Skip to main content

Report: Sabres’ Carrier won’t be suspended for hit that injured Bruins’ Backes

Sabres rookie William Carrier took a minor for an illegal check to the head for that knocked Bruins veteran David Backes out of Thursday’s game, but Carrier reportedly won’t be facing supplemental discipline.
via Sportsnet/YouTube

via Sportsnet/YouTube

The Boston Bruins aren’t sure quite yet how long they’ll be without David Backes, but the Buffalo Sabres reportedly won’t lose rookie winger William Carrier from the lineup despite his hit that injured the Bruins’ winger.

During Thursday’s game in Buffalo, Backes was carrying the puck through the neutral zone late in the first period, crossed the red line and dumped the puck in the attacking zone. As he released the puck, however, he was met from the blindside by a hit from Carrier, and the check was enough to leave Backes down on the ice, nearly motionless for several moments, before he was helped to the dressing room.

Take a look at the hit:

After the hit, the Bruins immediately went after Carrier, but nothing much came of the scrum aside from Carrier being assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. And apparently that is all that will be coming from the play, too.

CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty reported following the game that it didn’t appear Carrier would be receiving any supplemental discipline for the hit as the head wasn’t the “main point of contact.”

On all the angles provided in the clip above, it’s near impossible to tell where exactly Carrier does make contact with Backes. The hit comes through and appears to catch Backes high in the chest or right on the chin, but it’s near impossible to tell. The broadcast camera is blocked by Carrier’s body, the angle from behind the Boston goal is blocked by both Backes and Carrier and the far angle, from the Buffalo zone, is much too far away to get a clear look at where contact is made.

Despite the fact Carrier was handed a minor for a check to the head, the league’s disciplinarians have to take a more complete look at the play, which is to say that the Department of Player Safety’s call doesn’t necessarily have to mesh with that of the on-ice officials. The referees are seeing the play at high speed and making snap decisions, whereas the league has the ability to slow things down, frame by frame, to make their determination. It’s in this way the league can also deem that an infraction that isn’t penalized during a game is worthy supplementary discipline. 

As for Backes, there isn’t yet word on the exact extent of his injury, but it’s believed he may have suffered a concussion. If that’s the case, there will be an indefinite timeline on his return, and he may not get back into action for at least a week, if not more. Backes, 32, last missed time with a head injury in October 2014, missing one game due to a concussion.

Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.


Connor Bedard

World Junior Roundup: Canada, USA Score Big Wins, Finland Edges Czechia

Canada and USA move to 2-0 with big wins, while Finland needed a shootout to beat Czechia on the third day of the World Junior Championship in Edmonton.

Kyle Davidson

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks have committed fully to a rebuild, and it's up to GM Kyle Davidson to turn it into something tangible.

Vitali Kravtsov

Prospect Pool Overview: New York Rangers

With a strong NHL lineup and some good prospects on the way up, Tony Ferrari takes a look at the New York Rangers' future.