PHILADELPHIA It seemed as if Nathan Horton had just escaped the fog of last years concussion issues, but now he might be right back in the darkness after a reckless hit from a Flyers thug.
The Bruins right wing was held out of the third period and overtime of Sundays 6-5 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers after being on the receiving end of a blindside Tom Sestito shoulder to the head. The contact with Horton came in the second period well after the puck had left his possession, and should mean that Sestito playing in his first NHL game since Dec. 23 after being called back up from the minors will be hearing from the league offices in the next few days.
Sestito has already been suspended twice this season: once for two games during the preseason on a hit from behind and another five-game suspension in the AHL for an illegal check to the head of an opponent.
So it sounds like there is plenty of past history with Sestito and the contact with Hortons head one of the six registered hits Sestito collected in 8:36 of ice time for the Flyers.
There was a blindside hit on Horton. The Washington game is two days away, so well see," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "I havent had a chance to talk to our trainers or even get a doctors report to see how severe it is right now. I guess well find out in the next few days here, but certainly the doctors didnt allow him to come back in this game.
Horton responded with anger to the Sestito hit to the head that arrived well behind the play, and he chased after the Philly rabble-rouser before getting whistled off for a roughing call. Both Milan Lucic and Marc-Andre Bourdon got involved in the aftermath, and ultimately the Flyers went on a power play that ended with a Scott Hartnell goal. The Hartnell power play score quickly jump-started a dominant second period for Philadelphia, but it was a sequence that Hortons coach fully understood.
Obviously he got up and took a penalty, but we looked at the replay. When hes been through what he went through last year and it was a blindside hit, I dont blame him for doing his job, said Julien. If I was in his shoes I probably would have done the same thing. Thats our team. We take care of our own stuff. You saw that a couple of times with Kelly getting run over, and getting stood up for by Thornton.
We stick up for each other. Thats what we do. Sometimes that might get us into trouble, but in the long run were a team and we believe in our team concept.
Horton never returned to the game, and Julien said after the game hes a question mark for Tuesdays game against the Capitals that concludes the Bs pre-All-Star break schedule.