Not that it came as a surprise, but the Bruins announced early Saturday afternoon that veteran forward David Backes sustained a concussion Thursday night in Buffalo and will be sidelined indefinitely.
Clobbered by Sabres winger William Carrier, on what was ruled an illegal hit to the head, the 34-year-old Backes remained face down on the ice for a couple of minutes before making his way to the dressing room in Buffalo.
No telling how long Backes, signed to a five-year, $30 million deal in July, will remain out of the lineup. He suffered at least one concussion in his years with the Blues, which typically would add recovery time to subsequent knocks.
“I haven’t talked to him in two days,” said coach Claude Julien, asked how Backes is feeling. “I talked to him on the plane [home from Buffalo]. He has been told to stay home. He has been told to stay away from TVs and shouldn’t be texting.”
Defenseman John-Michael Liles exited the lineup upon suffering a concussion Nov. 27 against Buffalo and has yet to return. All concussions vary in terms of how long players need to recover, but it’s reasonable to expect Backes will miss at least a couple of weeks. If so, he would be doubtful for the Jan. 10 game in St. Louis, where he played his entire career before signing here as a free agent.
Laing, 25, steered her motorized wheelchair to center ice from the Zamboni entrance and used her left hand to drop the puck between captain Zdeno Chara and the Sabres’ Brian Gionta, the ex-Boston College star, with the crowd of 17,565 cheering her on with a standing ovation.
“It was very emotional,” said Chara, reflecting on the ceremony while at the same time recalling the day Laing was injured. “What happened was very unfortunate. But we see how much progress Denna’s made and it’s very encouraging, very emotional for us to see her getting stronger, getting better, and it was definitely something that gave us an extra boost for the game.”
In the moments prior to puck drop, the video screen over center ice showed a montage of pictures and video, featuring Laing with many Bruins stars past and present, and chronicling her determined effort to work her way back from injury.
Laing only days ago moved back home after months in a rehabilitation facility, where she worked valiantly to try to regain use of her four limbs.
Laing was hurt playing in the women’s Winter Classic at Foxborough, tripping over a stick and tumbling into the boards.
With Laing needing an extra second or two before releasing the puck in the ceremony Saturday, all players on the Boston and Buffalo benches watched in silence. A few of them tapped their sticks on the ice or sideboards as she made her way to center ice.
Bruins veterans Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron eached hugged Laing and posed for pictures.
“Obviously, injuries happen,” noted Chara. “But you never want to see anything at that level happen to anyone.”
“I didn’t think anything really big was going to come out of it,” said Marchand in a routine meeting with the media prior to the game. “I just feel like there’s so many people on Twitter that are allowed to say and do whatever they want . . . we are in the spotlight, it’s tough to respond because we get criticized way beyond what we probably should.”
The tweet in question, directed at Marchand after he asked his followers to consider donating to a couple in Scotia, N.Y., who recently lost their home in a fire, has been deleted on Twitter.
“This derogatory statement,” Marchand wrote in his Twitter account @Bmarch63, “is offensive to so many people around the world your [sic] the kind of kid parents are ashamed of.”
Marchand on Saturday noted he was offended, in part because he has “a few friends” who are in same-sex relationships.
“I just figure most people, they don’t really . . . they can say whatever they want behind their keyboard,” he explained. “They never have to answer for it. They’re not used to the backlash that comes with what they say, so I figure that kind of getting that out there . . . I knew everyone would jump on it and kind of go after the guy, so I didn’t have to. And it worked. The guy ended up deleting his Twitter.
“Most people can’t take the criticism that comes with what they say. They don’t think how it affects people, stuff like that, again, I thought it was a pretty bad comment and nowadays it’s not right to go after people like that, so I just figured I’d get it out there.”
Dan Marchand (no relation) and his wife, Kate, lost their home to a fire on Dec. 27, leading the Bruins winger to urge people to donate to their gofundme page. Dan Marchand is a firefighter. His wife, due to give birth to twin girls in April, is a dispatcher for the Albany, N.Y., police and fire departments. As of late Saturday morning, donations stood at $37,251.