The New York Rangers began the Eastern Conference Finals in an epic 7-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. However, after a mere 35 seconds on the ice, Derick Brassard left to the dressing room injured.
The injury occurred after being checked by Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver, a notoriously heavy hitter. After the hit, Brassard skated directly to the bench where he received attention from athletic trainer before heading to the dressing room.
“I didn’t see the hit,” Brassard said. “I remember the hit, but I didn’t see it after. I just drove the middle and he came on my blind side. But it’s the playoffs so I need to be aware of getting hit.
A top performer throughout the postseason, the loss of Brassard may be a difficult one. He has contributed seven points throughout 14 playoff games, including four goals.
Brassard’s timeline for return is unknown, even to him. Game 2 is on Monday and those involved are taking it day to day. Defenseman Marc Staal noted that the depth the Rangers have will help them if injuries like Brassard’s threaten a Stanley Cup run.
“In a playoff series, in anything, you have to have guys who step up in situations if guys go down or if a guy is missing a few shifts. It helps with [Brian Boyle] being a center and Moore being a center. He stepped in seamlessly and the guys did a great job, nobody panicked.”
The Rangers and Brassard have not disclosed the exact injury, most speculating it’s a back injury after seeing the athletic trainer giving him what looked to be a back massage on the bench before leaving Game 1. Brassard simply stated that “it’s nothing serious.”