WASHINGTON - In all likelihood, Nathan Horton will not play tonight against Washington because of a suspected head injury.
Following yesterday’s ceremony at the White House, general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed that Horton is doubtful tonight.
“I think it’s a mild concussion,’’ Chiarelli said. “From what I heard [Sunday] night and what I saw [Sunday] night. I talked to him earlier today. These things are day to day. So I would say it’s day to day. It might not be. There’s that gray area. You take your ImPACT test. You see how it is the following day. Then you make that determination. He’s in that gray area there.’’
Horton was injured in the second period of Sunday’s 6-5 shootout victory over Philadelphia. A moment after Horton shot the puck at the Philadelphia net, he was hit from the right side by Tom Sestito. Although Sestito’s hit was late, video replay could not determine if the Philadelphia forward targeted Horton’s head. Sestito was neither penalized nor disciplined after the game.
After absorbing the hit, Horton went after Sestito and was called for interference. Horton didn’t play in the third period. He attended yesterday’s ceremony.
During his speech in the East Room, President Obama referred to Horton’s concussion in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, and how he poured TD Garden water onto the Rogers Arena ice before Game 7.
“After two series-winning goals to lead the Bruins to the championship, Nathan Horton went down hard in Game 3 of the Finals,’’ Obama said. “But that didn’t stop him from doing everything he could to help his team win. He even brought some Boston water all the way to Vancouver and poured it on the ice before the decisive Game 7.’’
In 46 games, Horton has 17 goals and 15 assists. After the Bruins’ 3-2 shootout win over Florida last Monday, coach Claude Julien said his club needed more from Horton.
The following night, Horton scored two goals in a 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay. After the game, Horton said Julien had the right to say anything he wanted, but he played for teammates.
Assuming Horton is unavailable tonight, Zach Hamill would re-enter the lineup. Hamill hasn’t played since last Tuesday against the Lightning.
Rich Peverley would most likely skate in Horton’s spot on the first line alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Hamill would assume Peverley’s position on the right wing on the No. 3 line with Benoit Pouliot and Chris Kelly.
The Bruins have not promoted help from Providence, indicating that Steven Kampfer will be available tonight. On Sunday, Brayden Schenn cleaned Kampfer’s clock with a clean but violent hit. Kampfer had the wind knocked out of him, according to Julien, and returned later in the second.
Andrew Ference will serve the second of his three-match suspension tonight. Ference is eligible to return Feb. 2 against Carolina.
Washington will be without Alex Ovechkin tonight. The NHL suspended the Capitals captain for three games, starting tonight. Ovechkin was called for charging Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek Sunday. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan ruled that Ovechkin launched himself into Michalek, causing his head to strike the glass. Ovechkin has 20 goals and 19 assists in 47 games. Ovechkin is a repeat offender, having been suspended twice previously . . . After tonight’s game against the Capitals, the Bruins will pause for the All-Star break. They will resume play next Tuesday against Ottawa at the Garden. “We had a little bit of a dip lately,’’ Chiarelli said. “But we’re a deep team. We’re a good team. We’re hopefully going to go into the break with another win. Then you’ve got your stretch drive. Our guys know what stretch drives are now. They’re better suited for them. I hope they’ll be able to embrace that. Of course, the trade deadline comes up, so hopefully we’ll be doing some things at the trade deadline. Then get ready for the playoffs.’’ . . . The Bruins didn’t practice yesterday. Following their White House visit, they had a charity event at a Washington-area Boys & Girls Club . . . Tuukka Rask should get the start tonight. Rask backed up Tim Thomas Sunday. Rask was in goal for Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers.Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.