New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk nearly started the New Year in the worst way possible after a scary collision with the boards during Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Thankfully, though, it appears Boychuk will be all right.
Late in the third period, Boychuk was closing in on Sabres rookie Jack Eichel, who was racing to a loose puck in the Islanders’ zone. As Boychuk approached Eichel, who had nearly beaten Boychuk to the puck that was sitting below the goal line, the Islanders blueliner caught an edge and went sailing headfirst into the boards behind the New York net:
Boychuk had the presence of mind to protect his neck and head, but the brunt of the impact came to his left shoulder. Upon skating off the ice, it was clear Boychuk was nursing his left arm and he did not return for the final 4:27 of the contest.
Post-game, Islanders coach Jack Capuano said it was fortunate that Boychuk got his head and neck out of the way, before adding that the defenseman could miss some time.
“Fortunately for us, Johnny skated off on his own and he’s only day-to-day,” Capuano told Newday’s Arthur Staples.
You can see the Sabres aren’t immediately pleased with the referees decision to whistle the play down, but Boychuk’s crash into the boards was frightening enough to warrant a stoppage in play no matter who had possession of the puck. At high speed, it looked like he went headfirst into the boards.
Boychuk, 31, has three goals and 14 points in 38 games this season and has skated big minutes for the Islanders this season. Only Travis Hamonic and Nick Leddy average more ice time per game than Boychuk’s 21:32, and Boychuk ranks first in average shorthanded time on ice among defenseman and third in power play time for Islanders blueliners.