After the Bruins were booted from the postseason, Hampus Lindholm said his foot injury did not impact his play.
“I’d say I was fine,” the defenseman said May 2, when the Bruins solemnly cleaned out their lockers following a first-round series loss in seven games to the Panthers. “Everyone has bumps and bruises that time of year.”
But he later revealed that he was playing with a broken foot down the stretch.
Lindholm did not join Sweden in the World Championships because of the injury, he told Aftonbladet in a story published May 9.
“I found out this morning that I have been playing with a fracture in one foot for the past month,” he said in a text message to the Swedish outlet.
The World Championships are in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia. The only Bruin playing is defenseman Jakub Zboril, for Czechia.
Lindholm was arguably the Bruins’ best defenseman this season, finishing 16th among all NHL blue liners in points (10-43—53) and leading the league in plus-minus (plus-49) while averaging 23:11 per night.
He clearly was not himself in the playoffs, going scoreless in seven games. His tentative play led to several mistakes, the most glaring of which was a puck-over-glass penalty he took while uncovered in Game 6.
During the series, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery believed Lindholm would come around.
“His offense always comes from great defense or moving the puck and joining,” Montgomery said before Game 6. “You look at the goals he scored or the great passes throughout the year, it’s come from that. We just want him to keep focusing on shutting people down, which he’s done a great job of, and we know the offense is going to come.
“Great players, they figure it out. It’s just a matter of time. It’s a small sample size right now.”
The injury likely stemmed from a shot block March 11 against the Red Wings. Lindholm was spotted wearing a walking boot on his left leg the next day, and he did not play in the rematch in Detroit.
After several games in late March and early April, Lindholm was spotted with an ice bag on his foot. He missed one game, March 26 in Carolina, to rest what Montgomery called a “nagging” injury.
“There’s no excuses on that stuff,” Lindholm said of his condition during the playoffs, after the Bruins were bounced. “I think even if you were to have something linger — like we had guys play through stuff. It’s just that time of year.
“You try to find ways. We couldn’t really do that this year.”