Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks lays on the ice after being checked by Johnny Boychuk #55 of the Boston Bruins during Game Six of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 12, 2011 – Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)
(PhatzRadio/ CBC Sports) – The Stanley Cup Final, heading to a Game 7 Wednesday night, is becoming a battle of attrition.
Vancouver Canucks forward Mason Raymond was the latest casualty, with the announcement Tuesday that he will miss three to four months with a compression fracture of a vertebra.
“It wasn’t a chipped vertebra or cracked vertebra,” Canucks general manager Mike Gillis said in a news conference in Vancouver. “It’s broken through the belly of his vertebra, so it’s a very serious injury.”
He was hurt 20 seconds into Game 6 when he was backed slowly into the boards while bent over during a check by Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who had his stick between Raymond’s legs. Raymond was face down on the ice for several minutes before he was helped off by teammates Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins, not moving his legs on the way.
The Canucks later announced during the game that Raymond was taken to the hospital. No penalty was called on the play.
“I didn’t see the puck around him,” Gillis said. “I thought the Boston player used a can opener and drove him into the boards with enough force to break his back.”
Raymond is the fourth person who has been unavailable because of injury or suspension.
Vancouver suffered a blow in Game 1 when Dan Hamhuis, a defenseman on the top pairing with Kevin Bieksa, left the game when he delivered a hip check to the Bruins’ Milan Lucic. Hamhuis’ injury wasn’t disclosed, but he has yet to return to play.
In Game 3, Boston’s Nathan Horton was knocked out of the series on a late hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome. He has a severe concussion, the Bruins said.
The Canucks also lost Rome on the play because he was ejected from the game and suspended for the remainder of the series.
Raymond remains in Boston. An absence of three to four months means that he would miss the start of training camp and possibly the start of the 2011-12 season.
Gillis had a worse prognosis.
“He’s going to face a long, hard recovery,” he said. “We’ve been told it’s going to be very challenging for him and he’s going to be in a difficult position for some time.
“We’re hopeful if we can get him back by November, I think that would be a win for us.”
Raymond was playing on the second line for the Canucks, and like most of his teammates, he was having trouble scoring against Bruins goalie Tim Thomas in the series. His last goal was scored against the San Jose Sharks early in the Western Conference finals.
The Canucks tried several players on the Kesler line during Game 6.
“For us, injuries and adversity have been part of our daily routine throughout this season and we faced every one of them head on,” coach Alain Vigneault said during Tuesday’s news conference. “It’s very unfortunate for Mason not to be able to play in the seventh game, but the guys that we have available are going to jump on the opportunity.”