Upper-body injury knocks Horton out of Game 1

Upper-body injury knocks Horton out of Game 1
June 13, 2013, 10:30 am
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CHICAGO -- The Bruins might have suffered a potentially devastating injury in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals when Nathan Horton appeared to injure his left shoulder while jostling with Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the net during the first overtime of Boston's 4-3 triple-overtime loss.

Horton never returned to the Boston lineup after skating off the ice in obvious pain.

Bruins coach Claude Julien had no update on Horton’s condition after the game was over, but the forward was spotted in the Bruins locker room without any noticeable cast or obvious signs of a serious injury.

“There's nothing to say,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien, “because our doctors haven't finalized the evaluation properly.”

Horton was believed to have been playing through pain for the entire playoffs after suffering an injury during his regular season fight with Pittsburgh's Jarome Iginla on April 20. He appeared to tweak it in a big way while pushing for position with Hjalmarsson, the big-bodied Blackhawks defenseman.

Horton missed the final five games of the regular season because of the injury, but was ready to go at the start of the playoffs.

It’s amazing that Horton was as effective as he was in the postseason, leading all NHL players with a plus-22 rating in the playoffs and 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 17 games.

Tyler Seguin skated in Horton’s place alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but switching in the speedy youngster for the powerful, productive power forward represents a big change in the style of play for that line.

“It sucks,” said Milan Lucic. “Everyone knows how big of a player he is for us, especially in the playoffs. He’s also shown that he can score big goals at big times.”

There’s hope that the winger can somehow get back in the lineup at some point during the Stanley Cup Finals. But it’s obvious to everybody now that Horton is playing through a serious amount of pain, and indications given to CSNNE.com are that it’s a situation that will require surgery after the season is finished.

More evidence that Horton was playing through some pretty obvious discomfort: He had one of the lowest registered hit totals on the Bruins with 22 hits in 17 playoff games this spring.

Horton has had a history of upper-body problems dating back to surgeries required at the end of his first pro hockey seasons with the Florida Panthers to repair a subluxating left shoulder.