Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he “didn’t mind” the hit from Tom Wilson that knocked Anton Blidh out of Thursday night’s game, calling it a “hard hockey hit.”
He very much minded Garnet Hathaway’s hit that injured Brad Marchand, though. That hit came a little under seven minutes into the second when Marchand went into the corner to play the puck. Hathaway lined Marchand up, saw nothing but his numbers the whole way, and finished a blatant hit from behind that buried Marchand hard into the boards.
Marchand went down the tunnel to the locker room, briefly returned to the bench, and then went back to the room for good. He was clearly favoring his right shoulder and was seen putting ice on it at one point. The Bruins ruled him out before the third period, leaving them with 10 forwards for the rest of the game.
After Boston’s thrilling 4-3 win, which featured a last-minute winning goal from Charlie McAvoy, Cassidy called Hathaway’s hit on Marchand “cheap.” He didn’t have any additional updates on Marchand or Blidh other than both suffered “upper body” injuries.
“The Marsh one I didn’t like at all,” Cassidy said. “I let the officials know. The ref right there in front of it didn’t call it. The trail official called it. I’m not sure why the guy watching it didn’t. Hit a guy in the numbers in a vulnerable spot. We’ve seen that from that player in the past. I didn’t like that one at all. I guess the league may or may not look at it. When it comes to Marshy, sometimes they kind of move on, but in this particular case it seemed like a vulnerable spot against the boards, in the back, high.”
David Pastrnak, who scored twice in the win, agreed.
“I thought it was planned,” Pastrnak said. “You could see he didn’t totally focus on the puck. Went straight at Marshy. Obviously he’s that kind of player. We saw him a bunch. I didn’t like it. It’s our best player, and he took a run like that on him. So I think it was a little dirty.”
Hathaway was given a two-minute minor for interference, which wasn't really the right call. It appeared to be a textbook hit from behind and/or boarding, and probably should have been a five-minute major. We'll find out on Friday if there's any supplemental discipline coming for Hathaway.
As both Cassidy and Pastrnak referenced, the Bruins have seen this before from Hathaway. Last April, he hit then-Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi from behind, leaving Tinordi with a bloody face after he crashed into the dasher. Hathaway received a five-minute major and game misconduct for that hit, but was not suspended.
As for Wilson’s hit on Blidh, here was Cassidy’s full quote:
“The Blidh one, he kind of came in to the middle of the ice, saw him at the last minute,” Cassidy said. “Listen, Wilson hits hard. We’ve seen that. Some clean, others not clean. I didn’t mind that hit. I thought he went for the chest, I thought he kept his elbows down. So from my vantage point, I didn’t see anything other than a hard hit. Obviously wish Anton had a chance, just caught him coming into his view half a second earlier so he could’ve protected himself.”
Despite losing two forwards, including their leading scorer in Marchand, the Bruins managed to come away with a big 4-3 win.
“At the end of the day, we were able to overcome it,” Cassidy said. “Other guys got an opportunity to step up. An opportunity for [Jake] DeBrusk to get some extra minutes, and he came through for us. Hopefully Marshy is OK.”