WILMINGTON — Defenseman Mark Stuart will undergo surgery this afternoon on his finger and will be out until after the Olympic break, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.
Julien confirmed that the injury to Stuart, who was not present at practice this morning at Ristuccia Arena, stems from his second-period fight with Wayne Simmonds in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Los Angeles. Simmonds was sticking up for Anze Kopitar, who had just been railroaded at the blue line by Stuart, and was slapped with four penalties totaling 19 minutes for his troubles — fighting, fight instigator, unsportsmanlike conduct (Simmonds wears a visor) and a 10-minute game misconduct.
Kopitar admitted after the game he thought it was a perfectly clean hit. Julien, for one, concurs.
“That was as clean of a hit as you’ll see, no doubt,” he said. “They should have been jumping on the defenseman for making that pass (from behind the net), not jumping on Stewie, that’s what they should have done. But unfortunately this league seems to be heading in that direction, when a good, clean hit is given, everybody — (including) ourselves — we go and defend our teammates.
“Obviously, that was one of their best players that took that hit. If you look at what’s going on around the league, it was kind of a normal reaction. Unfortunately, we have a guy right now that’s out of our lineup because he stood there and defended himself.”
This will be Stuart’s second extended period out of the lineup due to injury int he 2009-10 season. He most recently sat out a good chunk of late December and January with a broken sternum.