the last few years, including having one (not confirmed by the team) this season after taking a high check from Capitals’ right wing Tom Wilson. This is just one of at least three concussions that Carlo has suffered since 2017.

Having developed into one of the B’s most consistent defenseman, missing Carlo for an extended period of time during this postseason could really hurt them. Luckily, head coach Bruce Cassidy had an encouraging report on Carlo Friday morning as he said, “He [Carlo] feels good this morning, better.”

Cassidy also added that Carlo is currently day-to-day and his status for Saturday’s Game 4 will not be confirmed until Saturday morning.

Who will the Boston Bruins slot in if Brandon Carlo can’t go for Game 4?

The first option that comes to mind is Kevan Miller. However, while he’s skating again after taking a high hit from Caps’ defenseman Dmitry Orlov in Game 4 of the first round, he did not travel with Boston to Long Island and has thus been ruled out for Game 4 already.

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Cassidy said that the Black and Gold currently have three options to replace Carlo: 1) Jarred Tinordi, 2) Jakub Zboril, and 3) Urho Vaakanainen. I put these in the order of that I think the likelihood of each one of them playing is.

Tinordi is first because he played in Game 5 against the Caps with both Jeremy Lauzon and Kevan Miller out. He played quite well in that one game. Zboril is second because he has more experience than Vaakanainen and was once a regular in the B’s lineup this season. He isn’t ahead of Tinordi because he is coming off an injury and I am unsure of exactly how healthy he is. Vaakanainen is last because he is the least experienced of the three.

One thing is for certain, however. With all three options being lefties, Jeremy Lauzon will have to move over to his weak side (Cassidy said this is an option and would most likely be the case). Whether Lauzon stays on the third or moves up to the second pairing is unknown and most likely depends on which of Tinordi, Zboril, or Vaakanainen plays.

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Hopefully, we don’t have to find out and Carlo is good to go for Game 4. But if he can’t, the B’s are in for a tough time and I wish Carlo a speedy recovery.