Johnny Boychuk cleared to travel

Updated: December 6, 2013, 6:06 AM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

MONTREAL -- Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk has been cleared to travel with the team back to Boston, after he suffered an injury and needed to be taken off the ice on a stretcher and transported to an area hospital during the first period of Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

After the game, Boychuk returned to the arena to take the team bus to the airport.

"He was cleared to fly back with us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "He's still obviously injured. We don't know the severity of it and I don't know all the details, but it was an injury serious enough to bring him to the hospital. Definitely, it's going to be a little while before he's good to go. I don't know exactly how much time, but the good news is he's coming back with us tonight and he'll be reassessed by our doctors back in Boston."

Boychuk was injured when he jumped into the rush and was hit behind the Montreal net by the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty. Boychuk hit the end boards at 4:28 of the first period as he was battling for the puck. Pacioretty received a boarding penalty on the play.

Julien didn't think the hit was dirty.

"It was deserving of a two-minute penalty," Julien said. "I looked at it and it was, and I'm being honest, I don't think it was more than that. I think it's probably the way he went into the boards that did most of the damage. I don't think it was the severity of the hit.

"We have to be honest if we're going to clean up this game, and to turn around and say it should've been a game suspension, I don't think so."

Pacioretty said he didn't see the hit since his back was turned when Boychuk went into the boards.

"I have no comment on it, I honestly, I couldn't even walk you through the hit. It's, you know, I felt terrible, I didn't even really know what happened," Pacioretty said. "I was just kind of battling for the puck, I felt terrible after it happened. I'm going to have to see it because I haven't even seen the replay."

He added that the Bruins did not have an issue with the hit.

"No, I mean I asked people because I literally didn't know what happened," he said. "They said, I think he twisted his back or something in regards to that. I obviously feel terrible, I've been in that situation before, and I had no intent to injury anybody, I thought I was just playing hard. I hope everything's going to be all right for him.

"You know what, I think the team gave me the benefit of the doubt, the few guys I talked to about it. I honest to God didn't have any intentions of doing anything like that. Like I said, I hope he gets better quick."

When asked if Boychuk injured his back, Julien could not be specific.

"Well, obviously he seemed like he wasn't able to move," Julien said. "Whether it's his back, I don't know exactly. I don't like to comment on things I don't know much about and give false information. He's coming back with us and no doubt tomorrow we'll have a clearer explanation and probably more details from our own doctors.

"But they did a great job here, took good care of him. He saw the specialist and he cleared him to fly back with us, so we'll see how he is."

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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