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Concussion forces Horton to sideline

By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / January 25, 2012
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WASHINGTON - The hope is that by Tuesday, when the Bruins next play, Nathan Horton will be well enough to return to the lineup. For Horton and the Bruins, the All-Star break is taking place at the right time.

Horton missed last night’s 5-3 loss to the Capitals because of a mild concussion. His symptoms include headaches, according to coach Claude Julien.

“He’s doing as well as he can for a guy with a mild concussion,’’ Julien said. “He didn’t skate today. He’s still suffering from mild headaches.

“Concussions are day-to-day. At the end of this five-day break, hopefully we’ll have the news we want to hear.’’

Horton was hurt in the second period of Sunday’s 6-5 shootout win over Philadelphia. After he let a shot go, he was hit from the side by Tom Sestito. Horton finished the period, but he didn’t return for the third.

Horton attended Monday’s White House ceremony but didn’t participate in yesterday’s morning skate.

Horton suffered a severe concussion in Game 3 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. At the beginning of this season, he acknowledged not feeling like himself because of the concussion effects.

With Horton unavailable, Rich Peverley skated on the first line alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Peverley had replaced Horton during the third period of Sunday’s game. Peverley scored the game’s first goal, and landed four shots in 17:51 of ice time.

Zach Hamill, a healthy scratch for three straight games, was on the third line last night with Benoit Pouliot and Chris Kelly. Hamill also took several shifts on the first line. He had one shot in 8:36 of action.

Pouliot replaced Horton on the No. 1 power-play unit.

Things that go bump

On Sunday, as Steven Kampfer carried the puck from behind his net, he planned to hit Kelly with an outlet pass. But when the puck bobbled slightly, it gave Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn the opening to cream Kampfer.

“The puck rolled on me at the last second, so I had to put my head down,’’ Kampfer said. “I saw Kells turning, so I was going to give it to him.

“When the puck bounced up on me, I was like, ‘I’m going to get killed, so I better brace myself.’ It was a good hit. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Good hit. Shoulder to chest. That was it.’’

Kampfer, who has a history of head injuries, left the ice after the hit. He was tested for a concussion but insisted he was fine.

“First when I got up, I couldn’t breathe,’’ said Kampfer. “I didn’t know what to think. When you’re sitting there and you can’t breathe after taking a hit, it’s definitely a scary moment.’’

Kampfer skated 12 shifts for 8:16 of ice time. He got an assist on Tyler Seguin’s second-period goal.

Missing persons

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin started serving his three-game suspension last night, having been disciplined for his charging penalty Sunday against Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek. Ovechkin also announced yesterday that he will not attend the All-Star Game. He didn’t want to be a distraction as a suspended player. The Capitals were also without No. 1 center Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and defenseman Mike Green (groin) . . . Last night marked the second game of Andrew Ference’s three-match suspension for his boarding infraction on the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh. Ference will be eligible to return Feb. 2 against Carolina . . . Krejci missed part of the first period when John Carlson hammered a slap shot off Krejci’s right foot. He returned in the second period. Krejci lost nine of 10 faceoffs . . . Assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer played a part in Seguin’s goal. Seguin broke his stick during a puck battle with Cody Eakin. As Seguin raced back to the bench, Falconer handed him a new stick. Seconds later, Seguin picked off a Carlson pass and beat Tomas Vokoun . . . Julien and assistant coaches Geoff Ward, Doug Houda, and Doug Jarvis will be in Ottawa this weekend for All-Star festivities along with Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, and Seguin.

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com.

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