WILMINGTON, Mass. – Bruins first-line forward Nathan Horton will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs because of concussion-related symptoms.
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday “we’ve made the determination to shut him down for the remainder of the playoffs,” after setbacks in his recovery. “We felt it just wasn’t in the long-term interests of Nathan to be having the spectre hanging over him of trying to come back.”
He said Horton agreed with the decision and seemed “relieved.”
The defending champions play Game 1 of their first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Horton suffered the injury Jan. 22 in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers and has not played since.
“We lose a pretty good player, but then we haven’t had him for quite a long time now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He’s had some setbacks lately where you could tell that he was feeling the pressure of trying to come back for the playoffs and when you’re not feeling well, that’s not right.”
The 26-year-old left wing played in a career-low 46 games this season and had 17 goals and 15 assists this season. He had 26 goals and 27 assists last season.
During last year’s Stanley Cup run, Horton had three game winners, including the deciding goals in Game 7 victories over Montreal and Tampa Bay. But he missed the final four games of the championship series against Vancouver after suffering a concussion in Game 3.
Chiarelli said, “it was made clear to me that (this year’s concussion) was totally unconnected to the first concussion.”
And Horton seemed to be making progress, but fogginess, headaches and other symptoms came back, Chiarelli said.
He also said he’s confident that Horton would play next season, “but who knows? Who knows? Two weeks ago, if you’d have asked me about him playing this playoffs, I think there (was) a chance.
“And then he had a couple of setbacks.”
Rich Peverley has replaced Horton on the top line with left wing Milan Lucic and centre David Krejci.